Sam – The Dog in the Glass Cage

Sam & our daughter, 2002It was February 2002.  I took the kids, who were 7 and 10 at the time, to the local “pound” to adopt a Gerbil.  I left them in the small animal room that was filled with cages containing mice, gerbils and hamsters, while I wandered the halls.  I was shocked by the large number of animals housed in this building.  There were dozens of cats and dogs in need of homes.

I kept returning tSam & Cocoa, 2003o one dog who was housed in a glass cage at the front of the building.  Attached to the front of her cage were many pages of volunteer sheets dating back for several months.  These sheets were full of warm praise for the dog that they  called “Lady”.  She was a mid-sized dog, mostly black with a white bib; a mix of Black Lab and Border Collie.

Sam at Cootes Paradise, 2013When my kids finally selected the Gerbil they wanted, we headed to the counter.  It was 4:45 pm.  They told us that it was too late in the day to adopt the Gerbil because an hour was needed to process the adoption.   We drove home full of disappointment and angry words for a policy that seemed overly onerous for the adoption of a small animal.

ButSam & her backyard, 2012 that night, I found myself telling Dan about the dog in the glass cage.  I told him that she reminded me of the dog, Sam, that lived with him when he was a child.  This was surprising because I have never wanted a pet dog.  My family had a few dogs when I was young and none of them stayed long because we were incapable of house-training them.  Each experience left me with painful and unpleasant memories.

The next day, all four of us drove up to the “pound” together.  While the kids re-examined the small animals, I took Dan to see the dog they called Lady.  His eyes lit up despite himself.  She really did look like his family dog, Sam.  We asked to see her in the “visitation room”.  The kids were thrilled by this turn of events.  Lady pranced with excitement, wagged her tail with her whole body, and greeted each of us with exuberance.  We were all enthralled.

Sam June 2013That was 11 years ago.  Lady, who became Sam in our household, was two years old at the time.  She never needed house training.  She was terrible on leash but became a dog that did not need a leash.  She had a child-like excitement about walks in the conservation area that never lessened with age.  She greeted each one of us at the door, every day, with the same enthusiastic tail wagging that marked our first meeting.  She wrestled gently with our cat, Cocoa.  She was sweet and gentle with the kids.  She was friendly with strangers and other dogs.  She was a member of the family.

Sam passed away abruptly on June 21st at the ripe age of 13.5.  We are missing her….but feeling incredibly grateful for the turn of events that brought her into our hearts and our home 11 years ago.

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About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
This entry was posted in Parenting & Family, Relationships, Simple Pleasures, Writing, Writing for your life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Sam – The Dog in the Glass Cage

  1. Gut wrenching and I’m so sorry that you lost her, but at the same time like you said, I’m very happy you found each other. It was obviously meant to be xo

  2. Pingback: Fiction - Uncaged - Kittysneezes

  3. What a beautiful, gorgeous, loving dog. So sad to hear of her passing… She will no doubt leave a big space in your hearts and home. But lovely you were blessed with her for so long xo

  4. Those wonderful pets like Sam become a part of the family and to lose them is just as painful. So grateful for Sam that she found such a loving home and returned that love in kind.

  5. Pam Bickell says:

    Hi KIm, I still can’t read a story about a beloved family pet who has crossed, without crying, thinking of my Max. I hope you guys are all okay. What a beautiful tribute you’ve written to your friend, Sam–and about adopting pets from a shelter. Take care. Love, Pam

  6. a beautiful story of love shared, thank you

  7. Awwww! Kim, wiping tears… such a heart warming story. Lady/Sam was meant to join your family, and how lovely she looked…
    We have had several rescue cats .. All gone now…….
    Thank you for sharing….. such love is shown back in your photos as I look into Sam eyes xxx

  8. bjas says:

    I am catching up on my reading this evening and this is so sad…really sorry, Kim. Our animals are such an important part of our family. Breaks my heart. What a special soul Sam was….hugs to you.

  9. I’m so sorry Kim. What a beautiful looking dog. Our pets really do become part of the family.

    • kp says:

      It is so true Sally…My daughter, who is almost 19, was particularly broken hearted to lose Sam, who had been in her life since she was 8. But, we really do feel very lucky that we had so many wonderful years with her!!

  10. Hariod Brawn says:

    Very touching, and quite close to home for me. I very recently lost Nellie, my beloved Border Collie, unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Nellie was also 13 years old, and really a being so very dear to me, such that I could not express it in words.

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