Friday, May 22, 2009

Remembering Sam

Remembering Sam

Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words in comments and e-mails. I didn’t think it would help, but it does. Tears welled up, and didn’t stop flowing, while reading them. I’ve never lost anyone so dear to my heart before, for which I’m grateful.

We had dogs before, and I cried over their loss. I loved them, as I do love Biko, but Sam was different. I had a special bond with him. From the first time I saw him.

He was one of two boys in a litter of four pups. We did not have first pick, but during our visits at the breeders, I knew I wanted him. I was relieved when the breeder told me, I’ve got my wish. I don’t know how, and why, but we formed a special bond right from the beginning.

I have to go back even further. My son worked on a horse farm on weekends and on school breaks. We both took riding lessons their. They had three dogs, and David loved them so much, that we decided to get our own dog. It took us six month to find a breed we wanted. The farm dogs had names starting with the letter “B” (Bella, Bailey and Bandit), so David picked “Biko”. She was very much his dog from the beginning (I was and am just her servant). I wanted a dog of my own and we fell in love with these beautiful White Shepherds. I had dreams of a dog on my side called “Sam”, it was not a White Shepherd, I think it was a mix of Golden Retriever and Labrador in my dreams. Anyway, six month later we welcomed Samson into our lives.

One day we brought Sam along to the horse farm for a picnic, I let him run around free; he was not quite three month old. He never ventured far from me, but once he was under a table somewhere (I could still see him) and I was going to the car. I called out, “Sam, come!”, and people laughed and said to me, that with this age, they don’t listen to that. Well he proved them wrong, because sure enough he turned and came bustling over as quickly as he could. I was very proud of him.

He was always sensitive to loud noises, and exited talking. He was like a barometer for your mood and level of excitement. You sure couldn’t get too excited around him. He was afraid of thunderstorms, and fire works, and bubble gum exploding in your face (I did that once with him by my side, after his reaction I never chewed bubble gum again.)
One of our Vets once said, “He’s got all the personality, none of the legs.” He really was a gentle character.

I have sweet and funny memories of him, and hundreds of pictures. Over the last two days I looked through all of them. Remembering they cheered me up and made me laugh, then cry.

One thing of many, I loved about him was, when he saw me getting ready to go out, he always wanted to know if he could come too, or what was going on. Since as great as he was, he could not speak, he tried to get eye contact, even if it meant to dance around me for me to notice. Once I got it, I looked at him, he had his eyes on mine, his head slightly tilted, and I told him either yes, he could come too, or no he had to stay home. The first brought forth a yapping dervish, the later a good doggy, who walked to his bed in the kitchen, where he stayed napping until my return.

The first time we went to the Vet with him he said, this little guy will be in trouble because of his outward pointing paws. It looked cute, but it would be painful for him in the future. Sam had to endure seven surgeries during his life. It started with neutering, which was not as simple as it should have been, since only one testicle was descended and they had to look for the other one. Next were his two elbows, followed by both his knees, one even twice, since about two weeks after the surgery something happened to the knee again. And as if that wasn’t enough, he almost lost a toe during playing outside. All this pressed into the seven years of his life. Poor Sam didn't quite make it to his 7th birthday on May 30th.

He had severe arthritis in his elbows and knees. We managed with medication for a while. Last Friday we went to see the Vet, and he thought it was time for Sam, but I was not ready. Sam was still running around, playing outside with his ball, playing tuck-of-war with me, chasing chipmunks (as if he ever had a chance), but he was moving on his own!
Only a few days after the visit to the Vet, Sam was enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine out in the backyard, playing his own little game with me, were he comes up to me, barks and looks back at his Jollyball at the other side of the pool. He would bark at me as long as it takes to get me going, in a mock race to get to the ball first. Of course I let him win all the time. He used to do that several times, but on that day, once was enough for him.

That evening when it was time to go outside to pee, he had much trouble getting up on his feet, and he was wobbly and very stiff. We helped him with the steps, and thought he just overdid it during the day.
To give him rest, my son carried him up and down the stairs as often as Sam needed to go outside to pee. The next morning, it was apparent that he had not improved at all, if anything it was worse. He could barely stand while peeing. That’s when I knew it was time to let him go. I was going to call the Vet the next morning. That day and during the night we sat with him, giving him as much water as he wanted, carrying him outside to pee (he weight 100lbs). I was still hoping that he would be his normal self again in the morning, so I could hold off on the call. We did not sleep much; he never changed places, which both dogs normally do during the night.

In the morning when David was picking him up, Sam yelped for the first time in pain. He only peed once that morning. I called the Vet’s office early, to get him to call back as soon as he could. I was not able to talk to him on the phone once he did, I cried too much. My son made the arrangements.
We sat with him until it was time to go. With a blanket we managed to carry him to the car. He was actually very happy to go for a car ride. He was alert, loving the treats we gave him, but also calm, not as hyper excited as usual.

At the Vets they had prepared a room for us. Seeing their sympathy in the staff’s faces, made me cry real hard, they even hugged me. I had no recollection of that, later my son told me they did (that’s weird, huh?).
I wanted to be with Sam to his last breath. The Vet explained to us what he would do, and what would happen. While he was preparing for what he needed, kneeling beside Sam, my Son on the other side to assist him, I was in front of Sam. He caught my eyes, held eye contact for so long, and he was calm (usually he was yapping bloody murder while being there). I think he knew what was coming, and he was alright with it.

Sam was more than just a pet to me; he was my friend, my companion, a family member. I miss him terrible. I keep having moments where I think, we’ve got to pick up Sam from the Vet’s. Or walking through the house, I think there’s something missing, something out of balance, until it hits me – Sam’s missing. Than I had a moment, where I realized I will never touch him again, never scratch his bum, cut his nails, feed him, and hear his yapping, smell his doggy breath. I will never be able to look into his eyes anymore, and the tears won’t stop flowing.

Sam, my sweet boy, you were my “once in a lifetime” dog, I will never forget you!

And Biko? She always was an independent dog, but I noticed her following me around more. But there is a good thing, if you can believe it. We can do more now with only Biko left, since we don't have to worry about Sam being stuck at home alone. She's enjoying more car rides, more walks, longer walks.

Thank you all for your sympathy! I promise there will be knitting content on this blog again soon! I started knitting socks while sitting with Sam during his last two days. I will finishe them, even though right now, I don't want to look at them.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Sam collar-2

PS There will be one more trip to the Vet’s to pick up Sam for the last time, when we will bring home his ashes.

Flowers from our Vet

PPS Our Vet sent us flowers. How very thoughful!



Katty said...

We don't know each other, but I'm sitting here crying... I feel so sorry for you!
We don't have dogs but cats and I think I really know how you feel.

Best wishesfor you,


Marianne said...

I'm smiling through the tears, looking at all the photos of Sam, reading your stories.. his story.
Life has its mysteries, eh?
Souls finding each other, no matter the form they've taken. I do understand. I had my 'Sam', only his name was Blue.
Here's to Samson, long may he live in spirit and loving memories, and always in your heart and soul (which he will).

Dave said...

What a beautiful tribute! Two souls, one canine, one human, connecting in their love for each other. Your description of looking into each other's eyes reminded me of my Sheltie, Mandy. She used to do exactly that. She's been gone for seven years now, and there is still a bit of a hole in my heart. It gets easier, but the connection will always be there. Rest easy, Sam.

Angelika said...

He sure made his mark in your life and he was more than a pet, he was like another child. He'll live on in everybody's memory and as long as we remember him, he is not completely gone.

momsue84 said...

I'm crying as hard as I did when I lost Wolfie. What a loving, wonderful tribute to your special boy. Beautiful, Monika, just beautiful. Know that my heart just aches for you still. It will for a long time. I know the feeling of having a once in a lifetime pet. You will be reunited, I know. God bless you, and God bless Sam. And thank God he lived his 7 years with you.

a Knitting Junkie! said...

I can't stop crying. I feel like I know you...and Sam, and I hurt for you; immensely.

My heart is with you friend.
Love & hugs,
Anita, a Knitting Junkie!

2paw said...

What a lovely story about Sam's life. Thank you for sharing all the lovely pictures too!!

sgeddes said...

Thank you for sharing Sam with us.

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Sam. Your tribute really touched me.

Mary Ellen said...

Thank you for sharing your loving tribute to Sam. He will always live on in your heart.

Best wishes and hugs,

Mary Ellen

Knit for Joy said...

I'm a puddle. Reading your remembrance of Sam reminds me of when I lost my cat, Squeak, after 13 years of love. Very similar stuff there. It's so hard.

Somewhere there's a white dog and a white cat telling tales about their humans.

lexa said...

What a wonderful tribute to Sam! Lovely photos, he was so handsome. It was easy to see the love! I hope Biko copes well -- we had two cats when I lived at home. When the Siamese cat died the other cat howled and cried for weeks looking for him. They know the loss, too. {{{hugs}}}

Martina said...

I know how you feel. Tears are close for Sam and you. Thanks for sharing his story and the pictures.

Anonymous said...

I'm crying right along with you. You have so many beautiful memories of Sam and how lucky to have found your once in a lifetime dog.

Monica aka Gloria Patre said...

My heart goes out to you! How fortunate you have such happy memories and LOTS of pictures!

Marissa said...

I am so proud of you, your handling of such a difficult time. I am sure Sam is pleased with how you helped him along, and happy to have you right to the end. He is at peace. Long live the memories of beautiful Sam!

Tracy Purtscher said...

Oh Monika I am so sorry. I too had to let my "once in a lifetime" friend go a few years back. Titan will always be a part of me. Hugs

Kirsten said...

I am so, so sorry Monika! My heart goes out to you. Sam sounds like such a wonderful dog. Hugs.

Joan said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and reading your story was so sad. We had been with this too and there is no way it isn't hard. Keep the good memories and know that he is out of pain. He was beautiful and I know he enriched your life.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. That was an amazing tribute to your Sam. I'm sitting here blubbering like he was my dog.

I know Sam's story hit me so hard because his story is similar to my Max's story. Max was also my once in a lifetime dog and I also had to make that decision for him when he was still young.

I realize there's nothing anyone can do or say right now to comfort you, but just remember that it hurts so much because you loved Sam so much. He was one heck of a dog and I'm glad you got to know him for as long as you did.

I hope that someday your Sam socks will bring you comfort.

Hugs to you, Biko and your son.

Juli said...

Ach Monika, mit wie viel Wärme, mit wie viel Liebe hast du uns an deiner Zeit mit Sam teilhaben lassen.
Nun Sitze ich weinend am PC und finde wieder nicht die richtigen Worte.

Die Samsocken haben Zeit. Sie laufen dir nicht davon. Irgendwann wirst du sie in die Hand nehmen und weiterstricken können. (Und hoffentlich mit einem Lächeln an Sam auch tragen können)

Ganz liebe Grüße, Juli

hannah said...

Here is another person who can't stop crying after reading this post.

My heart goes out to you Dear Monika. Thank you for sharing this with us and for all the wonderful pictures. Sam was a lucky dog being with you. After reading this story I fully understand how special he was to you.

Donna said...

Monika, I'm so sorry! I have loved your stories and photos of Sam and Biko almost as much as your knitting.

Pixie said...

My deepest and most sincere condolences. I never know the right words to express how sorry I am when I hear news like this....

Sam had such a wonderful, love-filled life with your family. I know saying goodbye is never easy and it's one of the most difficult decisions that I've ever had to go through in life....I hope it helps ease the hurt in your heart just a little to know that you are in my thoughts.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I so appreciate you sharing more about Sam and how he came into your life and why he was so special to you. One of my favorite posts of yours ever (and you know how I love your knitting).

You were right, it was time to let him go. It is hard to believe now, but time really will help although a little piece of your heart will always be missing.

sharon said...

What a beautiful photo collage and tribute!
My thoughts are with you

Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing Sam's story and the pictures are wonderful.

You are in my prayers, and I so is Sam who now resides in doggie heaven. It's easy to believe that there, he runs like the wind, he's made a new friend, he stands proud and tall, like the king of them all.

My heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. Sam will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Oh Monika - I remember discovering your blog so long ago -firstly because of your two beautiful white dogs....I have some tears sploshing down my face with your story....thanks for sharing.

Bea said...

Liebe Monika,

es gibt unter unseren Haustieren welche, die was Besonderes sind. Sam ist etwas Besonderes.
Ich habe absichtlich in der Gegenwartsform geschrieben.
Sam lebt weiter. In deinen Gedanken, Erinnerungen und nach meinem Glauben lebt er in einer anderen Dimension weiter und wartet auf Dich.

Liebe Grüße, die Bea

Cloudberry said...

This was such a beautiful and moving post, that you made me cry.
Sam really was a beautiful dog, so many great photos!

CelticCastOn said...

crying once again.... Sam was to you what Boston is to me. I'm glad he's not suffering anymore but he'll be waiting for you and you'll get to frolick after that big red ball someday soon!

p.s. I think Biko will be your new sidekick. Its probably her way of comforting you and letting you know she's there with ya.

Frieda said...

This is such a beautiful & touching tribute to Sam . He was truly a beautiful dog, his personality comes through so much in the photos . You couldn't have done better by him .

Giving you a hug from afar , take care ...

Robin said...

Monika, what wonderful pictures of Sam. I love the one of him with the snow shovel! As an only child, the German Shepherd we had when I was young was my sister. She was so in-tune with me and went everywhere I did. They are a special breed. She had hip dysplasia and a stomach tumor when we decided to have her put to sleep. It was time. She was having such a tough time getting up and walking. Treasure your wonderful photos of Sam. Such a handsome pup! Take care!

She Knits Socks said...

Sam's story brought me to tears. I lost a wonderful dog a couple of years ago, and I know the pain you are feeling.

He was lucky to have a loving family, and you were lucky to have such a great dog.

Päivi Eerola said...

I am sorry about your loss. I have lost two dear dogs many years ago but I still miss them every day.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. It's a hard choice to make, I know. I'm sure it's a relief to know that he's no longer in pain.

GoldenTracks said...

I'm sitting here with tears just pouring! I know what you mean when you talk about the 'specialness' of Sam. Sunny is my heart dog. I can't imagine living without her.
This is a lovely tribute to Sam in words and photos that you've posted.
Finish the socks and wear them for Sam. And when you bring him home, get yourself a pretty piece of pottery to keep him in so you can have him with you forever.
Love ya

Susan said...

Monika, I am so very sorry for your loss. Sam has been such a treasure as I have read your blog over so many months. I will miss him too! Huge hugs!

Anonymous said...

awwww - now you have ME tearing up ....
it was that empty dog collar that did it.

wishing you peace
Margie in Maryland

Gramma Phyllis said...

My heart goes out to you in your loss. I too had a one in a lifetime dog. He officially was my son's dog, but Casey was really mine. Your story of Sam's last ride in the car sounded so very familiar. Casey had sever spinal arthritis and was no longer his bouncy self but on his list ride in the car (and oh how he loved to go for a ride, in fact when he escaped from the yard that was how we recaptured him - offer a car ride) he perked right up and sat up to put his nose out a slit in the window. I still think about him and he crossed the Rainbow Bridge almost 15 year ago. They never leave your heat.

Learner Ros said...

I'm sorry for your loss but what a beautiful dedication to him!

Unknown said...

I'm a little late, but thank you so much for sharing the wonderful memories and pictures of your forever friend.

Anett said...

I am so so sorry that Sam has gone. I was so moved when I read your tribute to him. May he live forever in your thoughts - what he will do.

I am wishing you a lot of strength to get over this loss.

Anett from Germany

Dandy said...

I'm so sorry for you loss... I'm crying my eyes out because we went through the same thing yrs ago with our dog Harley... he was a dog that came with the house when we bought it... and was just the best thing ever... I used to babysit and I even seen him herd some kids out of the way of a swing coming back down so they wouldn't get hit by it....He also had arthritis and knew he wouldn't make it through the winter... he had trouble getting up and wimpered when he sat or stood... so painful to see... I knew we had to put him down and took him to the vet to see what they could do for him... I knew the answer... I hated the answer... I took him home and cried all night and called the vet the next morning. I had to get my dad to come and take him in. I couldn't be there. Dad said it bothered him so much too because Harley knew what was happening. But we know now he's over the Rainbow Bridge, running and playing chasing the birds.
Maybe Sam is running with him now?

my thoughts are with you.


Renata S. P. said...

During this months visiting your blog, I admit that I just fell in love for Sam.
And I have to say thank you, for sharing him with us.
You have a beautiful story with him and, reading it, it's almost impossible not to cry.
For sure that was a very hard decision, but I admire you for that, for set him free from the pain.
And I'll never get tired of looking this photos.

Best Wishes,


steffi said...

Wie liebevoll Du das gemacht hast. Mir bleibt das Herz stehen - echt...
Fühle Dich von mir einfach virtuell gedrück und zwar ganz ganz feste :)

Carrie K said...

Sam grew into his ears, didn't he? Such a cute puppy. I'm so glad that you and Sam got to be together for his whole life, I'm sorry for you that it wasn't longer. Isn't that the hardest part? When you just want to be selfish but you can't because you love him too much.

pat said...

I'm so sorry Monika.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post, I glad you got so many wonderful years with him and you go to be with him at the end. My heart goes out to you.
Take care

Susanne said...

Liebe Monika,
ich sitze hier und kann es nicht fassen, Tränen laufen mir über die Wangen. Es tut mir unendlich leid, dass Sam nun doch so schnell gehen musste. Es ist furchtbar...ich bin sehr traurig und fühle mit Dir, liebe Monika.
Du hast Eure enge Bindung ganz wundervoll beschrieben, er war wirklich etwas ganz außerordentlich Wichtiges für Dich. Er wird immer bei Dir sein und in Deiner Erinnerung weiterleben.
Sei umarmt von Susanne

Kris B said...

I’m sending big virtual hugs your way. I am so sorry to hear about Sam. Like so many others I will miss him to.

Anonymous said...

I just found out about Sam. I'm so sorry for you, but relieved for Sam that he doesn't have any more pain. I love your blog, because of the knitting content, but mostly because of your dogs. You are a very kind and loving person, Sam had a very good life. You were his best friend, as he was yours.

Violiknit said...

I am so sorry for your loss... Sam was very lucky to have such a loving and wonderful owner like you. Here I am, finally catching up on blogs, and I find myself crying reading this :( I hope that Happy knows what a wonderful family he has come into.