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 Post subject: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:00 pm 
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Location: Keystone State
For some who read this, it might seem silly that I am posting this. But I just wanted to express my feelings somewhere. If you are a pet lover, I think you will understand and appreciate what I am about to type.

Today, my wife and I had to euthanize our 16-year old Lhasa Apso Sampson. It was by far one of the saddest days I have experienced on this planet. I have lost grandparents, a mother-in-law and other friends and relatives, but for some reason this hurts just as much.

Maybe it's because I was responsible for him or maybe it was because I actually made the choice to end his life. Either way, I am not handling this very well.

We got Sampson when he was eight so he was already a senior dog. His owners (one of my wife's co-worker's sister) had two young children and didn't want the dog to harm them in any way or vice versa. My wife and I were just getting ready to move into our first house and we both were big dog lovers.

I wasn't sure if I was ready for a pet because my life was very busy at the time and I had other things I was focusing on. But we decided to do it anyway.

We drove about 15 minutes away to the owners house and there he was. This black and white (he got grayer as he go older) little firecracker with one white paw and one black paw. But that was not his distinguishing feature. He had this one snaggletooth that use to jet out from his bottom lip that immediately looked funny, but at the same time gave him a personality that stayed with him to the end.

As soon as we got to the car, he was very quiet and we weren't quite sure he was scared or just timid. As soon as we got on the main road, he went crazy at every biker and jogger we passed by. His jutting eyes made him seem crazy, but he was so cute at the same time.

It didn't take us long to fall in love with this wonderful dog. He had this regal aura around him, like a king. He was very proud and very proper at times. But he was also a puppy at heart. He loved fetching a ball or a squeeze toy we got for him.

We called him Sam or Sammy for short. His other name was Handsome Sampson and anyone who met him immediately was amused and realized they made friend.

We only had Sampson a year and he started to act strange. We knew we were getting an older dog so health could be an issue. We found out he had stones in his stomach and had to get them removed or he would not live much longer. We were concerned because an older dog is always at risk with surgery. But he bounced back nicely and we had him for another 7 years which I am always grateful for.

Sampson showed his true colors when our first son was born. Sammy sniffed him up and down wondering what this new smell was that had entered our house. Not even a week into our son's life, Sampson could be found sleeping in front of his crib, "guarding" him from any harm.

Another fun thing Sampson did was chase lights in the house, basically a flashlight on the ceiling or reflection from a mirror or glass that went on the ceiling, it used to drive him nuts as he would bark and chase after it.

He loved to fetch his ball or toy and would return it with his tail high and he would also not give it back easily as he could hold it in his mouth and growl, challenging you to take it from him. Eventually, he would drop it but would hover over it waiting to pounce on it if you reached for it.

Probably my favorite thing he would do was he would "demand" scratchies as we called them. If you were rubbing his neck or scratching his belly and stopped, he would paw you to let you know he wasn't done yet. I loved that because he was actually communicating with us. He was so smart.

The last year has been very tough. We knew age was catching up with him and he was getting skinnier. He had a healthy appetite up until he passed. In his younger days, he loved a snack called "greenies" or another one called Dingos. But he started having bladder problems and he didn't always make it outside. At first, we were mad about it but realized it wasn't his fault and he tried to go out when he knew he had to go. We actually had the back door open most of the time and he made it out.

Last night was his last night and it was very sad for me. He wasn't moving and couldn't lift his head up. He would yelp at times which told us he was in pain. That was the clincher.

I put him on his bed in our room. He had slept with us for years, able to jump up on our bed and nudging right next to us. He always wanted to be touching someone. My wife said today that was her favorite thing about him. She had always wanted a dog that would sleep with her and cuddle against us. He couldn't do that anymore in his later years because of his back. So last night I laid next to his bed. I cuddled against him and wouldn't you know, he managed to lift his head one more time and lay it on my arm. It was the best feeling in the world and for a moment I think he felt at peace. I stayed next to him for an hour until I finally returned to my bed.

The next morning, I found him in the hall, kind of out of it. I was hoping he would pass in his sleep, but he has always been a fighter. I said goodbye one more time, kissed him and told him I loved him.

I left for work and my wife called me at 1:30 and told me it was done. They prepared his body for burial and we brought him home. I dug a hole in my yard, we placed him on his pillow with a bone, a bottle of water, a tennis ball and pictures of my wife and I, my two sons and out other dog Annie. We took one of my son's blankets and placed it over him.

My 4-year old keeps asking why can't Sammy come back. It's very hard for me to explain it, but he keeps telling me his misses Sammy and that makes me feel the love for both my son and my dog.

My son fell asleep around 8:30 tonight but my 2-year old was laying in bed with me and kept crawling around the bed, creeping over the edge and asking "Where's Sammy?" It made me cry, but it also made me proud to know that our dog made that much of an impact on our family.

I will miss him in the worst way. Today, I didn't lose a pet. I lost a friend.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. Sampson, you are the best!!


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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:51 am 
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What a touching story and very spot on. Dogs are just as much a part of family as any human. I think people are closer to smaller dogs as they tend to cuddle more and are more "teddy bear" like. I felt your pain five years ago (my Shih-Tzu died in her sleep the night before we were going to put her down) and still think about her all the time.

I'm very sorry about your loss. You'll be reminded of your dog for many years when you see others like your dog. It used to be hard but now it brings a smile to my face.

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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:12 am 
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Always remember that you did the right thing. It is all about quality of life. I have had a bearded collie/sheepdog and a lab that I have put down and it is not any easy thing. You will find another friend and now you have the kids to help you pick it out.

Hang in there.


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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:55 pm 
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Sorry about your loss.

I've had only three dogs in my 40 years of living. Mitzi the Border Collie made it 16 years, Tasha the Collie made it to 12, and Harley the Boxer is pushing 11 and starting to slow down. I'm no expert, the pain is always the same, but the memories more than make up for it.

Sampson was loved, he knew it, and he loved you back.


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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:42 pm 
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http://www.pet-loss.net/

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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:46 pm 
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I feel so bad for you man. It's a special thing to have a close friendship with any animal.

We have a huge cat named Pappu. He's seven years old.. got him around the same time our daughter was born. We love him soooo much. He is like our other kid honestly. The day he passes away we are gonna cry our eyes out. My wife starts to cry even if she thinks about losing him and she's not the animal rights wacko that I am.

I see all animals as equal to humans.. of course pets are unique. I adored my cats as a kid.. spent every moment with them. My family had the best mutt in the world back in the seventies. On one snowy day our school bus ran over him (Tony) before our eyes (waiting for the bus to stop.) I never really wanted a dog after that, though we did have one great one after Tony (my father dumped that dog because he ate a baby guineau.) My father shot and killed several of our pets and use to toss them in a sack and take them away. I had a traumatic childhood in that regard but these days I am thankful to live with someone who loves animals too.

I'm thankful to know there are good loving people out there like you, bucco boy.


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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:10 pm 
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It is very clear that there is a tremendous emotional connection between pet and pet owner. I respect it but don't understand it. I'm not a pet person. I know that many people have real good pets that they truly love. I'm glad for that because they are obviously meeting a need. I have no desire nor feel the need to experience that.

I do feel bad that your pet was put down and hope you will be able to replace some of that feeling with another pet.

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 Post subject: Re: My dog Sampson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:07 pm 
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Sorry to hear about your loss. It is never easy to lose a pet. I believe I may have met Sampson many years ago when we exchanged tickets with you at your old home in Brookline. I'm sure your dog is looking down on your family and smiling from the "Great Fire Hydrant in the Sky".

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