final goodbye my boy, my sam.

these words are so incredibly difficult to write.  i want to get all of this down before the emotions fade.  it is all so raw and not quite real.  yesterday, my sweet sam died.  during the time it took me to eat breakfast and take a shower, his life ended.  suddenly, without any known cause, my almost 7 year old pup passed away.

i found him and martha stewart together.  his collapsed body next to hers, with her head resting on his body.  i immediately knew something was terribly wrong.  i ran to my boy but i was too late.  there was nothing that could have been done.  i called my husband, who rushed home.  i called the vet to ask what to do.  i brought martha inside.  there was nothing i could do.  we made the decision to simply have him cremated.  we didn’t want to have him sent off to the vet school in raleigh for an autopsy.  the results aren’t going to change anything.  i just want him, both his spirit and physical body, to be at peace.  the vet suspects an underlying heart condition, probably genetic.  there were no symptoms or behavior changes.  he spent the last four days with both of us home, being his normal, completely happy self.  for this, i am thankful. we were able to say our goodbyes.

i want to share my love for him throughout his life.  i don’t want to remember yesterday, i want to remember his life.

the husband and i had just briefly talked about getting a dog.  he was traveling a good bit for work and i was in undergraduate school.  we had milo, but milo is really the husband’s pet.  i wanted a dog so badly.  when the husband was away for a business trip, i found two golden puppies that were both available.  i called and got his reluctant approval and made the four hour {one way} trip by myself.  i got lost and ended up pulling over at random houses to ask if anyone knew of the golden retriever breeder in town.  small towns for the win, someone finally pointed me in the right direction.  my sam came running up to me first and i brought him home that day.  i had no toys, food, bedding, crate.  i was completely unprepared.  but sam and i managed those first few days and long nights.  just the two of us.

this photo makes me smile for many reasons.  one, this was his first rubber toy.  we still have it.  seriously.  there have been many a toy destroyed between then and now but somehow this one remained in tact.  in fact, it is now martha stewart’s favorite toy.  last night we were removing a few things that were just too hard to have around.  sam’s bed.  his food and water bowl.  but i couldn’t get rid of this toy.  i now think of it as sam’s gift to martha.

looking back at all our photos reminded me how much we loved this little guy.  we took him everywhere.  mountains.  beach.  every lake and pond we could find.  it gives me great comfort looking at how many amazing memories we have together.  we didn’t know his life would be so heartbreakingly short, but i don’t think we would have done anything differently if we had.  we jam packed his life with lots of adventures and belly rubs.  he was loved.

his first trip to the virginia farm immediately after exiting the car he found a mud puddle.  that is my boy.  never saw a body of water he didn’t roll right into.

proof that we owe the blue ridge parkway mountains an apology.  our destructive puppy didn’t read the sign.

more fun at the farm.  there are SO MANY photos of him swimming.  he just loved the water.

he slept in bed with me during a lot of really difficult days. his head on the pillow beside mine.  he accepted my hysterical, tearful face into his chest, with his paws around me, every time i was spirit-broken.  he always knew just when i need to lay down and cuddle into him or when i needed the nose nudges to get out of bed.  he was the only one that knew my deepest, darkest thoughts.  how in pain i was after each loss.  the guilt.  the anger.  he knew my secrets.  my love and responsibility to him kept me here.  truthfully.  in those dark moments i thought everyone else would be okay if i disappeared, but sam.  not sam.  and so i stayed and i tried to get better.  one of the most touching comments sent on facebook was this, “he must’ve known that he got you through the hardest times and that the days ahead will be filled with joy.”

we are doing okay.  i have enough perspective that i know things can always be much worse.  i lose it in moments when i think about how much i wanted him to meet our baby.  so i try not to go there.  not yet allowing that reality to sink in.  it is just too painful.

martha stewart is doing okay.  she definitely is a bit more attached to us, which i don’t mind in the least.  in fact, it is exactly what i need.  we can all use some special treats and extra cuddles in these times, and my sweet girl is no exception.  milo is also getting extra love.  extra cuddles for everyone for the next few days and weeks as our life without sam becomes the norm.

although too short, sam had an amazing life.  he was so incredibly loved and loved us back with everything he had to give.  in the end, nothing else matters.

6 comments
NoticeDirt
NoticeDirt

Oh I'm so sorry for the loss of sweet Sam.  I obviously never met the gentle man but I'm so glad his spirit was added to your "ohana" and without even knowing you, I'm confident the mark he made is indelible.  What a good, good boy.

AllisonGravesKretlow
AllisonGravesKretlow

I am just about bawling through this. We lost our sweet girl Mattie (a corgi mix rescue) after only two years. It was heartbreaking. I couldn't go to work for two days. Not everyone understands how the loss of a pet is so terrible. He did live a happy life. I know Martha Stewart must be sad. Thinking of you all and praying for healing. It did help me to get another dog pretty quickly, but I know everyone is different when it comes to that. Whatever works for you, I hope you get some peace. 

Debmaxroc
Debmaxroc

Your post brought tears to my eyes.  I have 2 pups myself, one is a yellow lab who reminds me so much of your beloved Sam.  I'm glad that Martha Stewart was there to comfort him in his passing.  I believe that dogs are angels and no doubt he is watching over you. 

Lisa Alarcon
Lisa Alarcon

That was a beautiful post Kelsi. Last year when I was pregnant we had to put down our sweet kitty Mischief. Mischief was my baby. I had had her since college and she was always there by my side during the roughest times when no one else was. As bad as it hurt when we lost her, I knew that she left when she knew it was okay for her to go. She knew that I would be okay. As much as I miss her and as sad as I am that she will never meet Nicholas, I know that she is watching over us from heaven, just like Sam will watch over you and your baby.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound emotional but I wanted you to know that I understand your pain and that you are in my prayers. Take care of yourself.

Lisa

Romoda23
Romoda23

That was the sweetest, saddest thing. I'm 22 weeks pregnant reading this and thinking about my almost 9 year old golden retriever. I just live these dogs, they are the best ever. Sam had an amazing life and u were both incredibly lucky to have been in each others lives! Stay strong kelsie and just think of all those happy times u had with him. God bless you and and your baby Sam!

MarkAWilson
MarkAWilson

Kelsi, very well said. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. While I miss Scout every day and think about her every day, she is always with us is spirit and will always be missed. Sam enjoyed a great life with you guys and always knew he was a part of the family. We will miss his greeting every time we visit, but he is still there in many ways.