2008 Articles

A Rescue Story


I wrote last October about an old girl named Sophie we found in a shelter in Seattle. When I took her to the vet for a checkup they discovered a large mass around one kidney and we knew she would be a hospice dog. I wrote about her in our monthly newsletter and almost immediately had a call from Carey, who previously adopted two old dogs and loved them until they passed on. He said he was willing to foster her, and yesterday I received the following.—Ron

Ron and Kathy, friends and family,

Sophie, my Sammy girl friend, passed away at home and in my arms on the afternoon of January 29th 2008 after her somewhat brief struggle with Cancer. She was a good girl with a pretty face. She never asked for more than I could give and she was a joy to have in our home. It was an honor and a privilege to care for this old gal. She was only with us for a short time.

After my inquiry about Sophie around October of last year, Ron and Kathy of Sammy Rescue told me she was a really sweet girl but also gave me the honest truth about her health in regards to an aging girl of around 12 years old with some health problems. She would be placed as a Hospice placement due to the Cancer that was reported in her health check-up upon entering rescue. “She may last a week… or a month and in the end she was going to break your heart” they said. They then asked in the next breath. “Do you still want her”? She arrived in our home a week later and yes; in the end she truly did break my heart. They always do. Her few months with us were good   and pain free. She got around well and claimed her doggie bed and old green blanket very quickly. She always used the doggie door… and even to the very end she never had an accident on the floor. Two weeks ago she just stopped eating, I took her to the vet’s last Friday and was told her time was coming to an end. I found her in the yard early the next morning, she fell down while going to the bathroom and was never able to stand by herself again. I carried her into the house and laid her down on her bed, she never tried to get back up. She had her last appointment with the vet late today- but she decided to take her last breath at home around 2:00 pm while I was by her side.

I dug her grave the day before her passing in our yard next to a large pink and white Rhododendron bush that I love so much. It was lightly snowing and I thought to myself that it was a fitting day to let go of my old Sammy girl; it truly was a snowy Sammy day. My eight year old Sammy boy “Cheyenne” sat nearby and watched as I dug and dug. He would look at me then look at the hole and then look back at me as if to say, “she may have been bigger than life, but I think that hole is plenty big”. As I wiped away a tear… or more, I adjusted the size of the hole and stepped back to look at my handy work. Looks just right I thought, big enough to keep her cozy and shallow enough for her to hear the other dogs bark and play in the yard and also to hear me yelling at Cheyenne this spring to get the hell out of my garden beds and to stop digging up the flowers.

This afternoon I wrapped Sophie up in her favorite green blanket “just as snug as a bug in a rug”. I placed her in a pine box I made for her the day before, gave her one last kiss on her fuzzy white cheek, place a dog cookie- well two- next to her paws. I screwed on the lid as I said “good night ole’ girl- sleep tight” and placed the box in the hole. All along Cheyenne was sitting next to the grave watching every movement I made, as if standing guard over an old trusted friend, sniffing the cold air and licking the fresh fallen snow as it collected on the ground around us, his beautiful white coat gleaming in the cloudy filtered sun light of a cold January
afternoon. I finished filling in the hole with dirt and then gave Cheyenne a great big bear hug- he didn’t need it, but I sure did. The late afternoon sun begin to get much more blurry as Cheyenne tried to lick away the tears. As we walked away and I looked back over my shoulders, I knew that someday in the future I’d be out here digging yet another hole- right beside the last– not because I want to, but because I find it an honor and a privilege to do so….

Thanks as always to Ron and Kathy for everything you do for Rescue as   well as to its volunteers and donations that are made. Many thanks to the people that donated cash in Sophie’s name as she entered our rescue organization. I know money spent on a few bad cracked teeth and her other medical needs as she came into the program was not cheap, but it truly made her last few months of life a lot more comfortable to say the very least. She deserved every dollar given.

I’d also like to remind our Sammy community that if you have never fostered or better yet made room in your home and your lives for a Samoyed in need- young or old, to please give it a try. You will come to find that it was the right thing to do and yes. in the end they will break your heart, and each time it hurts just as much as the first. This has been my third senior rescue in the last few years- and it will not be my last. As long as I have a roof over my head and capable of caring for at least one Samoyed in need that I will always MAKE room in my home and my heart, especially our seniors. I don’t need to save them all, just one at a time.