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Suffering The Loss of a Pet
Till We Meet Again
A Story of Love, Friendship, and the Loss of a Pet
In July of 1996 we learned of a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies that were ready for their new homes.
I had already fallen in love with the breed, had done all the research and homework, and decided this was the breed for me!
My fiance Tom, who later became my husband, came along with me that day to, "just have a look" at the puppies. Famous last words...
When we arrived, we were greeted by 12 little bundles of white fluff! "Choosing one would be tough", I thought to myself. I took a seat on the lawn where I was soon covered in puppies! There was one puppy who stood out from the crowd and was vying for my attention. She seemed the largest of the females but the only way I was able to distinguish her from the rest of the pack was by the dried mud-patch on her butt!
Tom caught the attention of most of the puppies for a moment and I was able to get up-close and cuddly with this special little female. She was excited, and her affection for me was evident by the amount of puppy-kisses I was covered in! She tried her best to block the advances toward me from the rest of the pack. She had already chosen me!
As we were leaving that day to give this decision some great consideration, I glanced in the rear-view mirror at the special little puppy who was watching us leave. She appeared perplexed over my leaving without her.
I was suddenly overcome with tears! You can probably guess the rest of that story, that day became the start of a 12 year long beautiful friendship.
Life with a Great Pyrenees is not without its challenges.
Samantha, aka "Sammi" proved to be challenging to train, an excessive barker, and highly independent and stubborn. Definitely not a breed for everyone!
One of my most memorable moments with Sammi was the day I spent planting flower bulbs in my yard shortly after she came to live with us.
I had strategically placed the bulbs in the yard, anticipating the floral paradise that would await us next spring. I shared the excitement of my efforts with my attentive little pup several times! At the end of the day, long after finishing the gardening, I opened the door to call Sammi in for the night, and looked down to see every single bulb I had planted stacked smack in front of the door. Sammi stood there looking so proud of herself. It was as if she were telling me, "LOOK MOM, I found them all!"
So many memories...
Life with a large breed dog is too short to begin with and unfortunately our time together was cut even shorter. When Sammi was 10 years old, I began to notice her having trouble with her hind end. She had always been in perfect health, but I was concerned so I took her to see our veterinarian.
Tests were run and a diagnosis of Degenerative Myelopathy was confirmed. This is caused by a bulge in the spine that pinches off nerves and leads to paralyzation. Nothing could be done for her except for managing her pain and knowing when it would be time to let her go. The loss of a pet had been the furthest thing from my mind until that day.
During Sam's lifetime, we also adopted a 2nd Great Pyrenees puppy, this time a male whom we named "Charlie".
Sammi, Charlie, and I often took long walks together, but as Sammi's condition worsened so did the length and frequency of our walks.
One day, while on a walk together, Sammi's back legs collapsed under her and she appeared to be
shivering and disoriented. I rushed her to my vet. When we arrived she was foaming at the mouth and shaking violently. My vet determined she may have suffered a stroke.
By the time her 12th birthday rolled around, I knew it would be her last. We celebrated in grand fashion that day. She was served a big, juicy fillet mignon from a local steakhouse and I topped her meal off with a celebratory bowl of ice cream with a cookie on top! She was as happy as she could be that day.
In July of 2008, I discovered her in the yard, covered in mud and drool and unable to get up. I looked into her big brown eyes and knew she was trying to communicate to me that it was time to let go. She was ready, and had lovingly helped me to make the hardest decision I had ever had to make.
Fortunately, I had made some preparations for this day in advance. So my husband and I brought her in, cleaned her up and I called my vet. He would come to our home where Sammi's last hours could be spent in her own home, where she knew she was loved and felt safe. We gathered our neighbors and their kids, who had come to love Sammi over the years, and Tom, Charlie and I spent our last precious day with her.
At 6:30 that evening, our Vet arrived. It was time to say good-bye.
I hugged her and told her how much I loved her. I had peace knowing she would be waiting for me someday at the Rainbow Bridge.
She was now pain free and at peace. We had made the decision to have her body cremated and her ashes placed in a beautiful urn along with her collar and several meaningful items.
(Our last day together) I was surprised at how long it took Charlie to accept she wasn't coming back. He was grieving for his sister. Don't let anyone ever tell you that a dog is incapable of greiving, I've witnessed it! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my sweet girl.
Last year we brought home our newest member of the family. A fiesty little Rottweiler puppy named Kai. He's been a breath of fresh air. I'm sad to say however, that our Pyr Charlie, who is now 10 years, is exhibiting the same symptoms and dissabilities as Sammi had suffered from. We'll do whatever it takes to make his last years or months as happy as can be.
Until we meet again...I love you Sammi-girl
...Your loving "Mom", Stephanie
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