About 16 years ago, me and my mum took a trip to Battersea Dog’s Home. We looked at a lot of dogs that day. We were like the Goldilocks’ of the Dogs Home, all the dogs were either too big, too small, too yappy or too old. As we were leaving, we passed through the puppy nursery and when we set eyes on this little fella, it was love at first sight.
I bought him for my mum, so although he was hers, I liked to think that my financial outlay ensured a vested interest in his future. The home had named him Harry which was not to mother’s liking, so poor little puppy was nameless for a while. Thinking of names was as easy as the Princess trying to guess “Rumpelstiltskin” because my mum would turn her nose up at every suggestion. Except that is, for Sam! And so it was that daughter and dog had the same name which was for the record, quite embarrassing, but easy for everyone to remember. (See, there is always an upside.)
Sam so got lucky living at my mom’s. His life involved walkies galore, freshly cooked gourmet dinners (chicken and rice being the speciality a la maison), treats, toys and a wonderful wardrobe of doggy couture. He oozed cuteness and could melt the heart of the coolest ice queen, and failing that, random strangers.
Sam was a rather petite pooch, but in his head, he was as big as a horse. He behaved like it too, especially if a big dog or the postman was near by.
While Sam aged gracefully and his energy levels plummeted, my mum had it covered with her pram-turned-dog mobile. Do you think this could catch on?
Sam and my mum were inseparable. This dog was never home alone, he was either with my mum or with a friendly pet sitter. He truly was Woman’s best friend.
A couple of months ago, Sam suffered a stroke. My mum was devastated, and for me, it was a double blow, being so sad and so far away unable to fully support my mum and Sam. Miraculously, Sam made a remarkable recovery and came home, weary and wobbly but still in one piece. There was life in the old dog yet. He was after all, a super dog!
Only it turns out there wasn’t so much life in the old dog after all and his condition got worse and worse. My mum worked like a trojan to keep him comfortable but it seemed Sam’s condition was taking it’s toll on both of them.
My mum had to carry out the final labour of love for her beloved pet at the weekend. She took him to the vet who kindly put Sam to sleep, forever.
I phoned Sam to say goodbye. I know he’s deaf now but apparently, his ears twitched anyway. I’ve never had a pet pass away before and the sadness feels like it will swallow me whole.
My mum and Sam have been inseperable for over 16 years, Mum without Sam is as unimaginable as Tintin without Snowy.
I know however, that we were lucky to have Sam in our lives for as long as we did, and every day with him was a blessing. It was about as unconditional love as you can get. I like to think that if there is a place such as Doggy Heaven, Sam will be galloping around just like he did in the old days, with all the tickles, treats and walkies that his heart desires.
John Grogan wrote about his dog, Marley, “A person can learn a lot from a dog… Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” I feel exactly the same way about Sam. I stumbled upon these stories on John Grogan’s blog and took some solace in some good old fashioned tail tales.
Grogan also says that owning a dog always ends in tears, because dogs just don’t live as long as people do. I know they don’t but I wish they did.
Have you ever lost a pet that you loved?