Friday, June 29, 2012

All Dogs go to Heaven

Soon after Amelia O'Neill moved in across the street in the fourth grade she introduced me to the Humane Society's website.  We would spend hours looking at dogs who needed to be adopted.  She would browse the German Shepherds and I the Beagles.  This lasted for quite some time, and I would subtly hint to my parents how much I thought we needed a dog.  Naturally, they answered as the majority of our parents have, with a continual "no."  Previously, we had had three dogs and mom and dad were not ready to embark down that road again.  Or so I thought until the day after Thanksgiving day of 2003.  

Enter Samuel Ryan Curtis Burr Landeen, at least that was the name on his adoption certificate.  My hours of browsing had paid off and my parents were persuaded.  He was a four year old Beagle that my parents had adopted from the animal shelter, and we instantly loved each other.  I was in the seventh grade at the time, and on top of the world.  

It was only a matter of time before we diagnosed him with separation anxiety.  We would put him in the back yard for the afternoon, and return to a sad lonely dog with a raspy bark.  He would send us off whining and howling and welcome us home with barks of the the most relieved sort, and this was just one way we knew he loved us back.  In the living room we could never have company without Sam pawing and nudging for attention, and I needn't mention no one could make it out without some of his souvenir hair.  

Even after I moved away to college, if my sisters weren't excited to see me, I could always count on my loyal pooch for a welcome home.  He was just an affectionate and sensitive kind of guy.  While most other hound dogs live for the hunt, Sam would shudder at gunshots and hide in the basement on the fourth of July.  And, while he never learned to fetch or dance on his hind legs, he would go berserk if he heard the word "walk" or an invitation to "go for a ride."  But, over the years our walks got shorter, and our adventures less rigorous.  His short little legs just couldn't hack it.  He became even more mild, lazy and by association, chubby.  

Together we hunted for Christmas trees, fought off stray dogs in the street, snuggled during movies, and ate more than our fair share of leftovers.  He, like I, was spoiled rotten.

Sam spent nearly ten years with our family, and we often referred to him as our brother.  "Jaclyn, did you feed your brother this morning?" or "Syd, will you let your brother out?"  We had more nick names for him than we have for each other.  Samwise, Sam-bo, Sampson, Sam Boy, Sammykins, and anything else that suited the situation.  While there were some days he was stinky and needy, we continued to love him anyway.  91 dog years, the equivalent of 13 human years will take their toll on a dog.  For the last few months we knew it would only be a matter of time before Sam went the way of all the earth.

On Tuesday evening Sam started acting strangely, almost as if he had heat stroke.  He was panting heavily but wouldn't drink any water, and every move I made he followed me.  It wasn't uncommon for him to tag along, but I still knew something was wrong.  My sense was confirmed just about an hour and a half later.

After doing our research, we discovered online that epilepsy tends to be very common in Beagles.  Sam began having seizures.  They became less and less mild as the evening turned into night.  The Veterinary office was closed and he wasn't answering his phone.  All we could do was pray.  He held on through the night despite my tearful pleas for Heavenly Father to just take him.

Bravely, my dad waited with him in the backyard until he had to leave for work around three am.  He had to go down to the Wood Hollow fire in Fairview, which left the bravery up to my mom.  When six am rolled around, my mom woke me up and asked that I help move Sam into the car.  The veterinary office that supposedly opened at seven am actually didn't until eight.  So, knowing that Dr. Barry's office, where we've taken him for years also opened at eight, we returned home for another hour. 

At a quarter to eight we drove to pleasant grove and waited in the parking lot.  When the office opened, my mom went inside and filled out some paper work.  I waited with Sam in the car.   Two vet techs returned with my mom, and they kindly explained what was going to happen.  With one hand holding Sam's paw and the other wrapped around my mother, we said our tearful goodbyes.  His convulsions stopped, but my tears did not.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 

We returned home and laid him to rest under the apple tree in the back yard.  He was a loyal friend, a smiling face, and a furry rascal.  Of one thing I'm certain, there was a young man happy to be reunited with his dog on Wednesday.  Because, after all, all dogs go to heaven. 


~Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same~

I love you Sam Boy.

Your sister Syd


  1. Oh Syd. I just cried all through this post. Darn animals...always making us love them.

  2. I leaked the whole way through this. Jeeze...sometimes it's amazing how unconditionally animals can love you! Even with their stinky spells and hair loss tendency. I sure love you! See ya it heaven Sammy!

  3. Syd, I don't even like dogs. But I always liked Sam. And I don't like crying. But this made me cry too. I love you Sydlet.

  4. No one liked Iggy, Otis, or Millie. But I think we ALL loved Sam. Love you lots Syd.