Daily Archives: April 25th, 2008

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Samantha Grace

Adopted: November 20, 1999

Died: April 25, 2008

Oh, Samantha. My sweet Sammie girl. Gracie. I was not ready to say goodbye to you.

Sam’s story begins, like all my critter stories do, at the Humane Society. I was looking for a German Shepherd and found Samantha. In all honesty, she looked rough. She was about 20 lbs. underweight and her nails were so long that they curled under her feet. She was 3 or 4 years old and was skittish as hell. I soon learned that she had a very strong fear of loud noises: thunder, voices, laughter, etc. I tend to be a loud person (in talking and especially laughing) and if I didn’t lower my voice, Sam would go running from the room.

After a rough start, Sam became best friends with my other Shepherd, Max. Those two did everything together and were rarely more than a couple of feet from each other. Their favorite activity together was playing ‘chase’ and wrestling:

If I had to sum up Sam in one sentence I would say that she lived life with gusto and it was a joy to watch how much fun she had every single day.

Samantha loved fetch more than any dog I’ve ever known.

A few years ago I decided to see how long she could play fetch before getting tired of it. At about 90 minutes into this experiment, my arm cried ‘uncle’, but Sam was still running at full speed. While she slowed down a lot in the past couple of years, Sam was still playing fetch last weekend.

Sam also loved car rides. I’ve had dogs that have liked riding in the car, but usually only sat up for a couple of minutes and then settled in for a nap. Not Sam. She sat at attention the whole time and the look of happiness on her face always made me smile.

Samantha also loved water and loved to play with the water hose in the summer (with my help, of course):

Samantha was a digger. Soon after I moved into this house, she excavated a hole under the deck:

She spent many hot summer days under the deck. She also had a spot in the backyard that she dug on a regular basis. She was a serious digger, too. When the hole in the backyard would get 3-4 feet deep, I would sneak outside and fill it in. In just a day or two, it would be dug out again. Then we’d repeat the dance: me filling in the hole and her digging it out again. I think she enjoyed this routine as much as I did.

To say that Samantha loved toys would be an understatement.

The dog was just bonkers about stuffed animals. After any major stuffed animal holiday (Easter, Valentine’s, etc.) I would hit those 75% off sales and buy up stuffed animals by the dozen.

Samantha could (and would) spend hours just watching out the window.

She always notified me immediately of any danger: the neighbor’s cat in the yard, a loose dog running by or the garbage men stealing our stuff.

Sam was insanely obedient. I had total voice control over her and she always obeyed the first time I gave her a command. When we went on walks she would hear an approaching car and immediately move to the side of the road. Sam started losing her hearing a couple years ago and for the last year or so she’s been almost totally deaf (except for very loud or very high pitched noises). Luckily, I teach my dogs hand signals along with voice commands, so I was able to communicate with her. Sam also taught herself a pretty cool trick. One night she didn’t come inside with her sisters, so I got the flashlight out to find her in the yard. The second she saw the flashlight beam she ran inside. That became my command for her to come inside after dark.

My furry family would eventually include Kishka. Samantha and Kishka weren’t as close as Max and Sam, but they enjoyed each other’s company. Their favorite activity was sleeping side by side:

Sam and Sadie were just beginning their relationship, but it was already off to a good start.

Late last year, Samantha was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. When that happened, I feared the worst. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Samantha’s DM never progressed very far. She did stumble sometimes, but she was able to go for walks and play fetch right up until the end. For that, I am extremely grateful.

Samantha taught me so much about life: how to live life with enthusiasm and to not let past disappointments ruin a chance for happiness in the future.

Thank you, Samantha, for eight and a half wonderful years. You were a complete joy every single day. I will miss watching you eviscerate your stuffed animals. I will miss falling asleep at night to the sound of your soft snores. I will miss how your eyes sparkled when we went on walks. I will miss your anticipation when I picked up a tennis ball, frisbee or the garden hose. I will miss seeing the dirt fly as you dug to China. I will miss arriving home and seeing your happy face pop up in the front window.

Most of all, I’ll just miss you. Your gentle spirit and lust for life brightened every day of my life. You were loved and adored as much as any dog could be. Rest in peace, my sweet girl.