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Tribute to A Best Friend

Sunlight streams through window pane
Unto a spot on the floor…
Then I remember,
It's where you used to lie,
But now you are no more.
Our feet walk down a hall of carpet,
And muted echoes sound…
Then I remember,
It's where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road,
And up beyond the hill,
Then I remember it can't be yours…
Your golden voice is still.
But I'll take that vacant spot of floor
And empty muted hall
And lay them with the absent voice
And unused dish along the wall.
I'll wrap these treasured memorials
In a blanket of my love
And keep them for my best friend
Until we meet above.

  Author unknown

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July 9th, 1997 - October 9th, 2002

Healthy and at peace at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for

Jim, Ellen, Katie, Casey and Sissy

 

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In September of 1997, my daughter & I rescued a 3-week old puppy,
Sierra, and since she was so young, we each took her to work with us 2 days
per week.  She soon didn't want to stay in her little kennel at work, so
taking her with us was no longer possible.   She was incredibly lonely, with
just my grumpy, older dog (a 12 lb. poodle mix) and our cats while we were
at work.  Sierra is a Chocolate Lab-mix, and was extremely rambunctious as a
pup.  We lived in a town home, with no yard, but I had, probably unwisely,
decided people in New York City apartments had large dogs, and it would e
good for me to have to walk every day.  So, I decided to get Sierra a kennel
mate.  I wanted a dog that she couldn't hurt with her playful aggressiveness
and one without a reputation for biting people.  A Labrador retriever
sounded good to me...  I looked in a news paper that had been left lying on
the counter at work.  One of the girls wanted a Rottweiller puppy.  There
was an ad for Labrador pups, and I called.   They had been born Oct. 1,
1997, and there was one puppy left.  I went to see...  It was love at first
sight.  I just couldn't see why the most beautiful puppy was the last one
left!

      I brought Samuel Chewbaca Weatherwax, a very large bundle of shiny,
black, cuddly love, home just before Thanksgiving 1997.  He seemed like a
pretty large puppy compared to Sierra, who was now about 3 months old, and
he was only 7 weeks, but the vet thought he would be about 75 lbs.  He was
wrong!...  I had a hard time keeping Sam's weight down to 135 lbs.   And, of
course, he thought he was starving to death.  Sierra was overjoyed when I
brought him home.  She must have jumped over him 100 times.  Sam loved
everyone, and everyone loved Sam.   He never passed the kitties without
kissing them, and my boy kitty, Kodey, laid in Sam's paws.  Kodey would kiss
and groom Sam's ears and paws, and always tried to help him when he
seizured, so I had to isolate him away from Sam when I wasn't home, as the
vet felt Kodey might be hurt.  Sam never became aggressive during, before,
or after seizing.  He was always sweet, mellow, but sometimes confused and
befuddled after seizures.  Sam was extremely easy to train and always let me
know when Sierra or my old doggie, Tuffy, needed out.  Tuffy, at 12 lbs. was
the boss.  Kodey, at 12 lbs. also, was next in line.  Then came Sierra, at
49 lbs., and Sam and Sasha (a 15 lb. Kitty) who were just the sweet babies
of the family and did what everyone else wanted.

      Sam always let me know when the other dogs needed to go out, or when I
forgot to let them back in.  He had a loud, piercing special bark for that.
He was extremely easy to train, and never went to the bathroom on the
sidewalk or grass, so I had a hard time figuring out why he had accidents.
(Now, I think he was having petite mal seizures from a young age.)   Sam
followed me everywhere I went, the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen (of
course), up and down the stairs, and anywhere else you could think of.  He
never left my presence when I was home for a minute.  When I went in stores,
he loved to honk the horn, which he learned to do at about 9 months.  He
really loved the noise that made!  People would ask me if I knew my dog was
honking the horn out in my car, and I would reply, "Yes, I'm trying to
hurry!"

      There are so many, many special things about Sam.  The first time I
ran a bath for myself after I got him, he was in it when I came back in the
bathroom, just sitting there with a confounded look on his 7 week old face.
It was so adorable.  I accidentally, appropriately named his middle name
Chewbaca because, as he grew older, he talked just like Chewie in the Star
Wars movies.  He had a million special moans and groans and sighs.  He loved
all the other animals, but when I was petting or giving attention to anyone
else, Sam would sigh and sigh (Hunnnnh, Hunnnnnnhhh).  He liked all and
constant attention.   He loved to steal the kitty food, and was smarter than
me about how to do so.   The only time he didn't follow me downstairs
immediately was when I forgot to put the kitty food WAY UP, which was too
often.  He usually lay, with his huge head part-way in the kitchen, and did
his Hunggg, hunnng, Hunnng, Hunnnggg, moan, trying to convince me he hadn't
had enough to eat, after dinner times.  He had a huge gran/moan when I would
tell him to get in the bathtub, but he always did it.  He loved swimming,
but didn't like baths.

      Sam loved to carry around stuffed animals, but after he was diagnosed
with epilepsy at age 3, I was afraid he might eat them, which he did a lot,
and they might hurt him.  He didn't like to chase balls, but he loved to
chase his large, rubber ring toy right up to his last day on earth.   We
played with his rubber ring toy every day of his life.  He loved it.   He'd
hang it around one tooth while he was running back to me.  He lived to chase
that toy.

      Sam was the largest lab I have ever seen.  His head would be out one
window of the backseat of my car and his tail would be out the window on the
other side.  He liked to ride in the car with his huge head on my left
shoulder.  It might have not been very safe, but I loved it.   People would
always ask if Sam was a full Lab, and say he was the biggest Lab they had
ever seen.  The people at the dog park called him "horsy", and my dad told
people "she's living with a 1500 lb. steer."  I sure felt safe with him,
even though I knew he was just a total gentle giant.  It did hurt my
feelings when people were afraid of him though, because he was a total
peacemaker and wouldn't let my kitties, or other dogs, fight with one
another.  He was totally a lover, not a fighter!

      Sam loved everyone, and was never aggressive toward any animal or
person.  If a baby got too far from his mommy, Sam would herd him (or her)
back to their mommy.  He always worried about that.  He was careful not to
step on the kitties and wouldn't even step on a bug on our walk.  If other
dogs tried to fight, he would make a crying, moaning (Chewbaca) sound,
"hungg, hungg, hungg", and if that didn't work, he'd bark in his loud,
shrill piercing bark.  He was so big, it always worked.  He always let
Sierra steal his bones, and never stood up to her bossiness.  He let her
fuss over him and clean his teeth every morning, but she growled and worried
when he seizured.

      Sam was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most loyal, spirit I have
truly ever known.  I will miss him till the day I die!  Every morning he
made me move over on the bed, laid down beside me, and we had our morning
kisses, cuddles and hugs.  Every night when I got home from work, even if
he'd seizured all day, he did circles around me and then jumped on the bed
so I could put my arms around him and hug and kiss him.  Even though I will
have to go on without him, I can never be totally happy without his physical
presence.  I miss all the kisses, hugs, cuddles and unconditional love.

      I so miss my wonderful, beautiful Sam, but I do NOT miss the disease
of epilepsy.  I tried so hard to save my precious "baby boy" from it.   I
consoled and rubbed him almost every night (sometimes all night long).  I
tried every type of therapy, herb, herbal tincture, vitamin, diet, holistic
med., homeopathic med., alternative doctor, alternative medicine as well as
pharmaceutical medicine possible, but I lost him to the terrible disease of
epilepsy on August 26, 2002.  He didn't even get to be with me for 5 years,
and that was definitely NOT long enough.  I guess he knew my body and
checkbook were about ready to run out, but I still wish I had him back and
always will.

      I can't really write a tribute that would do justice to the most
marvelous creature I have ever known.   Every day with him was a joy, even
the terrifying times.  And, there were many terrifying times!  But, the
joyful times were many more.

      I will always miss my "Love of my Life".  I will always miss my
precious, precious Sam!  He will live forever in my heart, as long as I live
on this earth.  And I pray that when my spirit leaves this earthly body, his
spirit will be running to meet me with his mouth wide open with his
beautiful, happy, doggy smile.

   
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      October 1997 - August 2002


      Healthy and at peace at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for

      Becky, Sierra, Kodey & Sasha