Sam, Sam the BT man…

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Once again our life’s vehicle is merging onto another highway headed to new territory. Robert has taken a job in upstate New York and for the first time in my life, I will soon be living outside of the Southeast. Gasp! It is a good thing for our family but like all big changes, the transition period is stressful. More on that later…

Unfortunately in the midst of the chaos, we had to say goodbye to our sweet dog Sam two weeks ago. He was just shy of his 15th birthday. Sam had an awesome life but the time had come for him to find a comfy spot on that big sofa in the sky.

Rewind 15 years…….while Robert and I were engaged, we decided that we wanted a puppy. So my information hound fiancé researched dog breeds and found the perfect one for us. We settled on a border terrier. We found a breeder a few hours away and began the journey to canine parenthood. Our breeders are serious folk in the dog world. We were interviewed and vetted to make sure we would be good parents. Somehow we passed the test and were allowed to bring Sampson home to become an official member of the Donovan family.

We picked Sam up on the day we got back from our honeymoon and began our life as a family. Robert was commuting an hour each way to work while I finished up my last year of college. Sam was the perfect little dog for us. He had a stellar personality and we were a great match. One of my favorite Sam stories occurred within the first 6 months of his life with us.

I am a Reese’s cup fanatic. I often have them in the house in large quantities. There it is. Out there for the world to know….but I digress. SO, I have this beautiful silver bowl that we got as a wedding present and I had it on the table beside our sofa filled to the brim with miniature Reese’s cups. Sam had never paid any attention to the bowl of deliciousness.

One afternoon I got home from class to find Sam racing up and down the hallway of our apartment. He had a crazed look in his eye and was doing this weird “ruff, ruff” growl/bark as he careened back and forth. I looked around and realized that the bowl was empty. E-M-P-T-Y. Not a wrapper in sight. Not one. He had eaten them all. For those of you who are not dog people, that’s bad. Honestly, that many Reese’s cups in that short amount of time is not good for anyone but it’s really not good for a dog. So I’m thinking, oh crap I killed the dog. Robert is going to freak. The breeders are going to hunt me down and tar and feather me for sure. I trusted Sam out of his kennel and left him a giant bowl of death for the taking. It might as well have had his name on it with a liver treat trail up the sofa. My potential-for-being-a-good-mother-someday evaluation was not off to a good start.

I was having a regular freak out when, all of the sudden, Sam’s race was over and he laid down for a 4 hour nap. I kept checking his pulse and waiting for the disaster to happen. Somehow the calamity never showed up at our door. A week later he pooped out a Reese’s wrapper Christmas ornament and the balance of nature was restored.

Miraculously we survived the ordeal. Through the years we survived several Sam challenges but at the heart of everything he was a wonderful member of our family regardless of how many times he stubbed his toe jumping off the bed at 3 in the morning.

He was not happy when we brought home our big dog but he got over it. He was not happy when my belly, growing little Abigail inside, took over his favorite spot on the sofa and his sleeping spot in our bed but somehow he knew it was okay. He didn’t particularly like the drive from wherever we were to wherever we were going but he always forgave us. He was always happy to see us. He loved our girls and was a loyal buddy through everything. He put up with us and we with him, always.

So, for my first baby, my sweet furry brown dog, I loved you dearly and I always will.

the linebacker

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Let me begin by saying that I am a dog nut.  I adore dogs and want to pet them all. I grew up with dogs and have always been attached to them.  I don’t have anything against cats…I just don’t know how to relate to them.  My mom is severely allergic to cats so I’ve never owned one.  Plus, I don’t understand the whole cat attitude of “come love on me….now I’ll bite you…”  Thanks for that Scooter and Whiskers!

Back on topic….this morning, my neighbor’s dog came up to me and mashed her face against my legs, wanting her ears scratched.  This is something my dog, Emma, used to do so it didn’t take me long to start feeling nostalgic.

Emma was a black Labrador.  She weighed 110 pounds and was gentle and sweet.  Her mother was owned by some friends of ours so I was able to be there when she was born.  As a puppy, she was ADORABLE!  Cute doesn’t even begin to describe her.  Once she got past the lanky “teenage” months, she grew (and grew and grew) into a wonderful dog.  She loved other dogs but would rather spend time with her tennis ball.  Yes, she was really big and didn’t realize her own girth most of the time but she was fabulous.  She loved the girls and would sit still for hours while they piled beads around her neck and tiaras on her head.  Such a good sport!  Sadly, she passed away suddenly last March.  I was not prepared at all.  She was only 8 and it was much harder than I ever thought.

In thinking about her this morning, I wanted to share one of my favorite Emma stories.

Emma loved to have her ears scratched.  Several times a day, she would approach me, put her head down and press her face against my legs in an attempt to get me to rub her ears.  The more I scratched, the harder she pushed.

When we lived in Nashville, I found a vet I really liked.  She’s about my age, a great doctor and I felt like I didn’t have to hide how much I love my dogs.  Some people get it – some people don’t.  Anyway, Emma needed to go to the vet and Dr. S. wasn’t available.  So I made an appointment with one of the other vets in her office.  Dr. H. thinks he’s the boss of the practice but everyone knows that the ladies up front run the show.

Emma and I get to the vet and are waiting for Dr. H. in the exam room.  He comes in the room, greets me and then squats down to “speak” to Emma on her level.  Emma saw an opportunity to have her ears scratched, put her head down and drove Dr. H. right into the wall!  I have to admit that I was laughing unashamedly.  Poor guy –  he had no idea what had hit him!  Looking a little dazed, he got to his feet and said “she’s a strong one, isn’t she?”  Emma looked so proud of herself.

I told Dr. S. about it, she told the ladies who run the office, and Emma quickly became a celebrity.  She was invited back any time to remind Dr. H. that he wasn’t the one in charge.

I’m not a huge “women’s lib” activist.  I mean, I believe in equal pay and equal rights and all of that but I’m not obsessing about it all the time.  However, on that day, I couldn’t have been more proud of my girl!

There are many more Emma stories.  I’m sure I’ll tell some of them in the future.  The most important thing I am reminded of as I think of Emma is that there is nothing quite like the love of a dog!   :)

(You can see a bigger image by clicking on the photos above.)