"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." – Will Rogers
“Sir Sam the Man of Brookside” aka Sam, Sammy, Goat, Sam-Dog, Super Bat Dog, Samma-Lamma-Beans-Bones and Best Dog in the Whole Wide World passed away late yesterday afternoon at the Pearl Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Lisa (an extraordinarily compassionate young vet), Eddie and I cuddled and caressed him the whole way through. Sam would have celebrated his 17th birthday in August.
We will miss his smiling face and his loyal, sweet, upbeat, furry presence. He was a beloved and constant companion, a member of our family since Max was in kindergarten and Abbie was in 7th grade. Our bed felt very empty last night; he was, without a doubt, the best cuddler ever.
He did not complain these past few weeks, though he suffered from near complete loss of hearing and vision, arthritis and neurological damage to his hind legs and back. He simply stopped eating a few days ago, sending us a sign that it was time for him to go.
Sam used to follow me from room to room as I went about my day. If I had to run downstairs just for a minute to get something from my desk, he made the trip down the stairs with me... just to turn back around and follow me back up (even in his golden years, when it obviously caused him pain to do so). He used to sit at my feet when I worked long hours in the darkroom. Sam was my shadow.
He loved nothing more than sitting in our laps or nestling in the curves of our bodies when we napped or slept at night.
Whenever I was sick, Sam stayed by my side. When I was recovering from breast cancer surgery three years ago, he would only get out of my bed when Eddie lifted him up for a walk or for a feeding.
Sammy loved to have his picture taken, even in the studio. He'd cock his head to one side, sit very still and not flinch at all when the lights flashed. He often tried to get into the family portraits of my clients. On a couple occasions, he wormed his way in, because the youngest member of the family wouldn't stop crying until she got to hold the photographer's cute dog.
Sam was my steadfast, devoted companion, and I'll miss him.