A month or two after my husband and I got married in 2008, we were enjoying our coffee on a sunny Saturday morning when Raj suggested that we go take a look at puppies.
“We’re just looking; we don’t have to get one today,” he said.
I thought it would be fine to just go and take a look. We excitedly hopped in the car, eager to check out our options for a sweet new puppy. When I saw this one, it was love at first sight. She was just the most precious pup I had ever seen, and when the employees at the pet store took her out of her crate to spend time with us, all she did was sit in my lap and lick my hand. It was the sweetest thing ever. I had to have her.
“Would you like to keep her?” Raj asked.
How could I say no? And put her back in that tiny, smelly crate? I don’t think so. I was already attached. So, we bought our first little baby. Since she was a girl, Raj said it was really important that she not have a “prissy” name.
He explained, “I don’t want to be running through the park screaming for ‘Fluffy’ or ‘Princess’ to come to me.”
I, on the other hand, love feminine names, so we decided on “Samantha,” and “Sammie” for short. Raj loved the name Sam because it is the name of Tiger Woods’ kid. So, we were both satisfied. We were now a family of three! This was taken on the night that we brought her home.
Looking back, we weren’t super responsible about doing research before finding a puppy, and we went to a pet store instead of a shelter or breeder. The puppies were all “registered”…but certainly not by the AKC. They were registered through some phony organization whose headquarters had no contact information and couldn’t be found. We were so upset to learn that Sammie had most likely come from a puppy mill.
Two weeks after bringing her home, we had some scary incidents occur. She was walking into walls (aka “head pressing”), wouldn’t eat her food, and just seemed lethargic in general. When she started foaming at the mouth, we had no other choice than to rush her to the emergency vet one evening. Very scary stuff. They diagnosed her as having a liver shunt, which could be managed with either a surgery which would have cost thousands and wasn’t guaranteed to work, or by making changes to her diet. It was a congenital issue which existed most likely because she was from a puppy mill. We called the company that sold her to us, and they told us to just “bring her on back and pick out another puppy.” I was shocked. Sammie was already our baby; we couldn’t just take her back, knowing that she would be euthanized. We decided that we would do the best we could to take care of her and make sure she had a happy life.
As we didn’t have the budget for the surgery option, we had to go with option 2. The solution for her was a lot of low-protein, high-carb foods, and her favorites were rice, yogurt and sweet potatoes. Thankfully, this worked for over 3 years.
The 3 years she was with us were such wonderful years. We truly treated her like our child. She slept in our bed (don’t judge!). She went on vacations with us. Because she was pretty small even as a full-grown dog, it was relatively easy to do this.
Here she is at the beach, one of my all-time favorite pictures of her.
This was from Christmas in 2008.
And Christmas in Texas, the following year…
This shot captures her personality perfectly…she was a mischievous little one, but we could never stay mad at her. The bathroom in our basement was being remodeled, and of course she wanted to sniff around down there. She made her mark in the wet cement. She seems to be saying, “Who, me?”
One of her favorite activities was terrorizing the cat. You can see her just waiting for the cat to jump off the bed in this picture.
Although this is my birthday month and I have so much to be thankful for in 2013, Raj and I still talk about Sammie and miss her very much. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of her death. She went very suddenly, and, we hope, painlessly. I am so glad that she had a wonderful life, although it was cut short because of her congenital condition. We are still so sad that she will never be Grayson’s “first dog” growing up, as we had hoped. We also aren’t ready to get another dog, but when we do, we are planning to adopt one from a shelter or a responsible breeder.
She changed our lives for the better in so many ways, and, I believe, made our marriage stronger. As people who aren’t big on exercising, we never would have thought to just go outside to get some fresh air and take a nice walk. Sammie taught us to do that. Yes, it’s just a walk…but more importantly, it’s the act of spending quality time together that was so beneficial for us. She helped us to get off the couch and play, and spend more time enjoying the outdoors, because that’s where Sammie was happiest. She taught us so very much about responsibility and life in general, and we’re so thankful for the time we had with her.
We love you and miss you, Sweet Sammie Girl.
Easter in D.C., 2009.
*I don’t have any Grayson cuteness pictures for today, but you can go here, here and here to see how much he has grown.