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Sammy came to our home on Memorial Day weekend 2008 – we had just very recently lost our tiny little girl Tink and I wasn't looking for another dog, didn't want to adopt, didn't want to foster – nothing was further from my mind than a new dog – but I got the call from ABTR that they needed an emergency, very temporary foster home for a little guy named Sammy – I said yes, but only for a few days… come to find out Sammy really needed me and I sure needed him too.

I met Evelyn at the Arby’s on 85 and Indian Trail to pick him up. He was WILD!!! All my other Boston’s had been very calm and quiet car riders, not Sam; he was all over the place. We got home without incident and it was quickly obvious that he had little, if any, experience being in the house.

The days turned into weeks and I kept waiting for Sammy to get a more permanent placement but nobody really wanted him. He was an older dog with poor eyesight and not very manners – it wasn't going to be easy to find him a home. It took me a little time to realize time that Sammy was home. We ended up having almost four whole years with Sammy. I came to believe that Sam had never been touched by humans, never loved or cared for by any person, that he had lived his whole life in a cage and had never been anyone’s pet or companion. 

We went along pretty well for a while. We took in three other Boston’s (Daisy, Max and Molly all in one week in October 2008, believe it or not!).  Sammy learned to be part of our pack – he was our little special needs guy. He always got along with any dog he ever met and he learned the routine in our house and got some better manners. Really, all he needed was a little love – he had so much to give back, he just never knew that’s how it worked because nobody had ever been nice to him before. We discovered that he loved his soft turtle from his Aunt Judy and squeaky toys!!  Sammy couldn't see the toys very well but he could sense that they bounced and made noise. It was one of the very best simple pleasures in my life to watch this little dog that had never know any joy in his life play with a silly squeaky toy!!

We discovered he had three teeth worn down with the nerve exposed (Dr. Miller said this was extremely painful but Sammy never complained), he ended up having nine teeth extracted. Sammy came to us with bad cataracts and in October 2012 his glaucoma got bad and he lost all sight in his left eye. Dr. Winston recommended that we remove it, so we did. Sammy made a great pirate! After this surgery Sammy became a sweet, loving, cuddling fella, almost a total personality change.  He was loving before but in sort of a standoffish way, now he just wanted to be in your lap all the time! He developed some pretty severe respiratory issues and ended up with pneumonia three times and on preventative medication including a twice daily inhaler to prevent respiratory complications. He kept right on, never letting his challenges knock him down – I frequently referred to him as my little weeble who wobbled but didn't fall down…

Three weeks ago Sam got an ulcer in his right eye – it got terribly bad almost immediately, despite our quick treatment of it. There was no way to save the eye and we had to have it removed. The surgery went well and we thought things were going to be ok; we were all totally up for learning to have a blind dog.  Unfortunately Sammy got a terrible case of pneumonia about 10 days after surgery – it was much worse than he had ever had before– we treated it very aggressively with IV antibiotics and oxygen but sadly we had to let Sam go to The Rainbow Bridge last week. 

The Sunday before Sammy died was a bright, beautiful, warm and sunny day.  Peter, Ben, Phoenix and I took Sam outside in the front yard and he had a big adventure – walking and exploring everywhere! He was bold, fearless and happy – being blind was no bother to him and I think he would have adjusted well. I will forever be grateful that we had that happy last day with him as he explored his new world.

Sammy taught me so much –

·         about faith – that you can always believe, even after bad things have happened to you

·         about perseverance – that  you should never give up because you have no idea what great thing might be just around the corner waiting for you

·         about trust – that you can find good in the world, even after you've had a bad experience

·         about LOVE – no matter what’s happened to you in your life, there is always a chance for more love and that by opening your heart to the possibility, you can love and be loved and that love truly can change your life…


We loved the Sammy-Man  the very best that we could and he loved us back, even when maybe he shouldn't have (based on his past experiences) – he was trusting, loving and believing every single minute that he was ours, we are so blessed to have had him.

I am so grateful to ABTR and to all of the awesome volunteers that keep us going so that we can give all the little creatures we rescue a chance at a happy life.

I am very appreciative for all of the excellent care that Sammy received from Dr. Kathleen Diehl and the entire staff at Duluth Animal Hospital and the VCA Animal Emergency Care Center of Gwinnett and Dr. Winston and her staff.

Mostly I thank my family, Peter, Ben and Phoenix, for sharing my love of our canine babies and for all their help and support. I couldn't have the puppies if they weren't in it with me.

 I especially thank Peter for all his help while Sammy was so sick and for taking such good care of me afterwards.


User Comments

Comment by Tara P on 2013-04-12 20:43:18
I am so sorry for your loss. This memorial was a beautiful testament to how deeply you loved him. His ability to flourish with your family proves how much your love meant to him - you gave him a new - wonderful - life. :-)
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