Sam: My dog, my friend. Some of you may know this, but I had to make the horrific decision to put my beloved dog, Sam, to sleep this week. He’s just turned 15. It’s scheduled for tomorrow morning. Before I talk about my decision, I want to tell you some stuff about him. 1) I didn’t plan on getting him, but when I went to a shelter looking for a missing cat, he was the ONLY dog out of probably 50 that wasn’t ferociously barking at me. No, he was wagging his tail and literally doing flips saying to me, “LOOK AT ME!  I’m AWESOME!"  They told me he could climb chainlink fences, and I said, "Cool, I don’t have chainlink fences.” Not sure why, but I didn’t consider that would mean he could also FLY over six foot fences.  Although annoying, it was actually kind of a thing of beauty.  He literally flew until he was about 11 yrs old. 2) When we moved to Austin and took him to Barton Springs for the first time, he dove in the water and climbed up and out about 20 times.  He was like a 9 year old human boy…and I’m not sure I’ve witnessed such joy in a dog before or since.  When we got home we discovered that he had scraped off the top few layers of skin from the pads of his feet.  I had to carry him out and set him in the yard to go to the bathroom for about 3 days.  But I think even HE thought it was worth it. 3) Whenever he heard me crying, especially after my dad died, he would come sit next to me.  Not do anything else, just sit as close to me as possible. Just watch over me and comfort me. Here’s the deal. I think that most people, when they own a dog, at some point in the dog’s life, think about their death since it’s usually inevitable that they will go first.  And they, or at least me, think they have certain things that will be an indicator as to when it’s time to let their pet go.  Well, for me, Sam has passed every single thing I thought would be my reason.  Then for the last few months, I kept thinking that his personality would change, but that hasn’t happened either.  What HAS happened is his body has given out on him.  Life has become hard for him.  He had adverse reactions to medications that we tried, so in reality, I’ve probably pushed this about 3-6 months too far. For that, I feel guilty and selfish. As I write this, he is sleeping next to me.  I can’t believe he won’t be here at this time tomorrow. I’m not very religious, but I know where he'll be at this time tomorrow: with my dad, at the lake, jumping in over and over again. For that, I feel grateful.

Sam: My dog, my friend.

Some of you may know this, but I had to make the horrific decision to put my beloved dog, Sam, to sleep this week. He’s just turned 15. It’s scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Before I talk about my decision, I want to tell you some stuff about him.

1) I didn’t plan on getting him, but when I went to a shelter looking for a missing cat, he was the ONLY dog out of probably 50 that wasn’t ferociously barking at me. No, he was wagging his tail and literally doing flips saying to me, “LOOK AT ME!  I’m AWESOME!"  They told me he could climb chainlink fences, and I said, "Cool, I don’t have chainlink fences.” Not sure why, but I didn’t consider that would mean he could also FLY over six foot fences.  Although annoying, it was actually kind of a thing of beauty.  He literally flew until he was about 11 yrs old.

2) When we moved to Austin and took him to Barton Springs for the first time, he dove in the water and climbed up and out about 20 times.  He was like a 9 year old human boy…and I’m not sure I’ve witnessed such joy in a dog before or since.  When we got home we discovered that he had scraped off the top few layers of skin from the pads of his feet.  I had to carry him out and set him in the yard to go to the bathroom for about 3 days.  But I think even HE thought it was worth it.

3) Whenever he heard me crying, especially after my dad died, he would come sit next to me.  Not do anything else, just sit as close to me as possible. Just watch over me and comfort me.

Here’s the deal. I think that most people, when they own a dog, at some point in the dog’s life, think about their death since it’s usually inevitable that they will go first.  And they, or at least me, think they have certain things that will be an indicator as to when it’s time to let their pet go.  Well, for me, Sam has passed every single thing I thought would be my reason.  Then for the last few months, I kept thinking that his personality would change, but that hasn’t happened either.  What HAS happened is his body has given out on him.  Life has become hard for him.  He had adverse reactions to medications that we tried, so in reality, I’ve probably pushed this about 3-6 months too far. For that, I feel guilty and selfish.

As I write this, he is sleeping next to me.  I can’t believe he won’t be here at this time tomorrow. I’m not very religious, but I know where he'll be at this time tomorrow: with my dad, at the lake, jumping in over and over again. For that, I feel grateful.