Sam

Discussion in 'Dog Stories' started by Cindi, May 31, 2004.

  1. Cindi

    Cindi New Member

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    Sam had ear mites. I suspected that he did, and when I found him one morning with a hematoma on his ear I knew that I was right. Not only that, he was covered with fleas. It's like the house we moved into had millions of fleas in the dirt just waiting for some unsuspecting family to move in and provide a dog so that they could feast in earnest.

    Sam was the best dog ever. A great, heavy, blonde lab, he was intimidating to those who didn't know him and was fiercely protective of the house and the kids. I never met a smarter dog. He would follow me when I hung clothes on the line, and in between sitting down to scratch at those infernal fleas, he would retrieve the clothespins I dropped, placing them carefully in the laundry basket. He knew how to play hide and seek, and would get between the kids if a squabble ensued that deteriorated into physical combat. Sam wasn't having any of that. Not on his watch.

    I remember once I took him walking. I let his leash drop to the ground so that he could roam a bit. We were close to home, he was safe. He immediately went to the back of a neighbor's car that sat parked in the driveway and squatted.

    "Uh uh, Sam....not there." I said in a level voice. He stopped instantly and moved to a bush nearby leaving his offering in a neat pile out of harm's way.

    "Want me to get that...?" I asked the neighbor who had come out to check his mail.

    "Nah." He said. "No harm done." Sam sat and scratched. Oblivious.

    I checked into the once a month treatment for fleas. Sixty dollars. That would almost pay the light bill. We were so poor. Three small mouths to feed, doctor bills, diapers. I did the best I could by bathing him, which did little more than dry out his lovely coat. I wanted to do better by Sam but what could I do?

    When the hematoma popped up I became desperate. The dog was in such discomfort. Now he had this thing on his ear. We never once thought when we took the dog in, that one day we would not be able to afford to care for him. I had no money to have him treated. I called the vet. Sixty dollar examination fee, plus meds. I envisioned this two hundred dollar vet bill that I had no hope of paying.

    "Do you guys ever...you know, take payments?"

    "Sure", replied the voice on the phone, "we will finance fifty percent of the balance."

    "But how do I know how much that will be?"

    "Well....you don't."

    I sat looking at Sam all day out the window. He wasn't allowed in the house. He wasan outside dog when we got him, so he was not house trained. By that afternoon I reached a decision. I would either take Sam to the pound where he could get the treatment he needed, and hope that he would find a good home, or I would find him a home myself.

    I didn't know anybody to give him to. I didn't know what to do. That evening after dinner, I loaded Sam in the van, drove him to the local supermarket and tied him to a post in the parking lot. Then I parked several rows away and watched him. I knew someone would take him, so I sat there and sobbed myself dry, even before the man walked up and squatted down next to him. I could see the man's mouth moving as he talked to Sam. Then I saw his eyebrows go up when he noticed the scrap of paper tucked into Sam's collar. He unfolded it and read......

    'My name is Sam. I need flea medication and I have ear mites, but my owners cannot afford to take me to the vet, so if you decide to untie this leash, you better be prepared to assume the expense for my treatment. I am a dam fine dog. I can fetch and retreive and play hide and seek. I can understand english almost as well as you, so you need to talk to me on occasion. I love kids and I will love you too, as long as you love me.'

    The man paused and studied Sam for a moment and then he slowly slipped the peice of paper back in Sam's collar. Then he went into the store. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I had seen the man get out of an expensive SUV, he was well dressed, clearly not poor. Why didn't he take Sam. Why? Was his resume' not good enough? Had I left something out?

    I sat there with my heart in my throat and had just about decided to go get Sam and take him home and figure out something else, when the man returned. He had a woman with him. Together they knelt down and the man handed the woman the note. She read it and then stood and glanced around the parking lot. Women. We know each other. She knew I was there. I sunk down as low in the driver's seat as I could go and still be able to see. I watched, bawling my eyes out as Sam was loaded into the SUV. He seemed a little concerned but went willingly enough. I watched them drive away and then I drove home, crying every single inch of the way.

    I don't know where Sam is now, but I do know that I did the best I could to find him a good home, and in my mind, he's stretched out on a nice brick patio somewhere, in the shade, with healthy ears, and no fleas, and I hope that someday he thinks of us and remembers the good times we had together, and doesn't hold it against me that I couldn't do better by him.
     
  2. chazhound

    chazhound Alpha Dog Staff Member

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    That must have been a very hard thing for you to do :(

    Thank much for sharing this story. Many people just don't understand the unexpected responsiblilities and expenses that can come with having a dog. I am sure he is doing fine and misses your family much.

    Chazhound
     
  3. Cindi

    Cindi New Member

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    He can't miss me anymore than I miss him. He was one of a kind. Thanks Chaz.
     
  4. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Oh, Cindi, how much you must love Sam to have done that for him! I know that left a huge hole in your heart.
     
  5. Cindi

    Cindi New Member

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    A lot of people might say that that was not the best way to find a home for a dog, but I had no other idea what to do. I had three children at my knees, a husband who was working daylight to dark, no family in the state. Just no options. If I gave him to the pound I would not get to see who got him. This way at least I had a little control. If someone tried to take him that I didn't feel 'right' about, I could stop it. I just knew in my heart that those folks would love him. I had nothing but instinct to guide me and my instincts said yes. I may be silly, but I see that note framed and hanging over the fireplace in their home as a conversation piece. Where my story with Sam drops off, theirs picks up...

    'Now let me tell you how we got Sam, it's an interesting story." The man says, a drink in his hand, ice tinkling in the glass as he gestures toward the framed note. "We stopped for groceries and there he was, tied to a post .. ..'

    Okay, I'm a silly old woman. (grin)
     
  6. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I think you're probably right about Sam's story. After all, it took good people to take him in as they did. If someone had just immediately grabbed him up to take him without stopping to consider, well, then you would have reason to step in. I think Sam's letter of introduction told his story and undoubtedly touched something fine in these people. You may have unknowingly made it possible for Sam to fill an empty place in someone's life. Just imagine that you helped Sam fulfill his destiny in life. You'll see him again. He may look out at you years from now in the eyes of a puppy that you know is yours, or in the eyes of a lost or homeless dog that you can't pass by. You will always be richer for the time you had with Sam and he has helped make you the person you are today. Just continue to live by the lessons he taught you and pass on the love he gave you. That is an incredible legacy.
     
  7. Cindi

    Cindi New Member

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    You are so right. There are three dogs that are in my home right now because of Sam. The other four were brought home by someone else (smile). You just can't have too many dogs. :D
     
  8. milo

    milo Labrador lover!!!!!

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    leaving loved ones!!

    hi when i went on hoilday i had to leave my dog and cat behind and i really missed them but when i was on hoilday i phoned the lady who was looking after my dog and cat to see if they were alright!! But when i was on hoilday i bought them a little somthing! :D :D :D
     
  9. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    That's great, Milo. I'll bet you missed them a lot while you were gone, and you know they missed you too!
     
  10. Cindi

    Cindi New Member

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    No other creature in the world (next to humans) can make you feel guilty like a dog can after a long separation. I bet you got the canine third degree. You can leave a cat for a year and come back and find them in the same spot they were laying in when you left. They'll yawn and stretch and say...'you again'?
     
  11. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Not the cats I've had! They've given me silent treatment when I've been gone. My Gonzo was different. It didn't matter if I left for 5 minutes or several hours. When I opened the door he was always sitting right on the other side waiting for me. When he became ill with FIV, I took him to my parents' house while I was at work so he could get his meds on time. I was working a 3-11 shift at the time, and no matter how late I got there to pick him up, he was always sitting on the newell post at the bottom of the stairs, just waiting patiently for me to come for him. I'd pick him up and he would wrap his paws around my neck and snuggle his big head under my chin and purr. On the ride home he lay beside me with his head on my leg.

    I'll miss my Gonzo for the rest of my life.
     

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