I know that many of you have already read this tribute to my much loved Bridge dog Sam Bear, but I don't keep my writing and I didn't want to lose this one. Sam was a Very Special Dog. Very special to us all. Thanks for reading about him.
Sam was my first dog. He was very patient with me as I learned to train and care for a dog. He never quite got the hang of walking at heel, he tended to bound down the street towing me along in his wake. He LOVED to go for "frisks" as we called our walks, and would run to get his leash when he heard the word frisk. He smiled. The way his face was arranged it looked as if he had a permanent grin on his face.
Sam was gentle and loving. He had the softest ears of any animal I've ever met, and he loved everyone without reservation. Sam was a neighborhood fixture riding in my car with his big doggie head hanging out the passenger side window, seeming to smile at everyone we passed. People would always smile in return, he just looked so darn happy. He loved grilled chicken. He would sit next to the table and drool like a garden hose when we had that for dinner. We always shared. He hated to have his feet touched. He would bark fiercely, but the whole time his tail was wagging happily. It was handy when someone came to the door - I would grab his foot to make him bark, then tell the person I didn't know if I could hold back the dog. I just had to hide the wagging tail from them.
Sam loved turtles. He didn't eat them, he apparently wanted one for a pet. He was always coming to the door with one in his mouth. The turtles would be squeezed tightly inside their shells looking quite annoyed as we freed them. Sam was an A Number 1 turtle finder.
His favorite place in the world was our house in North Carolina. He seemed to sense when we were on our way there and got SO excited. When the time would come to leave he would often dash down and sit in the middle of the creek, hoping I suppose that we wouldn't put a soaking wet dog into the car. Then he would howl mournfully all the way down the mountain when we did. He and Mike would hike for hours there. Sam would bound off following his nose towards an interesting smell, but would always circle back to show Mike that he was still right there. Sometimes he would flush out a nest of grouse and bark with delight at his find. He had a corner of the deck where he loved to sit with his muzzle resting on the cross bar to watch the world go by. He's still there. His urn, wrapped in his bright red bandanna, and the headstone carved by my father in law are in his corner to this day.
Sam died of cancer. He had a very aggressive form of nasal sarcoma. It was inoperable, and there was no treatment that would have provided him with any quality time. We chose to let the disease take it's course. We took our cues from Sam Bear. His nose would often bleed, his breathing became labored, but through it all his banner of a tail wagged at us, and he still seemed to have that smile on his face. The day came however, when he let us know that it was his time. We all went to the vet's office, Mike, Rob and I. I sat on the floor and Sam rested his head in my lap, Mike and Rob knelt behind us. He looked up at me with his big, trusting brown eyes and seemed at peace. We all cried when that harsh, labored breathing stopped, even the vet.
Sam Bear was a true gift. There could not have been a better dog to have for your very first, and I will never forget him. Rest in peace Sam Bear. You have been, and continue to be, greatly loved.
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