Dear Our Samantha,

Samantha,

From the first moment momma brought you home and I saw you, I knew there was something different about you. You were a rescue, roaming the streets in search of a warm and loving place to call home; a furry bundle of gray and two large eyes with their sights set on treat treats and kisses. At first I thought I was a kid with a new dog. But over the years we had together, I came to realize that your love and companionship made me so much more in return.

You were fresh air in our home, and as momma and I began to adapt our lives to the joy you brought in, I somehow stepped into a role.

Not of your master…but of your Bubba. The nickname stuck and grew on me with time.

Now I can’t imagine it any other way.

The early years are still fresh enough in my mind. We introduced you to your sister Queenie. I’m sure the both of you spend a lot of time together now. We took you for walks…or rather, you took us. No leash or obstacle could keep your enthusiasm or sense of adventure repressed. There was your first car ride, sparking your imagination and your nose to incredible worlds of sniffs and flight. The first time we arrived at Sonic, quickly becoming your kind of joint…and the inevitable, exponential fascination and love of treat treats. The sky was the limit, you were never too picky. Burgers, Chicken, Pasghetti…you lived by your stomach, ever loyal to keeping it nearly as happy and full of joy as you did for us.

There were the adventures we shared…both fun and scary. Surviving your flying leap from the back porch without injury was the stuff of legend, proving that you were, in fact, a Super-Pup. There was the scare of that horrible foam you coughed, the notorious drowning; I had never been more terrified in my life. It was in that moment, rushing barefoot to get you to the vet with no concern for myself, that we became more than a boy and his dog. Your life rested in my hands, furry and frail. As I sat in the office, panting and clawing for breath just as you did, Dr. Humphries told me any longer and you wouldn’t have made it…and I can only hope I did you proud. It was on that day that we became true family…and you inspired me to love without condition, to sacrifice and defy the odds to save you.

After that, we played it safe. Our misadventures turned to the priority of beginning to grow older together.

Day after day, you dutifully escorted me throughout my life…to High School, to College, to Work. Even in the early hours, when you needed your beauty rest, you were always there…ready to dance for me as my DART train flew by.

And you were always a joker, weren’t you. You left ‘Sammichs’ under my bed. You got chased off by your own pooters. I walked into the kitchen, getting some napkins for a dinner of hot dogs only to find mine pulled off its plate…being sucked into a certain mustard-stained muzzle. Sometimes it was downright intolerable.

But you were a smooth one. Just a tilt of the head and some kisses were enough to melt me, though some of those kisses smelt an awful lot like ketchup.

As with the passage of time, it began to take its shots and its tolls on you.

Eventually, I became the one leading you by the leash. Walks became little more than just going to the bathroom as you started to prefer taking it easy. Instead of running in the park, we drove by it. And slowly but surely, life took its turns further.

Your eyes went from an innocent black to a milky shade. Perhaps it was the memories of all you’d seen and experienced, showing through the windows to your loving soul. I think that sounds a lot better than Cataracts. You became so much of a princess; you decided the stairs weren’t good enough for you as we scooped you up. I think that sounds better than your back legs becoming weak with muscle loss.

Momma and I adapted when you came into our lives…and eventually, there came a point where you adapted with us again. You went from an earnest, rambunctious pup to a loving, tender old girl.

But you still had some pep in your final years.

When the wheels came into the picture, WOW…it was like you couldn’t be stopped.

The Buggie gave you a second wind. Your spirit was fueled and there was nowhere those four wheels couldn’t take you. The sunshine, the fresh breeze, the warm towels giving you cushioning; the sidewalks were your domain…a princess being escorted around her kingdom by your loyal momma and bubba.

But as with all good things, there came a time for us to say goodbye.

Rather than your final sight being us in distraught sadness, you chose to leave in solitude. I can’t imagine what you were thinking in the stillness of that night. I don’t believe your decision was selfish, made simply out of a need to finally be done with the pain your body felt. I think you sat there, watching me sleep, thinking about your momma down the hall…and you thought for a while whether or not it was the time. What would we think? Would we miss you? Would we question why you had to leave?

And eventually, after spending your night pondering…you just became tired.

You took one of your big lion yawns, you set your head down upon the blankets. And you decided it was for the best that you go to sleep. You had earned a good sleep.

The morning was painful. In many ways it always will be. Your passing showed us the choices we should’ve made differently to make your life even better. To make it the life you truly deserved. You were a princess…and we can only hope now that you’re in a place where you’re royal title is recognized properly.

Momma’s taken your choice hard. But just when I think she can’t keep going, her spirits get lifted…and wouldn’t you know it Sammie, they’re always lifted in the presence of your friends. Her love of doggies and kitties has swelled and every time it happens, I think you have something to do with it. You’re sitting with her, watching over as you’ve always done.

And it’s times like this when I realize that you were never a rescue in the slightest. That’s what was different about you all along.

You were on that street, picked up by that human and brought into that office for a purpose.

Momma didn’t rescue you.

You rescued us.

You saved us from apathy…from looking the other way…from thinking only of ourselves, of our own species.

You opened our eyes and our minds and our hearts to loving animals…so much so that saying goodbye has urged us to be the best we can be when the time comes to bring another little boo into our lives. You made us more than ‘Jill’ and ‘Chas’…you made us a Momma and a Bubba, capable of tapping into the part of our souls that only a four legged angel could show us the path to.

You are our angel, Samantha. Even though you’re gone, that fact has never and will never change.

You left this life without the ability to walk…you entered the next with the ability to fly.

Whenever we feel a warm feeling in our hearts…a silent presence like a kiss up our nose or a paw on our head or a furry belly rubbing on our leg…we’ll look up…and we’ll know.

Keep flying, Sammie. We’ll be together again.

Love,

Bubba and Momma


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