It was February 2002. I took the kids, who were 7 and 10 at the time, to the local “pound” to adopt a Gerbil. I left them in the small animal room that was filled with cages containing mice, gerbils and hamsters, while I wandered the halls. I was shocked by the large number of animals housed in this building. There were dozens of cats and dogs in need of homes.
I kept returning to one dog who was housed in a glass cage at the front of the building. Attached to the front of her cage were many pages of volunteer sheets dating back for several months. These sheets were full of warm praise for the dog that they called “Lady”. She was a mid-sized dog, mostly black with a white bib; a mix of Black Lab and Border Collie.
When my kids finally selected the Gerbil they wanted, we headed to the counter. It was 4:45 pm. They told us that it was too late in the day to adopt the Gerbil because an hour was needed to process the adoption. We drove home full of disappointment and angry words for a policy that seemed overly onerous for the adoption of a small animal.
But that night, I found myself telling Dan about the dog in the glass cage. I told him that she reminded me of the dog, Sam, that lived with him when he was a child. This was surprising because I have never wanted a pet dog. My family had a few dogs when I was young and none of them stayed long because we were incapable of house-training them. Each experience left me with painful and unpleasant memories.
The next day, all four of us drove up to the “pound” together. While the kids re-examined the small animals, I took Dan to see the dog they called Lady. His eyes lit up despite himself. She really did look like his family dog, Sam. We asked to see her in the “visitation room”. The kids were thrilled by this turn of events. Lady pranced with excitement, wagged her tail with her whole body, and greeted each of us with exuberance. We were all enthralled.
That was 11 years ago. Lady, who became Sam in our household, was two years old at the time. She never needed house training. She was terrible on leash but became a dog that did not need a leash. She had a child-like excitement about walks in the conservation area that never lessened with age. She greeted each one of us at the door, every day, with the same enthusiastic tail wagging that marked our first meeting. She wrestled gently with our cat, Cocoa. She was sweet and gentle with the kids. She was friendly with strangers and other dogs. She was a member of the family.
Sam passed away abruptly on June 21st at the ripe age of 13.5. We are missing her….but feeling incredibly grateful for the turn of events that brought her into our hearts and our home 11 years ago.
Gut wrenching and I’m so sorry that you lost her, but at the same time like you said, I’m very happy you found each other. It was obviously meant to be xo
Thanks Zoe…She was a sweet little soul. We miss her but we are happy that she had such a good life, and that all four of us could be with her when she died! Kim
It’s amazing how deeply they can touch our lives isn’t it?! I”m glad you could all be with her too. xo
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What a beautiful, gorgeous, loving dog. So sad to hear of her passing… She will no doubt leave a big space in your hearts and home. But lovely you were blessed with her for so long xo
Thank you Alarna….we feel we were lucky as well!!
Those wonderful pets like Sam become a part of the family and to lose them is just as painful. So grateful for Sam that she found such a loving home and returned that love in kind.
Thanks Marisa…me too!!
Hi KIm, I still can’t read a story about a beloved family pet who has crossed, without crying, thinking of my Max. I hope you guys are all okay. What a beautiful tribute you’ve written to your friend, Sam–and about adopting pets from a shelter. Take care. Love, Pam
Thanks Pam…it is surprising how much they can slip into our hearts! I read the first 8 pages of your book the other night…and felt they were beautiful! Take care…Kim
Thanks, Kim! I appreciate you reading it so much.
HI Pam…I read another few pages tonight…it really is beautifully written. I am going to try to do a few pages each day. Good for you!!! With love
Kim, that means so much to me. You are a writer and an editor! I’m surprised, but happy. Thank you. And I know you will tell me the parts that need work too.Thank you! Pam
a beautiful story of love shared, thank you
Awwww! Kim, wiping tears… such a heart warming story. Lady/Sam was meant to join your family, and how lovely she looked…
We have had several rescue cats .. All gone now…….
Thank you for sharing….. such love is shown back in your photos as I look into Sam eyes xxx
Hi Sue…she really was a sweetie!!
I am catching up on my reading this evening and this is so sad…really sorry, Kim. Our animals are such an important part of our family. Breaks my heart. What a special soul Sam was….hugs to you.
Thanks Beckie….we are missing her!
I’m so sorry Kim. What a beautiful looking dog. Our pets really do become part of the family.
It is so true Sally…My daughter, who is almost 19, was particularly broken hearted to lose Sam, who had been in her life since she was 8. But, we really do feel very lucky that we had so many wonderful years with her!!
Very touching, and quite close to home for me. I very recently lost Nellie, my beloved Border Collie, unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Nellie was also 13 years old, and really a being so very dear to me, such that I could not express it in words.
Thank you….And I am sorry for your loss. It is surprising how attached we can become to our little four-legged friends. Kim
Thank you Kim; Nellie was as much loved by me as would any other family member be. Strictly entre-nous, even more so than some. ;)