Born January 1, 1994, in Fairfield, CA
Died September 26, 2004, in Coquille, OR
Samantha was born January 1, 1994, alongside a highway near Fairfield, California. Her mother, an unidentified Springer Spaniel, was killed by a car. An astute animal control officer noted movement in the mother's belly and with an impromptu Caesarian, delivered 8 small puppies, which he took to the pound.
I heard Samantha and her siblings were up for adoption about 4 weeks later. I was still trying to recover from heart surgery, so I strapped my pillow on my chest and drove up to have a look. There was a large crowd of people there waiting in line to adopt one of the puppies. But........they didn't know the system; I did. Lifting the tag from the cage I stood in line until everyone ahead of me had been sent back to pick up a tag. Samantha went home with me in my shirt pocket; she only weighed a couple of pounds.
Sam spent the early part of her career as a fishing and camping dog. On her first trip to a lake in the Sierra foothills, I told her she was to be my good luck dog. When we arrived at the lake, we went to a fishing spot where other anglers were cursing their bad luck at not having a strike all day. Sam and I got out and put a line in the water. Within 10 minutes, we had our daily catch limit of 5 large rainbow trout.
As I progressed a bit physically, we started going to the higher elevations, leaving the tent trailer behind and taking the boat. Although never an enthusiastic boater, she went along to keep track of me. The two of us slept in a small one person dome tent. We frequently visited French Meadows Lake at the 7500 foot elevation in one of the remote sections of the Sierras. The US Government uses that as dumping spot for "bad bears" from Yosemite and other places. Sam eagerly proved her skills by tracking down a rather large bear as I was racing to keep up with her. I explained to her later (after we got the hell out of there) that that particular skill wasn't really in much demand with me.
Samantha had her first and only brush with drugs in 1994, when she ate a whole bottle of sleeping pills sitting on my night table. Plastic bottle and all. The emergency vet took the appropriate action to induce vomiting and she swore off narcotics for life.
Sam accompanied us in 1994-95 looking for a new place to live in Oregon. She made the move with great enthusiasm since she enjoyed running the deserted beaches of the South Coast. I commuted between California and Oregon almost a year while we readied the houses for the move. Samantha always rode with me. Until the furniture got there we slept on sleeping bags on the floor.
In 2000, Samantha suffered detached tendons on both back legs and was restricted in movement even after the tendons were surgically reattached. Since she had slept near my bed all her life and since it was difficult carrying her upstairs (she weighed 65 lb by then), I spent several months sleeping on the living room floor with her next to me.
In her later years, Samantha retired from her outdoor life due to arthritis and an enlarged heart. She also developed a hypothyroid condition which was kept partially under control with medication. In her last year, her bad back legs particularly bothered her.
Sam's greatest love was people. She loved those that liked her.......and those that didn't. She was indifferent, but not hostile, to other dogs, but she loved people.
The cats, Rusty and Midnight, loved Sam. Midnight, in particular, was fond of Sam and would attack any other dog that approached Sam. For years, Sam and I would take a half mile walk around the block and Midnight would lead the way, running interference.
Sam was a graduate of the Myrtle Point Feed Store Dog Obedience Course, graduating at the top of her class. Although she found little sense behind the training, I know she felt better that she had gotten me through the course.
Samantha insisted on going with me on every trip I made in the car until her last year. By then, it was difficult for her to even manage the ramp I had built for her to climb into the car. Instead, she would lay by the front door until I returned.....even if that was a week.
Samantha had a well-honed appreciation of food. Her favorites were chicken drumsticks, sirloin steak, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Early in the morning of Saturday, September 25, Samantha suffered a heart attack. I took her to the Coquille Animal Hospital that morning. She received medication and was kept in the kennel overnight. Early the next morning, Sunday, September 26, 2004, Samantha passed away in her sleep.
I always told her the first week we were together that she was going to be the best puppy that ever was. She was.
|In her lifespan, Samantha and I traveled together in the car an estimated quarter million miles. Traveling is lonelier now.|
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