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Monday, February 09, 2009

Sam

I've been needing (and wanting) to post this for a long time now, so here goes.

Sam, our beloved, faithful dog, is gone. No, he did not die (at least, we don't think he did), he's just...gone.

On Christmas day we were leaving to have lunch with my family and Sam was nowhere to be found. This was a little odd, but, after all, he did like to escape the gate and run around sometimes so we thought maybe he was just out for a walk. But when he hadn't returned that night, we started to wonder, and worry. After a few days and a trip to the Waco Humane Society** we finally came to terms with the fact that Sam was simply gone.

Now I'll be the first to tell you I'm not generally a dog person. I don't dislike dogs, in fact there are a few (Tyson, Sam) that I really like. I just generally prefer cats. But Sam was a damn good dog and I'm really sad that he's gone.

Sam was a very large yellow labrador retriever. He was about three or four years old and weighed over 100 pounds. If I had Sam on a leash and he decided to run, I had to brace myself with both feet to keep from being pulled over. But Sam didn't jump up on people or sniff their privates or bark (too often) at strangers. He loved the kids and was great with them. And, although he liked to persecute our cat Bob, Sam was not overly antagonistic towards him. Besides, Bob torments Molly enough that he was in for it. (Remember who Bob & Molly are?)

When we would take walks around the neighborhood, we walked past several very mean, very vocal dogs. They're fenced, but my goodness! Snarling, drooling, growling, barking--they're scary! And Sam would not bark. Not once. He would whine a little bit, but he'd keep walking. And when the ice cream truck would drive by our house (which is all the freaking time) Sam wouldn't bark. He would raise his nose up high in the air and do this closed-mouth whiny howl (I think it hurt his ears), but he wouldn't bark. An ice cream truck drove by the other day and I half expected to hear the howl. I miss that howl.

Sam loved to play ball. Oh, Lord, did that dog love to play ball. If he could have spoken, he would have said, "BALL!!! Play ball! Ball, ball, ball! PLAY BALL!!!!" Seriously. That dog would chase a ball all day long. I think we went through two bouncy balls and three soccer balls in the year or so we had him. The only times he didn't want to play ball were one time during the summer when it was like 115 degrees, and when he got sick.

About a month before Sam disappeared, he was, well, sick as a dog. He wouldn't play (which was our first sign), he wouldn't eat, he wouldn't move. We were really worried that we might have to put him down. I took him to an emergency care vet and spent way too much money, and while they gave him some pain meds and an antibiotic, they made it sound like whatever was wrong with him (they couldn't tell me what was wrong with him) was not going to be remedied with just antibiotics. Our regular vet extended the antibiotic (for about half what we paid the emergency place), and, lo and behold, Sam made a full recovery. We were really grateful.

After Sam got better, he was like a new dog. He was more excited about life in general. He always greeted me when I drove home in the afternoons--he'd see the car from his "bed" in the grass on the side of the house, lift his head and start wagging his tail, then streak to the garage where he'd be waiting for me when I opened the garage door--but now he added a little leap-y dance of joy to his greeting.

We had also developed a new move while playing ball: I'd move from one side of the ball to the other, acting like I was going to kick it, and he'd run around watching the ball sharply, alert for any signs of kicking. Sometimes I could fool him, sometimes not. But the whole time he'd be quivering with excitement. Man, he loved to play ball. I miss that.

I think I had my first really good cry about three days after he disappeared, when I realized he really wasn't coming back. Part of my sadness came out of fear--what had happened? Was he dead? Or worse, was he in pain somewhere? Why wouldn't he come back? He'd always come back. What had happened? And, of course, part of my sadness was just sadness. I miss that dumb ole dog. I drove past the stupid emergency vet a couple of weeks ago on my way to the store, and that set me off, too. And several times I've caught myself looking for him laying in the grass when I drive home. A week or so ago on my way out the front door I almost called his name so I could pet him. I caught myself, but that made me sad, too.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not devastated. There are certainly other things that would upset me far more. And I'm not nearly as upset as I was. But I still miss that dog.



**If you ever decide to get a pet, please go to the Humane Society. Please.

4 comments:

hoesayfina said...

what a sweet post. you made me miss him...(darn empathy).

I know you like to read and I recently stumbled upon James Herriot books. You may have heard of him. He's was a vet in England who loved to write. I believe after he retired he began writing about some of his encounters with dogs, horses, cows, cats, etc. I really enjoyed reading the library's copy of Animal Stories . I have All Creatures Great and Small on hold for me right now.....

Okay, back to SAM. Did you make and LOST DOG fliers? I'm wondering if someone else is "loving" him now....

A Marie said...

Aww. I'm sorry, sweety.

Aaron said...

I think he was stolen. Hopefully the dog thief will make up for his lack of moral fiber with his love of dogs.

sandy said...

I'm so sorry Amy. I bet it's really hard not knowing what happened to Sam. I hate getting so attached to pets. They really do become part of your family.