Sammy heading to shore… and returning to boat
Boating Dog: My first boat dog, Sammy, deserves a lot more recognition than I can give him in one short (or longish) post. His passion was the lake and boating. If the traffic was heavy on the way to the lake, he ran back and forth whining, trying to encourage me to go faster. Like Lexi, he always knew what it meant when the boat bag got packed. On one occasion — as we were walking along the dock, heading to the car — a couple of pretty young ladies passed us on the way to their boat. Without missing a beat, Sammy made a U turn and walked beside them, staring up at them as he went. I believe the expression is, “You dog, you!” He always did prefer women over men.
Adoption Story: In 1991, four identical six-month-old pups were brought to the vet hospital where I worked in for us to try to find them homes. We didn’t normally do this, but this lady was a good client, and the pups were just so darn cute. At the time, all we had was a one and a half year old schnauzer, Freda. I thought it would be good for Freda to have a friend, and for my 12-year-old son to have his own dog. He picked one out and home we went. I suggested the name Sammy after a dog who lived down the street from me when I was a child, and the name stuck. Or Samuel Joseph whenever he was in trouble.
And the Rest: Sammy didn’t shed, he got ear infections, and he bayed like a beagle. With these and other characteristics, I had him pegged as a schnauzer/cocker spaniel/beagle/+ mix. He was a great help in keeping my side of the bed warm until I joined him. Then he kept my back warm while I spooned Freda. For years we slept all night like that, me the bologna and the dogs the bread.
Sam’s favorite trick — especially when I had company — was his “Grand Entrance.” He would nonchalantly exit the living room and stroll down the hallway to the bedroom. You could almost hear him saying, “La ti da de da de da. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m not doing anything.” He would wait about ten seconds before galloping back to the living room and spinning around 180 degrees, landing with his legs spread, his head high and an open-mouthed grin. It was easy to picture him shouting, “Ta daaaaa!” This never failed to bring smiles, laughter and applause. I could also prompt him by suggesting he do an Entrance. He would act like he hadn’t heard me, wait a few minutes, then head down the hall. In his mind, it always had to be a surprise, or it wasn’t any good.
Sammy loved to wear clothes. I discovered this when I put one of my son’s outgrown T-shirts on him and he walked around making sure everyone saw his new duds. He had a strong sense of self and always strutted proudly after a groom. It was as if he was saying, “Look at me! I am as good as my schnauzer sister!”
During this time I had a thriving grooming and boarding business in my home. Sammy made friends with most of the boarders, some of whom are shown above, eating cake on his birthday. Sammy is in the middle wearing his Independence Day scarf. This same year, Sammy was diagnosed with cancer. I assisted in the surgery while the vet removed a large tumor from Sammy’s abdomen. She flushed and flushed his abdomen with sterilized water, swishing it around with her gloved hand, while I sucked it out with a pump. She was trying to wash away any loose cancer cells. With this type of cancer, he was only given three months to live. All the prayer warriors went to work. He made a good recovery from the surgery, but the strangest thing happened. His personality totally changed. While still the sweet, loving dog we had always known, he suddenly became happier and fearless. It was as if he was thumbing his nose at death, as if he was saying, “I’m ready to live!” He was happier than I had ever seen him.
The next year, a young adult German Shepherd named Ara entered our lives and home. Ara and a very much alive and healthy Sammy soon became fast friends.
Freda the schnauzer was always in charge. Sammy never even tried to say, “You’re not the boss of me!” I was soon to lose Freda, at age 11, to complications of Cushing’s disease, from which she had been blind since she was five.
Below is the last picture I have of my sweet Sam looking healthy. He was ten here, and still cancer-free.
The following year, two years after his first bout with cancer, he was diagnosed with a different type of malignant tumor.Sammy celebrated his last Christmas in 2002 with a new Teddy Bear sweater. He was so proud to wear it!
I was to lose him before the new year. Remembering you with love, my dear boy, my Sweet Sammy. ❤