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"What you're needing more than a horse is a good dog."

Before I get into posting about this week's DVD info, I wanted to take a moment to write about the passing of my family's dog, Sam who had to be put down last week.

Sam was a wire-haired dachshund mutt who came from the animal shelter. We were never quite sure how old he was, but it was estimated that he was 4 when we adopted him (I was in Rapid City at the time) so he was probably 16 or so when he died.

This was one of the most interesting, unique dogs I've ever known. He was smart, very friendly to people (though he was untrusting of children and avoided them), and had an alpha dog attitude that he would use on dogs much larger in stature than he. When we brought Sam home, we also adopted a black lab pound dog, Siggy (he's been gone for a few years now), who was a lot larger than fiesty little Sam. Once they got used to the new surroundings, Sam decided he was going to be the "top dog" and seemingly with will alone, asserted himself to be alpha.

Sam had some things he was especially known for. Tennis ball chasing: this was a dog who lived to chase tennis balls. Granted, this isn't that unusual, but Sam pursued it with a doggy-religious zeal. When Siggy was around, the two of them would play. It usually involved the following: Human throws ball, Siggy, being the faster (though Sam could zoom around the yard much faster than you might think, given his stubby legs) generally got the ball first. Siggy wasn't much of a retriever. He'd go after the ball, but not return it (sounds like another dog we know ). This tends to stop the game. Sam wouldn't allow this and ran up to Siggy, who usually just sat there holding the ball in his mouth, and would try to wrest the ball from the goofy lab's jaw. At first, Sam had little difficulty with this, but soon Siggs figured out ways to keep him at bay. Like standing on the edge of the backyard deck holding the ball over it out of Sam's reach. Sam would stand down there leaping into the air trying to get the ball, unable to snatch it. Siggy generally got tired of it, let the ball go, and Sam brought the ball back to the human allowing the cycle to begin again. I probably don't do this routine justice, but it was quite the canine spectacle to observe! Alas, once Siggy was gone, the poor dog's heart just wasn't in the game. Those two had a relationship, such as it was and playing ball alone wasn't much fun. He still chased, but it wasn't the same.

Dig it, the dancing dog.

Some dogs beg by barking, sitting, and so forth, but Sam stood up on his hind legs and danced back and forth. This always seemed like quite the feat for a small, short, long-bodied dog and he would do it for quite a while and was a sight to behold.

"I measured the width of Sam's skull!"

This was when my Dad said when he had to changed the planks under the deck due to the fact that Sam kept chasing balls underneath and couldn't get out. The plank's with was matched to his head...had to be there I guess!

Sam already had his name when he was adopted, but sure enough, it wasn't long until he picked up some alternate names: Samuelson, Sam-Well, Stinky (he had chronic bad breath), Teemster, Samwise...I'm sure I'm missing a few.

He had a salt/pepper beard.

So, I thought the lil' guy deserved at least a blog entry to mark his passing. He will be missed. So long, Sam.

[update] I did indeed forget the name, Samsonite! AND, speaking of his swimming abilities, which were considerable, I've included a couple of pictures from the 2003 MGROE retreat.




Oops, commented on the wrong post.

As I was saying...

you forgot "Samsonite."

He was a good dog...

Except for his final two days, Sam's life was pretty good.
On his last big outing [last summer at Slate Creek] he could still be seen swimming across the pond like a little black torpedo. Sam WILL be missed.

Man that little fella could run - it was hilarious! I remember being out there at Christmas and Sam (bad breath and all) gave PJ (my almost 2 year old son) a big ol' lick in the face. PJ didn't know what to make of that! It seems these wiener dogs have tounges that are as long as their bodies - or was that just Sam?

Yeah, Sam was quite the speed demon...he could really haul his lil' ass! :-) His tongue had incredible length, but I don't know if that's inherent to smalldogdom or not...

I loved the back and forth across the lake routine. He was just swimming back and forth. And then every so often he'd join us at the "raft" for a brief respite, before returning to the water.

sam was such a cutie. i laughed so hard when _he_ was the dog (not the labs) that swam all the way out to the raft and then was walking around on it like it was dry land.