Paul grew up in England at a time when the country was slowly coming out of the dark times created by WWII. Food shortages had eased, but his family had no phone, TV, refrigerator, or central heating. This was common in England at the time. On winter mornings, his father would light all 4 gas burners on the stove to warm up the kitchen. Paul was a pretty good kid, but not always. He attended Highfield Church School and had to wear a little uniform and a “crappy little cap”, which he hated. One morning he left home, took off the cap, threw it under a hedge, planning to pick it up on the way home, but he forgot. That night it rained, and now his cap was wet and muddy. A few days later his mother asked about it, and he told her he had left it at school. She went to school with Paul and they both looked in the lost and found, but lo and behold it wasn’t there. They never did find it.
The Brodies lived in a flat (apartment) in Southampton, next to the undertaker and across from the bus station. The buses woke them up at 6am every day, and in the daytime they sometimes heard the sound of wood saws next door . . . coffins being made. They owned a piano, and Paul started taking lessons at age four. With no TV, he would draw, paint and make things with his Meccano set. His father’s tools fascinated Paul, and he remembers making a wooden box at age 7 or 8. He was always using his hands.
His father was an inspector of ejection seats at Folland Aircraft, a local British aircraft company, working 6 days a week, and still there was never extra money to save. He drove a 26 years old car, and Paul helped him repaint it with a brush. His parents wanted to own a home, which was impossible for them in England. In 1964, when Paul was 9 and his sister was 4, his family emigrated to Canada. At that time leaving Southampton was a big deal, and his family was featured in the local newspaper.
Canada was good for them. His parents bought a home in 1965 in the west side of Vancouver for $13,900. In grade 8 he discovered the metalwork shop, and that became the focal point of his life . . . that and motorcycles. He read every motorcycle book and magazine he could get his hands on. In class he doodled motorcycles; he had motorcycles on his brain. He even went to school early and waited outside the metalwork shop for the teacher to open up so he could have a few extra minutes to work on his (motorcycle) project. He skipped French class to work in the shop, but he got caught and was told not to do that again. His first big project was the mini-bike.
And that is a little bit about where Paul came from.
This is the story of Sophie. My ex rescued Sophie from down the block, where she was locked in a horse trailer, unwanted, because she was infertile and had a heart murmur. She was about two years old at the time. I already had a dog, Amber, a blonde cross between a Golden retriever and a Chow, but she looked like a Wheaton Terrier. Sophie and Amber became best friends. My ex split suddenly on Xmas Eve ’04, and I inherited Sophie along with numerous cats.
Sophie was a natural athlete and could run like the wind. Watching her change direction in singletrack, at full speed, was amazing. She had no extra body fat and was a fussy eater, often having to be coaxed to her bowl. I would learn more about this later.
Amber, on the other hand, devoted a large amount of energy to discovering every available food source, no matter how small or obscure. But Amber was thirteen and getting old. Her hearing was almost gone, could only see out of one eye, and needed eye drops daily. When she lost her other eye overnight in January ’05, I knew her time had come. I buried her behind the peacock shed and made a decision to let Sophie watch so she would know where Amber was, and that Amber would not be coming back. Great Danes can be very sensitive dogs, Sophie was, and in the months to come I wondered if I had made the right decision.
After Amber’s passing, Sophie slowly lost some energy and her appetite also diminished. By March ’05 her regular food wasn’t good enough, and then she would only eat “tasty treats” but soon even those wouldn’t do. She was down ten pounds and was so weak she had trouble walking. The vet put her on IV and did a blood test. Sophie had Addisons Disease, which is electrolyte levels: sodium and potassium. She would be on meds the rest of her life, and they weren’t cheap. I got her back the next day, a transformed dog. Much improved energy, and she had an appetite! I switched to the high-end dog food, three meals a day, and Sophie eventually gained 14 pounds. I figured this was her buffer zone. I also knew that Sophie had been borderline with Addisons Disease all along, but Amber’s death had really brought it on.
Sophie started going grey when she was two, and the picture above was taken when she was about six. Her energy was still pretty good, not like a puppy, but OK. This lasted until January ’06, when I had to go out of town for three days and needed a dog sitter. I had no idea this was the turning point. Sophie stayed with a woman who had a Cocker Spaniel, loved dogs, took hers to work everyday, and walked her dog three times a day. When I picked Sophie up on Monday morning at the dog sitters’ office, I walked up the front steps, in through the front door, and there she was, and our eyes locked! She didn’t move, just stared right at me… this lasted at least 10 seconds until I finally said, “Well?” and she came around to greet me. Everything seemed fine.
I drove her home, and in the kitchen I offered her a treat. Sophie was about to grab it, when she suddenly yelped in pain and ran away. This was very strange. It seemed to be her left shoulder, but then it was gone, with no trace of a limp. I phoned the dog sitter to ask if she knew anything about Sophies’ shoulder, but she didn’t. I came to understand this sudden pain usually happened once a day, but sometimes not. Sophie wouldn’t eat of of my hand anymore, it was as if she didn’t trust me. I’ve been told that if a Dane is in pain, they will often associate it with their owner. I knew this was happening here, and I felt powerless. Other odd behaviour followed; refusing to sleep on her cushions, not coming into the living room or my bedroom, sleeping on the hard bathroom floor, pacing in circles, less and less eye contact. I felt like I was beginning to lose my dog and it was starting to drive me a little crazy. Then she stopped eating her regular food. She would eat back bacon and European weiners, so that’s where her meds went. I took her to the vet and he did a blood test to check her electrolyte levels, but they were fine. He took an X-ray of her shoulder, but that was fine too. He suggested the pain might be from her internal organs, and we do a Cat scan, but I said no. Clearly, it was time for alternate therapies . . .
I phoned Glenna, a psychic who can give readings over the phone. She contacted her guides and was told that when Sophie was with the sitter, she ran in the park, forgot she was no longer a young dog, got careless, and hit her shoulder. She now had a pinched nerve that would cause her pain. This made sense. Also, Sophie wasn’t eating because she had an upset stomach – caused by the pain in her shoulder. Meantime, I had gone out and bought a new batch of high end dog food for Sophie to try. She liked it, but it wouldn’t always stay down. I found a new vet who also did chiropractic and accupuncture, and made an appointment.
Wednesday. Sophie was hungry for her breakfast and lunch, and ate her new food. Then we headed for the new vet. She thought Sophie had a problem with her neck, probably the first vertebrae, and the nerves running back to her shoulder could make it seem like a shoulder problem. She adjusted Sophies neck, and also did some acupuncture. The doctor left the office with the needles in Sophies shoulder, and I thought she was gone too long, probably seeing another client. Sophie was very good, lying on the floor, trembling slightly, while I comforted her. When we got home, Sophie had no appetite and refused to eat. I went to bed at 11pm, and locked her in my bedroom as I had been doing for a week or so. She wouldn’t go near her cushions, but would sleep against the door on the carpet. I figured this was better than lying on a cold bathroom floor. Sophie was sick all night, and I got little sleep as she needed to be let in and out many times.
Thursday. I had a scheduled reading with Glenna, and had planned to take Sophie in the van but decided not to after her being sick. My neighbour would check in on Sophie every hour, so that was good. I asked Glenna why Sophie was sick last night – was it the accupuncture or the new food? I was told it was both. I was shown how to use my body as a surrogate tester for her food, because her tastes were likely to change daily. This dog was consuming a lot of my energy. I arrived home at 2pm, and my neighbour had Sophie out in the yard in the pouring rain. Sophie greeted me briefly, then walked away. What I didn’t know, and found out days later, was that she had very little energy the first couple of times my neighbour let her out, but the third time she was waiting for my neighbour at the front door, and very “determinedly” made her way to the back- straight to Ambers’ grave! Sophie knew. She stayed there a while and had just come back into the yard when I showed up. The rain stopped and the sun came out, but Sophie would not come into the house. If I started to walk toward her, she would run from me. This was new behaviour; it was like I was the worst person in the world. Now it was 5pm, time for a walk, but she wouldn’t come near me or the van. At 6pm, I had a dog that had been sick, not eating, was cold and wet, and had been outside for four hours. I had to get her in. I tried to catch her, but she was too fast. I chased her down back (I have 5 acres..) but she was gone. It was the first time Sophie had run away. I got a flashlight and looked in the dark for two hours, to no avail… I phoned Glenna and left a message about what had happened.
Friday. I phoned the dog pound at 9am. Then Glenna phoned. She couldn’t figure out Sophie’s bizarre behaviour at all, so she had contacted another psychic friend – one who specializes in animals. Her friend told her that the dog sitter (in January) has a lot of negative or dark energy around her, and a lot of male energy too. This energy was a real mis-match for Sophie’s energy, especially with my dog being so sensitive. And some sort of a spell had been cast over Sophie causing her to react with male energy. So that’s why her behaviour toward me had changed; it wasn’t me so much as my male energy. To release the spell, I was told to put a photo of Sophie on the porch, sprinkle salt all around it, and visualize the color gold all around her. I did, and left for my massage. When I returned, I had two messages, the dog pound and a neighbour over 2km away who had my dog. Sophie had been there since 8pm last night and had finally come into the house. I brought Sophie home and could tell she was getting really weak. She hadn’t eaten or drunk water for over two days now. She wouldn’t even eat back bacon, so she wasn’t getting her meds either. I took her to my parents’ house for family supper and she had no interest in tasty food scraps there. This was when my back started hurting under my left shoulder blade. My Mum gave her some healing and said she thought the “entity” had left Sophie. I phoned the vet and made an appointment for 9am Saturday. I drove her home and she slept the distance. When Sophie walked in the front door an amazing thing happened; she walked straight to my bedroom and lay down on her cushions! She hadn’t done that for weeks. I felt like I got my dog back. I could tell Sophie was in pain, and I let her out a few times that night and got little sleep myself.
Saturday. To the vet at 9am. Sophie was dehydrated, and had a temperature. They would put her on IV, and give her antibiotics. I phoned in the afternoon, and was told she was responding somewhat, but not well. I tried to get some sleep. My back was still hurting.
Sunday. I was working on my motorcycle, getting it ready for a ride, when the phone rang at 9am. Sophie had passed away in the early hours. It hit me pretty hard, and I was pretty useless the rest of the day. I picked up Sophie’s body and buried her next to Amber.
Monday. I was outside in the sunshine, picking up twigs in the sunshine, and my shoulder would twinge every time I bent over. I suddenly sensed that Sophie was in the yard with me. I said to her, Sophie, if you’re here with me, take away the pain in my shoulder, even for a little while” . . . and just like that, the pain was gone. I bent over several times to check, but it was gone. That’s when I knew she still loved me! And I cried all over again. The pain was gone for 3 hours.
I had wished that Sophie would get better, live without pain for a while and then go in her sleep. But that would be in a perfect world, and we don’t always get to choose. Sophie touched many peoples’ hearts, and I know I’m not the only one missing her.