We said goodbye to an old friend today.
Sam has been part of our family for many years. We got him a couple of years before I moved away from home. Since I wasn't allowed to have pets where I moved, Sam remained at Dad's until my sister got married three years ago, when he went to live with her.
My sister called me today crying, telling me she thought Sam was dying. Since I had to work, I called Dad to see if he would go over there and check on the dog and my sister.
I won't go into details, but Dad said he thought Sam had a stroke. He took him to the vet, and Sam was put down this afternoon.
I went over to my sister's this evening, figuring she could use some company. I got there after 9:00, and her eyes were still puffy and swollen. We sat out by the pool and talked for an hour and a half, a little about Sam, but mostly about anything else, to try and keep her mind off of it. She took good care of Sam, and I told her that.
By all familial accounts, Sam was fourteen. I last saw him a couple of weeks ago. He was moving slowly and sleeping a lot, but he let me brush him for a few minutes. I prefer to remember his younger years.
One of his favorite games was getting out of the yard and wandering thru the neighborhood, marking his territory and "talking" to the other dogs. Almost everytime, my sister or I would have to go literally pick him up and carry him home.
Then there was his idiosyncratic two-week kibbles-only phase, where he'd pick every single kibble out of his bowl, leaving only the bits. We were about to try changing to another brand of dog food when Sam suddenly went back to eating normally again.
Dogs are a true joy. They're always excited to see you and loyal beyond compare. They become like part of the family. Losing one is tough.
I had a friend whose dog got run over several years ago. I'd never seen this guy show the slightest hint of emotion, ever. But when I asked about his dog, he was unable to speak about it.
Sam always seemed to be terrified of fireworks. He would whine and go hide in his house anytime anyone was shooting them. I suppose it's good he won't have to endure another 4th of July.
I'll miss you, ol' buddy. And thank God for dogs.