Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Sadness...Goodbye Tears...In Memory

Yesterday evening, we had to say goodbye to our first doggie. Sam (yes...I know... a boy's name for a girl dog) was our first dog and she was our "guinea pig," bless her heart. But she was patient and a good doggie. Her only fault was that she had some aggression possession issues, and if she considered something hers, she meant to KEEP IT!
So we learned over time to adjust and work through that shortcoming in her.

We acquired Sam on New Year's Day in a Toys-R-Us parking lot. Katie and I had made a run to Barnes and Noble close to our house just to see if they might per chance be open on the Holiday. We saw a bunch of yellow and black pups on a blanket in front of the shopping center off of Independence Blvd. Throwing caution to the wind, we went back to "just look." We had all been wishing for a doggie to join our family, even Kurt.
Sam and her siblings were all being sold by a family obviously wanting to "get rid of them." We paid a big $25. pricetag for a dog that was part lab and "part wolf"...(say what????) and a bunch of other who knows what???... .She no doubt had a genealogy of a melting pot of mixed breed ancestors.

Kurt was very surprised. WE drove up in the driveway, and when he walked out we handed Sam through the van window to him, and said Happy Birthday Late...(Dec. 30) and he went out to the bench in the front yard and held that little pup that could fit in one of his hands for quite a while.

Sam was only about 4 weeks old, (not 6.5 weeks like the woman said.) She couldn't even lap milk and was nowhere near ready to eat dog food, even though she was "weaned to Gravy Train". (NOT) WE got puppy formula and a bottle, and bottle fed her while teaching her to lap up the milk and get used to softened puppy food.

Well, that little half-pint grew up to over 85 pounds. She had a HUGE trunk/abdomen, very small legs, and a very small head for her body. She had health problems, weighed too much (and could never lose weight), and had hip problems early on, calling for supplements. She started turning grey-muzzled at 4.

But we loved her anyway. She was called "Piggy" and "Monkey."

It was hard this last week to see her get so sick, and it was even harder to let her go. She is a part of the fabric making up our continuing life quilt. Her "square" is finished in the story of our family's journey, and she added much color to our lives. She taught us much about dogs, (being our first) and taught us much about ourselves, even our character.

We will miss her. Much... Now we will have to tell Justin when he gets home from Parris Island. I'm sure this will be sad for him, as he has not seen her since January. He will miss seeing her greet him when he returns. He was the first one to ever start walking Sam and used to take her on the longest treks through the park. Justin is the one responsible for us starting and staying consistent in our nightly walks with the puppers. I am grateful for that.

God is good. He gave us animals to share life with us as we walk on this earth. They are wonderful and beautiful creatures. Our God is an amazing Creator. Just by being and acting upon instinct and doing what they were created to do, these beasts give glory to God, praising, honoring, and showcasing HIS awesome power, creativity and His infinite wisdom.

We should always be good stewards of such gifts God has presented to us. Our animals and "pets" make our lives just a little more colorful and give us moments of happiness as they are teaching us.

And so we say goodbye to our beloved SAM. She is buried in the backyard with Annie Grace, and if we continue to live in this house, I'm sure more precious pets will join them as the years pass.

Do you have a pet? Love them, appreciate them for the part they play in your daily life. Recognize that they are making history with you, your family history, and giving precious memories while they are still here.

{We, as a family make mention of our wonderful vets, Drs. Walker and Anne Meadows, at Matthews Animal Clinic in Matthews, who helped us immensely and gently through the process of letting go of Sam. They are awesome people and we honor them. }

Wall of Honor: Sam and Annie's retired collars and tags at far right, along with former foster dog's collars.

From one unashamed "animal lover"... to another. :-)




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