At the relatively young age of just twelve years and ten months, Sam has left Pearl and I on our own to continue on this trip. After a week of being in obvious pain, two trips to the vet to try and find a solution for that pain, I made the decision to let her her go, to suffer no more.
Though I have been through this nine times in the past, most recently with Jenny, just a little less than two years ago, it doesn’t get any easier with experience. Sam has had breast tumors, fatty or cancerous undetermined, for the past couple of years and has also experienced back problems a couple of times in the past.
A week ago, she acted like her back was out again, not wanting to move, and in obvious pain. Medications would help and bring her out of it for a few hours each day, but the majority of her time was spent hunched up and unwilling to move. Trying to get pills down her her throat would often get her screaming in pain when forcing her mouth open. After several days of hoping to see some progress in coming out of this as she usually would do when her back went out, it became evident that this was most likely not just her back being thrown out, and perhaps was a matter of cancer spreading through her body.
I always feel guilty about these decisions, trying to determine what is best for the dog, continuing to search for a possible way to extend life, and forcing her to deal with more pain, or ending her suffering when perhaps there could be a solution to the problem. Whichever way I go, I am always afraid I may have made the wrong choice.
Sam and Jenny were buddies for eleven years and seemed to very much enjoy the move from the house in New Hampshire to our mobile dwelling over five years ago.
The two were all but inseparable and truly enjoyed exploring new sights, sounds, and smells along the road.
Really not a terrible life for a dog that enjoys being with their owner pretty much 24 hours a day, every day of their life.
Sam never knew what a dog collar or leash felt like as she was perfectly trained by Jenny ( and a little by myself ) to always obey voice or hand commands, would always walk right on my heel when we were in parking lots or truck stops and would never think to get out of the car or RV without being told it was OK to do so. She was a very intelligent dog. My only complaint was that she left Pearl on her own a little too soon, she didn’t get to finish her training of the now Six month old pup, leaving the rest up to me, I suppose.
Sam only had about 18 months of being top dog, actually only dog, after Jenny’s passing. With my own diagnosis of an incurable cancer last year, her presence meant a lot to me, as I went through chemo and had someone there to come back to after each session.
She was always a loyal and faithful little dog, with just one exception, when I volunteered at a Fish and Wildlife Birding Station in Salineno, Texas one winter. There, she developed an infatuation with Merle, leaving me the impression that she might choose to go live with him, until Merle and Lois adopted a large Labrador and Sam decided that Jenny and I would actually be a better home for her after all.
Just four short months ago, Pearl joined us while we were in Arkansas and Sam instantly adopted her as part of the family. Though at twelve definitely a senior citizen, Sam would rough house with her, watch over her, share anything but dog treats with her, and was slowly teaching her the ropes ( by example, of course ) of how to get along with their crotchety old owner.
A wonderful little dog that I believe did live a good life, but left way too soon. Both Pearl and I miss her terribly.