Sammy, the day before he died
Sammy was found in the parking lot of a Texas supermarket in May of 2001. The family who found him thought he was the perfect size, although since he was at that time between 6 and 8 months old, he of course grew quite a bit after that.
When he was about 5, he moved with his family from Texas to Massachusetts. He loved his family, which by now included a little brother, but the cold and snow and ice always seemed completely unnecessary to him.
In 2010, his father (now divorced) moved to an apartment in Waltham where he was assured keeping a dog would be fine. However, Sammy was by now quite arthritic in his hips, and very nervous around jumpy young dogs, and there was some incident with the landlady’s dog which enraged her and she insisted that he leave her house.
This was right after Sunny died, and a mutual fried arranged for us to be introduced, and Sammy came to live with me. He missed having his little brother to play with, but he liked the band soming over on Tuesdays to tell him how handsome he was, and the walks through Cambridge with all the other dogs to sniff. Also the living room window with a panoramic view of a busy street and the park across the street.
Unfortunately, in addition to all the other disadvantages of the New England climate, living with me meant he had to climb long flights of stairs to either go out or go to bed, and in winter weather, all the sidewalks in the park across the street are heavily crusted with salt, which hurts his paws.
Over the last few weeks, even walking on the flat on dry sidewalk has become increasingly difficult, and he’s been regularly having days when his legs collapsed under him whenever he tried to stand up. The last such day was Friday, February 14.
He weighed close to 70 pounds, so getting him up and down stairs when this was happening was difficult for both of us. He decided he didn’t want to go through this again, and stopped eating and drinking. I managed to drag him down the stairs on Saturday morning, and he had a bowel movement and go a passerby to pat him and tell him how handsome he was, but then getting back up the stairs was even harder than down, and I started making plans for getting someone to help me get him to the hospital.
We stayed up most of the night, listening to death music (The Saint Matthew Passion is what I’d want to go out to.) His Daddy came over at lunchtime on Sunday and agreed with me that if he wasn’t eating food with bacon grease in it, he should be able to end it. He carried him out to the car, and I drove him to the Angell Memorial Hospital.
Sammy at the animal hospital. He enjoyed being on the stretcher and having all the pretty technicians tell him how handsome he was.
He perked up quite a bit when they lifted him out of the car and put him on a four-foot high cart and all the pretty technicians stood around and told him how handsome he was. He even ate some dog biscuits the vet offered him. But we were pretty sure he still didn’t want to go up those stairs ever again, and the vet said sometimes it was better to go out on a relative high note than a low note. So he got the shot and was gone in a couple of minutes.
Sammy, at the animal hospital