I adopted “Spot” in March 2005. Since “Spot” was too boring and completely unimaginative for a dog with his personality I renamed him “Sam”. When Sam joined me he was twenty pounds or so underweight, walked with a limp, developed a skin infection which caused a lot of his fur to fall out, and had yeast infection in his ears. Thanks to Dr. Rogers at Plano Animal Medical Center on Coit and Spring Creek he quickly recovered from the infections. Eating regularly helped him bulk up to his proper Bulldog weight and thus he became “Big Sam” or “Sam The Dog”. While the limp never cleared up he enjoyed walks, tug of war, and wrestling. He had such wonderful disposition and never met anybody he didn’t like. When I took him to his first yearly checkup it was discovered he had stage two heartworms. My vet told me there is a short period of time after a dog is infested when it won’t test positive. Evidently Sam was turned over to Bulldog Rescue during this time frame. Although there were a few touch and go moments, he made it through the treatment and completely recovered. In February 2007 shortly before his yearly checkup I noticed two nodules in his neck next to this throat. When I took him in for his checkup I pointed them out to Dr. Rogers. Her suspection of lymphoma cancer was confirmed by a biopsy. After much soul searching and discussion with friends, I decided to euthanize him rather than stretch his life out with medicine that would treat but not cure the cancer. Over the next six weeks I made his life as comfortable as possible – two daily walks, generous servings in his food bowl, extra treats, and letting him sleep in my bedroom in spite of his snoring.
On Friday, April 6, 2007, I took him on his final trip to the vet. I held him as she gave him the first shot to relax him and cried as she gave him the second shot to stop his heart and breathing. While the form I held him my arms looked like Sam The Dog, I knew it wasn’t him anymore. The Sam I knew was gone.
He was cremated and his ashes sit on a shelf in my study. They don’t do justice to the great companion he was to me for the two short years we shared. Every time I think of him I remember the line from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song “Mr. Bojangles” which goes: “His dog up and died/up and died/After twenty years he still grieves”. There will never be another dog as great as Sam The Dog.