Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Almost 9 years

I will spare you my "I love my dog" speech.  (Feel free to check out my insane love for all of my dogs as chronicled on this blog.)  I know everyone loves their pets--as they should!  But my love for my dog Sampson goes beyond wagging tails, sloppy kisses, and long walks.  Sampson makes me who I am as a person--I don't care if I sound crazy (since I'm pouring my heart out and all).  And my love for him goes deep...into my bank account.  I cannot even fathom the amount of money we have spent on this dude.  Sometimes, I think of all of the things I could have if he wasn't so expensive.  But then, I realize I don't care.  He is worth every penny--hell, I can't even count pennies with him anymore because that unit of measurement is too small--he's worth ever hundred--every thousand--that has been put into his care.  (My husband may or may not agree with me fully.)  After losing our Angel-girl a few years ago, I KNEW that we would continue to do everything within our means to give Sampson every healthy, happy day he has in him.  The only solace I got from losing Angel was that I knew we went to every length humanly possible to give her the life she deserved to live from the day we brought her home from the boxer rescue.

Today, we went back to Sampson's integrative medicine doctor at UT.... 

Sam the Man riding shotgun to the vet
It was an amazing visit.  I am so scared to even give too many details because I'm a bit superstitious and seriously scared of jinxing things.  Let's just say that both the doctor and I teared up as I left--with happy, proud tears.  Sampson, God-willing, will turn 9 next month.  There was a time I did not believe he would make it this long.  No, I'm not living in a fantasy world that he will live FOREVER and I know (as hard as it is to think about) his natural lifespan is reaching a limit quicker than I would like.  But "9" means so much to me right now.  Along this journey, there were procedures and medicines I almost did not try for him because I worried it was a lost cause.  It wasn't. He's still here. Before his exploratory surgery, I made a deal with him.  If he promised me he would keep on fighting while he could AND if he promised to let me know when he wasn't ready to fight anymore so I would KNOW when he was ready to go, I would do my best to give him all the care he needed and give him a walk most days (even if it's a short one).  So far, he's kept up his end of the bargain--and I have continued his top-notch care and done mostly a good job in the walk department (with LOTS of help from Buzz).  He's amazing. Even his doctor today said he is different from other Boxers in 1. that he is not dumb as a box of rocks and 2. his sensitivity.  He has emotions and feelings--he has empathy, I swear.  He is just the best.

I feel like dogs have the ability to bring out the best in people.  Somehow, at least for me, they have the ability to literally touch my soul.  In the past almost 9 years, Sampson has been by my side for all of the changes, ups and downs, military life-issues (including moves, deployments, various separations), newlywed issues, motherhood issues, graduate school issues.  You name it, he has been there.  He has shown me unconditional love and friendship every step along the way.  He has taught me so many things (including a lot of medical terminology and how to squeeze the most out of a dollar).  He has been the sloppy kiss when I needed it most but least expected it, given me a kidney bean dance when I needed a partner with whom to celebrate, and been a silent shoulder when I needed a friend to listen or just to be there.  He's watched over my daughter when she's been sick or sad.  He's licked away the tears of every one of my family members.  He has truly warmed my heart on so many levels.  I can't find the words to adequately pour my heart out beyond these words written by Richard Biby:

From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up, it's just a dog," or, "That's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent or the costs involved for "just a dog."

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog."

Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog," but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog," and, in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it's "just a dog," then you will probably understand phases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise."

"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.

"Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person.

Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

So for me, and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a human."

So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog," just smile....because they "just don't understand."

I used to care when people thought I was crazy for going what they considered to be "overboard" for my dogs.  But the past nearly nine years have thickened my skin to others' words on the topic.  Now, I just don't care.  These almost 9 years have taught me so much about myself and the world around me--not only through Sampson, but just in the path which my journey has taken me.  Having him by my side has certainly made it all better.  Cheers to my 8 and11/12 year old Sampson, who is SO much more than "just a dog."


  1. LOVE this!! I've had a few dogs I felt this way about in my life...they all hold a special place in our hearts!! Hope Sampson is by your side for years to come!