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Felicia & Sophie

August 9, 2013

Felicia & SophieMy friend Felicia lost her best feline companion, Sophie, last week.

Non animal people and non pet owners don’t understand just how animals walk into your life and TAKE OVER.  They become beloved, exasperating, and adored.  In other words, they become family.  In a rational, very human mind, we think: how can this be?  Then one day a cat or dog comes into your life and you are IN DEEP.  They teach you about unconditional love in a way that not even your family can.

Sophie was Felicia’s leap of love.  They were both from homes that didn’t fit them or suit their hearts.  Together, they made a home.  Both in their way, were shy.  When you came to see Felicia, you knew you were IN when Sophie showed her face.  You knew you were GOOD when Sophie came in and hung out with you.  When she showed you her argyle belly, well, you were in the IVY LEAGUE of friends.  Sophie had a quiet meow, but the demeanor of Mae West.  Her tail was a black boa that she paraded in front of you.  Felicia doted on her and loved every second of it–“letting” her steal pasta off her plate, snapping many Sophie images for her blog, and squealing at her girl on the floor with a “YOU’RE SO FOXY!”

Without saying so, you could see how clearly Sophie was Felicia’s home.

I knew when I heard that Sophie was sick that this was BIG NEWS in my friend’s life.  Felicia tended to her and did what she could–even when it meant having a vet come to her home and help Sophie leave.

When I saw the last photo Felica posted of her holding Sophie before the vet came, I wept.  I wept because it was clear how much love was in it–and how much pain.  I was so honored when Felicia asked me to draw a portrait for her and I immediately thought of that photo and proposed a non sad version of it.  I was so happy when Felicia agreed.  I tried to capture the love I saw–both in the image and in the relationship.  I wanted Felicia to have that to remember her companion.

When we lose someone we love, the loss is so large that it is hard to feel what is left behind.  Eventually, you can feel that what they gave you lives on in the home of your heart.  Is it weird to say that an animal can change your life?  Not if you know it to be true.  Not if you’ve had a Sophie.

6 Comments
  1. Maria Hyman permalink
    August 9, 2013 8:18 pm

    Summer, this is your most elegant piece. I know it will be of great comfort to Felicia and gratitude from Sophie for doing what she can no longer do, be there. Take great care

  2. August 9, 2013 8:44 pm

    Oh wow. This made me cry. My first cat died at 21 years of age. I brought her home when I was only 1 year old. She was my sister, my best friend and my companion. When she died some people, people who didn’t understand that pets are not objects in a persons life like a shoe or a bowl, asked “When will you ‘replace’ her?”
    I told them asking me that would be like asking me when I was going to get a new brother if it has been my human sibling who had died.

    Animals are so much more than just a feature in the household – or they should be. This is a beautiful post and an amazing drawing.

  3. Jenny Parsons permalink
    August 10, 2013 12:08 am

    Oh Summer, this is so beautiful – both the picture and your thoughts. I am in awe…

  4. August 10, 2013 12:49 am

    I get this, completely. Might have to write my own blog post about it instead of filling up your comment box with my long cat-tales of grief and salvation, but boy-howdy, do I get this. Your beautiful portrait and lovely words radiate the love between Felicia and Sophie. Big hugs to Felicia for her loss – the animals we love are indeed our home and family!

  5. Kris permalink
    August 10, 2013 4:23 am

    Beautiful

  6. Taya permalink
    August 14, 2013 7:03 pm

    I love this Summer! So sweet.

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