Spencer Samuel-Jackson Pullam Pearson July 14, 1999 - April 13, 2012
We were matched with Spencer in the summer of 2006 when the foster parents of another boston just could not let him go. Looking back on the exchange of emails I had with Pam and Evelyn from those days brought up some wonderful memories and reminded us of how lucky we were that the first adoption fell through. Spencer was a new foster and had not been posted to the website and his foster dad thought he seemed like a sweet older guy, lacking interest in toys or playing, who would be a wonderful low-key match for us. After a few weeks Spencer was on his journey from Atlanta to join us in Northern Virginia. He forever changed our lives on August 12th, 2006.
Spencer turned out to be full of surprises. He arrived in Virginia with a small cut on his head from bumping around in his crate - he was terrified of thunderstorms and hurt himself on the crate right before leaving for VA. This fear turned into some very interesting antics in our house from using the tub as a refuge to deciding his dad’s closet was to become his permanent storm shelter. Our favorite thunderstorm incident was one night, several years ago, when I heard my husband calling from the shower... when I got to the door I was informed that Spencer decided to hop on in.
Spencer also turned out to have some aggression issues, which he unfortunately carried with him until his final days. While difficult for us throughout the years, the way he exhibited this issue earned him his middle name - Samuel Jackson. He was just an adorable little guy, with a tough-guy complex. While he distrusted strangers, he absolutely loved his family, and when our nieces were born we received another wonderful surprise; Spencer had a soft spot for babies. Not only was this a relief, but provided our family many sweet memories of a little dog who loved to curl up next to the girls.
While Spencer was pretty laid back, he would have an occasional burst of non-stop energy. He didn’t like playing with toys very often, but when he did, he would play hard and jump up on surprisingly high furniture. One thing Spencer did during play time that we always thought was adorable and hilarious, was how he would take turns with who could throw his dollies for him. He would almost always go back and forth between my husband and I, as if he wanted to make sure he was fair.
Above all, Spencer’s favorite thing was snuggling us. Anywhere he could squeeze his little body into, he would. He loved burrowing under a blanket until just the tip of his nose was showing and would make the cutest little huffs of frustration when he was having a hard time getting himself situated “just right.” The only other time he would really make this noise was when he was clearly annoyed with us when it was “time to go to bed” and we weren’t ready yet. He would try to collect us when he thought it was too late and usher us up to bed. Usually he would do this on the weekend, and if he decided to give up on us, we could find him sulking at the top of the stairs still secretly waiting. Snuggling Spencer was always a joy, and one of my favorite things was waking up in the middle of the night to see that he had snuck himself up so close that he either had his face on my shoulder, or was using a pillow like a little person. He spent many nights “horse legging” his dad so he’d have some extra room... as if he didn’t have more than his third already. :)
About six months ago we learned that Spencer had a large heart-based tumor and two cancerous nodes on his lungs. We took him to an oncologist hoping to find a way to make sure he was comfortable. We learned of a few options we had, so we decided to give chemo a shot. After several months, the nodes on his lungs were gone. This happy news kept us moving forward, until a blood clot incident in February nearly killed him. This strong and stoic little guy recovered quickly and tried a new type of chemo to attack his heart tumor more aggressively - which shrunk significantly after a month. This news had us incredibly excited and so happy for him. He was acting like himself, playing more than before his blood clot, and very happy. Our main objective was to make sure there was never a moment where his quality of life was in question. He had no issues with the chemo, did not get sick, and always enjoyed food... which he loved with a passion. Even in his final week I caught him trying to steal Easter candy off the dining room table - I’m glad I caught him in time; no peeps for puppies. Unfortunately, a week after our great news about his heart tumor shrinking, Spencer had several very frightening seizures - it turned out that even through treatment, Spencer had grown a large mass on his liver. The news of this untreatable mass was devastating. Luckily Spencer’s last hours were stable and we were able to spend his last moments with him telling him how loved he was and how special he’d made our lives. He passed away in my arms on April 13th, 2012.
Though Spencer’s loss was truly one of the most crushing experiences of our lives, we try to remember that we still have wonderful memories and that his spirit will continue to live on within us. Adopting Spencer taught us of how important rescue is and the incredible amount of love these dogs have to give - we are now rescuers for life.
Comment by SandyP on 2012-05-19 04:02:20 I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Bandit last Sept. after an extensive stay at Auburn ICU. We got involved with rescue on his behalf, and now have adopted one of the rescues. I know your pain and your joy. RIP Spencer, Bandit, and all the other little 4-legged angels.
Comment by Felicia P on 2012-05-20 20:18:50 I still remember the day Spencer surprised me and jumped on my lap when I was typing and sat looking at my computer for a while. It made me feel like he'd finally accepted his strange, interloping Aunt.
Comment by Katherine/
on 2012-05-28 22:22:13 I'm so sorry for your loss. He reminds me of my Boston, Igby, so much it's scary. He seems like he was an amazing dog and I'm sure eternally grateful for what you guys gave him, a loving and secure family.
Comment by Anonymous on 2012-06-04 08:41:28 Oh I am just hearing of this and all the memories of fostering Spencer come back. He was such a sweet unqiue, funny fella. I loved his wall eyed look : ) You guys were such great parents to him and i can tell you guys loved him so much. You gave him the best home and life. I will never forget Mr. Spencer. Rest in Peace little guy... ed
on 2012-06-29 22:58:10 What a blessed dog Spencer was, to be in your home. We've lost two old guys in the past few months, so I understand your pain. I'm also so happy that you realize how important it is to go out and get another rescue! My heart goes out to you!