When we are young we hold on to this belief that things get easier when you "grow up" or at least the more times you face them. Once we are grown up we come to understand that things don't get any easier when it comes to the passing of a beloved dog. We know our dogs have a good life and are well cared for. We know from the time we are young that we will throughout our lives face the passing of our beloved companions all too frequently. We know the pain of watching an aging dog reach the end of their days. Yet through all of this we know too that we must have these wonderful companions in our lives. And so it comes that in remembrance of Samantha I write here.
Samantha was rarely the image of a sporting dog. Though her papers proclaimed her a lab this was notable more for her lack of conformity than for any sort of standard associated with the breed. However restfully Sam spent her days she always would light up at the sight of a squirrel. Birds weren't so exciting and rabbits were usually fine, but when a squirrel came around she broke faster than the fastest greyhounds. On one of our early camping trips Sam chased a small ground squirrel into the fire circle (which was cold at the time). The little bugger ran down a hole under the circle of rocks. Undeterred by heavy rocks collapsing down on her, Sam dug to the end of that hole with a speed that would make a badger proud. Being one of the few times she actually caught the squirrel she was quite perplexed as to what should be done with the critter but she always loved the chase.
Although through the years we watch our friends slow down. And in the last days we knew that each might be her last, it never makes the parting any easier. It never dulls the sadness. In the long run we wouldn't want it to because were it not for the sadness in passing the joy in the sharing such companionship would also be muted.