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.

33 responses

  1. I’m so sorry. Having lost Blue two months ago I’m still a bit raw & am now close to tears.

  2. Oh my god! What happened to her? How can that be so sudden? I’m crying here, What a great post, and so sad of course, about her. Such a beautiful Baby!

  3. Oh NO. I’m sooooooo sorry. She was such a sweetie, and I always enjoyed seeing her beautiful shepherd face on your blog!
    (I’m sending you many hugs, you know…it’s just so hard to say good-bye to them!)
    I’m sure BB is a part of the welcoming committee at the Rainbow Bridge, tho’ she might be just a touch nervous of such a BIG D-O-G!!)

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet girl.

  5. Oh poor babies… I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    We love them so very much, and their lives are so short.

    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”—Cheryl Zuccaro.

  6. A few tears were shed for you in SW Michigan this morning.

    It’s so hard to lose them.

    Sam was a fortunate dog that you could see her potential when she was at her worst and give her so much fun and love for the remainder of her life. My thoughts will be with you during this difficult time of fresh grief.

  7. Oh, Kathy, I’m so, so sorry. 😦 I read your eulogy of Sam with tears in my eyes. I understand that grief of losing a dog that’s a very part of you. Sam was such a beautiful creature, inside and out. She was also blessed to have been adopted by you, and she probably knew that, and strived each day to express that appreciation to you.

  8. I’m so sorry that you lost your Sammie, but I also very glad that you had her. I am sure, though, that in time, the other dogs will fill in her place and become all the closer to you. Hold her close in your heart.

  9. I never understood the love one could have for a dog…I’ve been a cat person all my life. In April 1999, Maggie came barreling out of the woods and into my heart and now I know.

    I am so, so sorry for you loss. Each of your babies has been blessed to have found you…you’ve got a heart so full of love for every one of them.

    We’re grieving with you.

  10. I’m very sorry. Thank you for sharing Sam’s special moments with all of us.

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you loved Samantha very much. Please know that I am sending you warm thoughts and lots of sympathy. Our Gracie died in January, and I do know the loss you are feeling.

  12. Oh, another sad loss but great life. Hugs to you.

  13. Kathy, I’m so sorry for your huge loss. It’s just not fair. I looked forward to seeing her smiling mug in your blog posts. Thanks for sharing her with all of us.

  14. Darlin’ I’m so sorry to read this…I’m just getting caught up on my blog reading.

    She knows she was loved, she was a happy gal with you!

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  16. Kat…

    I’m so sorry to hear about Sam. I wish I could say something to make it better, but I know it won’t. Just know I’m sorry.

  17. Like everyone else, I’m just so sorry to hear about your loss. Your readers know just how much you love Sam, and I’m sure she did too.

  18. blogfree Jessica | Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to such a lovely girl. I am so sorry for your loss, i know it is insanely difficult. I just love reading about your dogs, and will miss hearing of Sam’s antics, she reminds me of my dad’s GSD, who incidently is also named Samantha, and is a resident of clown-town. So hard to lose such a loyal, lovely girl. My heart goes out to you and your pack.

  19. I am sorry for your loss. I will miss seeing beautiful Samantha on your blog, just as I miss seeing Max and hearing all about their daily routines and funny business. She was wonderful dog, and you were lucky to have each other … she could not have asked for a better mommy.

  20. I’m so sorry… Sam sounds like she was a wonderful friend.

  21. I’m so so sorry for your loss. I am in tears reading your post. She was such a sweet dog.

  22. Such a lovely girl. Hugs to you and yours from me and mine.

  23. I’m so, so sorry. Samantha was such a wonderful, sweet girl. Such a beautiful tribute to her memory. My heart is with you. *hugs*

  24. I’m so sorry to hear about Sam. Best wishes.

  25. tothejenthpower | Reply

    My heart goes out to you. I really hope you can take comfort in the knowledge that Sam was, quite possibly, one of the most beloved dogs ever. Thank you for sharing both this amazing dog and this beautiful tribute to her.

  26. I’m very, very sorry, kafski. But I bet she knew how much you loved her, just like I know how much my Mama loves me. We can always tell who the best people are – that’s why we go home with them. You gave her the bestest doggie life ever.

  27. What a beautiful tribute to one of the most gorgeous dogs I have ever laid eyes on. The thing I love most as I have experienced it with my own resuced animals is how the love and trust grow and our previously scared and skittish animals blossom under our care and love. It is one of the most precious gifts and indeed, can teach us so much about life. I am tearing up here….you have my deepest sympathy for your loss.

  28. I am so sorry about the loss of Samantha Grace. She was a very beautiful “shephardess”. For those of us who have a love of all “critters”, thank you for adopting her and giving her a good home. My heart goes out to you for your loss!

  29. That’s one of the most beautiful tributes to a lost pet that I have ever read. I am so very sorry for your loss. It sounds like Samantha was an amazing dog.

  30. I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounded like an amazing animal and friend.

  31. I lost my girl Scully, 2 years ago this September. She was a hand me down from my Brother in Law, she was six (or seven) when she came to us. I had lost my two dogs within 12 months of each other & swore I’d never get another dog. But when we used to visit our family, Scully would run to greet us, lay down & beg for a belly rub, then as we walked on, she would run in front again & again for another belly rub. Although they treated her kindly, she was never walked or allowed inside & since the arrival of my In Laws 1st child, never got much attention either. I found that I spent most of my visits with them, playing with their dog. So one day they asked if I would like to take her. I only hesitated for a second & she came home with us. We where like to lost souls that needed comforting, her for all the attention that she never got & me getting over the grief of my loss. It took her about a minute to adapt to her new life & sleeping on my bed. The begging for belly rubs soon stopped, as she got the them often & without asking.
    I was lucky enough to have her for six years, when one evening on her walk, she suddenly started to stumble & she was worsening during the night. we rang the vet & after examining her told us she most probably had an advanced cancer, she by then had lapsed into coma like state.
    It happened so quickly, but I did get a chance to so good bye to her, I don’t believe I have ever grieved for anyone or anything as I did & still do at her passing. She sounded very similar to your Sam.
    I have since got another dog & I know that to some this may seem shallow, I did swear again that I would never get another dog, but my life was very empty without a “Mutt”. And like all dogs, this one found me.
    Please accept my deepest sympathies at your loss, my Grandmother & Mother used to have a saying “God can’t be everywhere at once, so thats why he made Dogs, but he can only give them to us for a little while”.

  32. What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog.

  33. Sam was such a beautiful girl.

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