It’s now been over a year since I got the diagnosis for my little girl Sammi, and about 6 months since the night that she had to be put down due to rare canine nasal cancer. Ok so what, as most people would say. For most people that statement would be just that…so what. For me, a grown man who has had other dogs previously in his life should also have said just that…so what. But for me it was totally different with this magnificent creature. Here’s a glimpse of my Sammi Girl and her shortened life. Sammi was a dog I did not want when my wife insisted we are getting a dog back in the fall of 07. The first couple of days I pretty much ignored the dog and wanted nothing to do with the caring of this puppy. She was a Golden Doodle. For those of you who do not know what a Golden Doodle is I suggest you look one up. The mix of a Poodle and Golden Retriever I found with time was the perfect combination of dogs. She had the brains of a Poodle and the temperament of Golden. Able to learn things blazingly fast and the most gentle and loving dog I’ve ever owned. A few days after having her we decided to go to a local flea market. Once there, I realized that no dogs were allowed. So, since she was small enough at that time to put into my jacket, in she went to my leather jacket with only her little head popping out. Little did I know this was the first day of our life long bonding. Day after day we played and played and she quickly learned to obey the rules of the house in addition to learning all new tricks to show friends who came over to visit. Sammi absolutely Loved people, in fact she preferred people over dogs and even over food. She went for puppy training and subsequent therapy dog training but flunked the last test when she jumped into the wheel chair with the trainer when she called her from across the gym. Oh well I’d rather have her be playful and happy unlike some therapy dogs that seem to look subdued when they are working. Her thing was Happy. It seemed to always be playtime for Sammi. The one thing I really, really miss is her kisses. She would kiss other people but when it came to me she went out of her way to kiss me nonstop from early in the morning to late at night. It was always a good time to kiss Daddy. Of course my wife would think it was insane because no dog would kiss anyone for that long. I mean it would go on and on but only with me and not my wife. Sammi was also an accomplished traveler as she has driven with us to Florida from the Philadelphia area every year of her life at least once a year to visit my family. The trip was brutal for my wife but Sammi took it in stride. Time went on and all was well. Sammi solidified herself as an integral member of our family always sleeping by her daddy or resting next to the tub waiting for me to finish with my shower. Late January of 2015 she was making a small snort noise at night and when we had her checked out; the Vet said it could be a fungal infection or nasal cancer. I said well she just came back from Florida so it probably a fungal infection. Test after test, scan after scan, opinion after opinion and t all seemed to come back to nasal cancer. The vets were confused because other than the snort noise at night she showed no other symptoms other than the x-ray of blockage in her nose. She ate well, played and looked great. The end of the summer of 2015 and I noticed that she became a little more winded after playing. I gave it no real thought and continued to give her a regiment of herbs and tumor buster capsules, a total of 8 in the morning and 9 at night to help her ward off the supposed cancer. It wasn’t until the Rhinoscopy that revealed it was definitely nasal cancer that was that blockage in her nose. 2 days before her passing she did not feel well due to the meds the vet gave her and most of my neighbors came over to see her. You see everyone in the neighborhood knew her because when I walked her she wanted to stop and say hi to all the neighbors. They brought Flowers and cards and we had a makeshift memorial right there in our living room for her while she was still here. Little did we know that this was like a pre-funeral. The cards kept coming even long after her death. During the last 8 months of her life I Prayed and Prayed and Prayed and Prayed some more. I cried on a continuous basis and have never stopped since her diagnosis. I prayed to God. To any and all Saints. To Angels. I even wrote a letter to the Pope asking for a small blessing that the blockage not be cancer. All the praying in the world did not help. On Sept. 3rd 2015 at around 1 AM after having a 2nd seizure she had to be put to sleep. It seemed the cancer ate through the bone protecting her brain and caused it to start eating away part of her brain. It was a miracle that I was able to walk her into the hospital and what would be her last walk with Daddy because I did not want to let her go. Even though she was a bit disoriented she was able to walk with me into the animal hospital. As she paced around the hospital checking things out, I was trying to remain calm for her sake. By some miracle I was able to sit with her as the doctor was about to administer the drugs to effectively end her life. As that time approached, I leaned over and asked her for a kiss and she gladly obliged her Daddy one last time. Knowing it will be the last time I will see her face next to mine, the doctor proceeded. My wife and I left the hospital and were in a state of semi-shock. A little girl who has been such a Large part of our lives is now gone. When we arrive home, the Silence was Deafening.
Time has since moved on and I cannot believe how much of an impact this beautiful animal has made on my life and how much I miss her till this day and probably will for the rest of my life. A person who helped me with keeping her in good shape during her diagnosis said to me that Time will soften the pain but it will never go away. I believe he is right. I have never revealed this to anyone not even my wife that I cry every single day and not just sadness type of crying but like it just happened type of crying. That’s how much of an impact this dog had on my life. I don’t know what it was about this particular dog but there was such a bond that her and I had that I’ve never experienced at any time in my life. Even when my father passed away, I was not this distraught nor have I received the outpouring of love and support that I have when my little girl Sammi passed away. This dog was my angel and I find that I now pray to her as if she is my personal angelic connection. Below is a tribute I wrote to her an hour after her passing. Since I could not sleep that night it is only fitting that she received this fitting tribute.
The pain of losing a loved one can at times be indescribable and one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences one can endure. Words can often not be enough or accurately describe the emotional turmoil one goes through at the time of their passing. It seems that language itself, is completely insufficient to help heal the gap of that invisible bond that you’ve once held with your loved one. The love, the best friendship, the fun, the life experiences, all helped shape the relationship that you once had with your once loving and vibrant partner in crime. You miss just about every single thing about your lost love…the laughs, the cries, the walks, the talks. All of these seemingly mundane activities that you once took for granted are now gone. There is a huge hole smack dab in the middle of your heart. You never knew it would be this way and never though it would ever end this way. But here you are, alone with your thoughts, looking for answers. Then you realize, that no one could ever change or replace your relationship with who turned out to be…your best friend.
As you look back at the time spent together, on this earth together, you realize, you had the perfect love, which brings a degree of comfort to your lonely heart.
Although you never really were able to express your love in the right words, your best friend would truly understand, they knew exactly how you felt in your heart and reciprocated quite often with a big wet kiss. That’s right, because how else would they show their love in return.
A dog is much more than a pet…a dog is a full-fledged member of the family and if you don’t know that, then you’ve never experienced the unconditional love of a true best friend.
Sammi was my best friend and I hold her near and dear in my heart and always will. I love you so very much my little girl, but you already knew that.
May God and all the Angels now enjoy your loving spirit as I once did. I pray that I served you well during your magnificent life.
Rest in Peace my Majestic Sweetheart.
9/11/07 – 9/3/15
Sammi Girl Caré