Everyone who lives with an animal knows that they each have their own special personality. Some are serious, some are healers, some are leaders, some are followers — and everything in between. Then there are animals like Sookie — who was quirky, funny and fun loving — no matter what was happening in her life.
The photo above is the photo Catie, Sookie’s person, gave me the first time we talked to Sookie. When I was getting ready to write this blog post, I asked Catie if she wanted me to use a different photo. She said, “No, this photo really shows Sookie’s character” — and so it does! Catie and I talked to Sookie regularly for five years or more. No matter what we were talking to Sookie about, even life threatening issues, Sookie always left us laughing because she never let anything get her down.
I first met Catie at one of the metaphysical fairs in Colorado. Without telling me anything in advance, Catie asked what I could feel in Sookie’s body. I felt pressure in her chest, but it didn’t feel like her lungs or heart — closer to the surface than that. It felt contained — like it was encapsulated, rather than spread out and was fairly large. Catie told me that the vet had diagnosed Sookie with having a tumor in her chest that was cancerous and terminal. Catie wanted to know if Sookie was ready to cross to Spirit as the vet has suggested. Sookie told us that other than the pressure from the “tumor” she felt fine and she was NOT ready to cross to Spirit. Catie asked if Sookie wanted the “tumor” removed surgically, but Sookie didn’t want that either. She told us we should just wait and see what happened with the “tumor” and in the mean time she was going to enjoy every day of life that she had. We told her that the “tumor” might end her life early, but she still didn’t want surgery. Her attitude was amazing and she was very clear and strong about her opinion on this. Catie said she didn’t want to put Sookie through surgery if she didn’t want it, so she agreed to wait and see.
We continued to check in on Sookie periodically and she continued to say she didn’t want surgery and was not ready to cross to Spirit. Catie honored her request.
A few months later, Catie told me that the tumor burst on it’s own and “It was a very bloody mess.” At that point, there was no option but to do surgery. The area was heavily infected and the vet tech said she never saw a dog who was that sick get up and move so quickly after surgery. The biopsy taken during surgery showed that there had been a foreign object in Sookie’s chest but they couldn’t find it. The vet thought that the object must have left her body when the “tumor” ruptured. Through it all, Sookie was her usual upbeat, funny self, enjoying her life to the fullest.
For the next few years we continued to talk to Sookie regularly about non-life threatening issues. These are some of the conversations that Catie remembers best . . .
Catie told me that Sookie always ate her breakfast quickly during the week, finishing before Catie left the house for work. Weekends were different and Sookie was content to eat later in the day and in a more leisurely manner — even though she was fed at the same time as during the week. Catie wanted to see if we could get Sookie to eat in a more leisurely way during the week, since that would mean that she’d have less time to wait before being let out when Catie came home from work. Sookie didn’t see the logic of this. She said, “I’m going to have to [go potty] whether I eat fast or slow, so it doesn’t matter when I eat.” I asked her why she ate fast during the week, but not on the weekend and she said, “If she [Catie] is in a hurry, then I’m in a hurry.” Catie confirmed that she was always in a hurry in the morning on work days, but not on the weekend, so she knew exactly what Sookie meant. Catie reported later that Sookie continued her pattern of eating fast on Catie’s work days and slower on weekends after our chat. As always, Sookie did things her way!
In an effort to give Sookie something fun to do, Catie bought a “treat ball” toy. The idea is that you put a few treats/kibble pieces in the plastic ball that has a small opening that the treats to come out of. To get the treats out, the dog has to roll the ball until the treats fall out. Catie gave Sookie the treat ball and showed her how it worked. Sookie was not impressed and ignored it. Catie wanted to find out why Sookie didn’t like the treat ball. Sookie told us that she thought it was “just stupid” and “I shouldn’t have to go through all that effort to get the treats.” That was the end of the treat ball!
In addition to Sookie, Catie also had a cat and after a time and got a second cat as company for the first cat. Sookie was chasing the new cat, which of course is not good. When we talked to her about this, I asked Sookie if she liked the new cat. She said, “YES! I love playing the ‘not allowed game,’ with the cat!” She showed me a picture of her chasing the new cat and Catie yelling, “you’re not allowed to chase the cat!”. To Sookie, the whole thing — the chasing and the yelling — was all fun and she called it the “not allowed game”. I explained to Sookie that it was not fun for Catie or the new cat when this happened and that Sookie was the only one who thought of it as a game. I encouraged her to find a toy when she was thinking about chasing the cat and to play with her toy instead of the cat. Sookie agreed to the plan, although she really couldn’t understand why Catie and the cat didn’t enjoy the “not allowed” game as much as she did. Catie told me Sookie didn’t chase the cat any more after that.
Catie started taking Sookie with her when she went running. Sookie loved the runs and looked forward to them. But as the years went by, Catie realized that the long runs were becoming too much for Sookie after about a mile. Catie asked me to see if Sookie would be willing to slow down and just walk when she got tired. Sookie was reluctant to do this. She finally admitted to me that she didn’t want to let Catie down. I also felt Sookie was embarrassed that she couldn’t keep up as well as she used to. Catie admired Sookie’s determination but was very concerned that she’d over do it and exhaust herself. After some thought, I came up with a different way to go at the issue. With Catie’s permission, I told Sookie that maybe the reason Catie wanted Sookie to walk more was because Catie actually needed to slow down and take it easier on the runs. Sookie agreed that since it would be better for Catie to walk more, she would walk when she was tired . . . and that’s exactly what she did from then on!
Sookie’s started having health issues again a few years after our first conversation and Catie again asked me to check on her. I felt pressure in Sookie’s upper abdomen. Catie told me that Sookie had been diagnosed with an enlarged spleen — which explained the pressure I felt. Sookie was slowing down but was still enjoying her life. The vet felt things were stable and they continued to monitor Snookie.
Unfortunately, about 6 months later, Sookie started to feel much worse. The pressure I’d felt in her upper abdomen had increased and she was starting to have pain in the area. The vet determined that she had two large tumors on her spleen and suggested surgery to remove the spleen. We talked to Sookie about the surgery. She wanted to know if the surgery would help her feel better. We told her that if she didn’t have the surgery, she would be crossing to Spirit very soon. If she did have the surgery, she would have more time and would feel better, but we didn’t know for how long. She said she wanted the surgery “because I can’t go on like this and I want to feel good again.”
Sookie had her surgery in March. The vet removed a 7.5 pound tumor from her spleen. Catie reported that after Sookie recovered from the surgery, “she ran around like a puppy!” Catie was so happy that Sookie was back to normal and Sookie was thrilled . . . but sadly, it didn’t last. After a few weeks, Sookie’s health started to decline very quickly. The vet suggested steroids to help prolong her life, but when we offered this as an option to Sookie, she didn’t want to take them. She said she was very glad to have had a few more weeks of feeling good, but now she was ready to cross to Spirit. She felt that those weeks of feeling good were a gift — but now it was time to go.
Catie asked if Sookie could hold on for a few more days — Catie had to work and Catie wanted to spend as much time with her as possible before Sookie crossed over. Sookie said that she knew that Catie’s job was important, that it “put food in my bowl” [we’d talked about that previously] and she was content to have a few more days to be with Catie. I explained to Sookie what would happen when Catie took her to the vet so they could help her cross to Spirit. Sookie showed me that she wanted to lie on the floor and have Catie “spoon” with her and wanted Catie’s hands on Sookie’s chest, over her heart, while she crossed to Spirit.
Catie and Sookie enjoyed their last few days together on earth. On the appointed day, Catie took Sookie to the vet’s office and did exactly as Sookie requested. Sookie crossed to Spirit peacefully and Catie sent her to Spirit with all the love in her heart.
A few months later we talked to Sookie in Spirit. She had a lot to say! She showed herself to me as looking about 3-4 years old, coat shiny and glossy and in perfect health. The most significant thing, however, was the big goofy smile on her face! Catie laughed when I told her that and said, “That is so Sookie!” Sookie showed me that she was running, jumping and playing in Spirit. She showed me she had lots of animal friends in Spirit and that she’d even made friends with cats! Catie said that, based on her behavior with Catie’s cats when Sookie was alive, that was hard to believe. I told that to Sookie and she said, “I know — I can hardly believe it myself!” Sookie then got serious and said that she was grateful that Catie didn’t let her suffer at the end and that she didn’t think anyone else would have tried so hard to keep her healthy and alive for so long.
Now that she was in Spirit, Sookie said that she would be helping Catie with strengthening her intuition when Catie was sleeping. The picture Sookie showed me of how she was going to do this made me laugh out loud . . . Sookie showed me Catie lying in her bed and Sookie standing over her, with Sookie’s nose pointing at Catie’s nose and Catie lying between Sookie’s legs. Sookie was not a small dog — she’s 100 pounds of dog that looks like a wolf. When I described this to Catie, she also laughed out loud and said it would be SO like Sookie to come up with that! We both thought it might be tough for Catie to sleep if Sookie was standing over her like that, so I suggested it might work better if Sookie lay down next to Catie instead. Sookie still thought standing was better, but agreed to the plan.
Catie told me that when she hears wind chimes when there is no wind, she knows that Sookie is visiting with her.
We’ve talked to Sookie a several times since she crossed over. Each time Catie wanted to know what Sookie was doing.
The first time we talked to Sookie in Spirit, she told us that she was “teaching other dogs how to be funny.” This wasn’t an official “job” — it was just what Sookie was choosing to do — and she was enjoying every minute of it. Later Sookie told us this was her official “job” in Spirit and she showed me that she had a pack of dogs around her that she was teaching “dog jokes” — things that the dogs could do to make their people laugh. Since Sookie had such a great sense of fun, this was the perfect job for her!
Sookie also showed me that she’d found a fantastic new game to play. She was stealing wing feathers off of the Angels! It was clear from what she showed me that the Angels were totally in on the game — that they saved feathers and tucked them in so that Sookie could steal them, then acted shocked when she stole the feathers — which filled Sookie with delight! Catie said it was SO like Sookie to do this.
Another time, Catie told Sookie that all the vets and the vet office staff always talk about Sookie when Catie visited the office with her cats. Catie said that the office staff people were very sad that Sookie didn’t live longer after surgery . . . but Sookie was just thrilled that people besides Catie still remembered her! Her comment was, “I’m famous!” — which made Catie laugh — she thought this was adorable.
The last time we talked to Sookie she told Catie that she didn’t think that Catie was ready for another dog yet, but when the time was right, Sookie would help her find the right dog. Catie asked me to tell Sookie that “no one would be able to replace her.” Showing me her big, goofy grin, Sookie replied, “I know!”
Catie had this to add . . . “Sookie was a larger than life dog. People were constantly asking me if Sookie was part wolf, but she was just my large, lovable, goofy, furry soul sister. Her amber eyes could scare away a predator or melt your heart with love. I always admired her spirit of longing to run free and enjoy every moment. Knowing that we will have a new generation of goofy dogs coming back to us on Earth because of Sookie’s work in heaven makes me laugh each time I think about it. She will always be in my heart and a part of me. I have a feeling that she is enjoying this blog post more than me, since it gives her another chance to be famous!
When I first met Sky at a psychic fair I knew she was the real deal from the start. When Sky spoke to Sookie, she told me the very unique way my roommate greeted Sookie each day. It was something a stranger would never be able to guess. Over the course of the years even more proof of her authenticity and compassion showed through the communication sessions I did with Sky. When Sookie got sick it was devastating to me. I wanted to do everything I could for her. But allowing Sookie to decide for herself what she wanted to do in her final days with me is a priceless gift I will forever cherish. It helped me deal with the mourning in a positive way. I am absolutely grateful for all Sky has done for me over the years, and I know my furry ones are grateful as well. Any person or animal that has the opportunity to work with Sky is truly blessed.” — Catie G., CO.