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Sam the Man, also known as Sampson, Sambo, Little Sam and one big hearted dog.

Sam has lost three of his best friends this past year.  Last November it was Molly, the little Maltese/Terrier mix with whom he fell head over heels in love with the first time he met her.  They were very close and when she died, he grieved along with the rest of us.  After a month or so it seemed as though he was okay with her being gone.  He enjoyed being the only dog in the house, finding it easy to break the rules we had set up for them when there were two dogs instead of just one.

We always allowed them up on the bed for afternoon naps, but at night they both slept on their own cushy beds on the floor next to us. They seemed to understand the difference between afternoon and night and rarely jumped up on the bed during the wee hours unless there was a thunderstorm or one of them had to pee.  After Molly died, Sam gradually made his way up onto the ottoman at the foot of our bed.  He’d get comfortable and when he was sure we were asleep and the sound of snoring filled the air, he’d quietly move up onto the bed.  If he dared, he’s snuggle up against a human leg. Not liking hot legs, we’d gently move him back to the ottoman, until one night we said, “The poor boy is lonely,” and left it at that.  By then, he knew he should sleep in the middle of the bed, not up against his human’s bodies.

Of late he’s been looking sad.  He wasn’t eating much and wasn’t bringing us his favorite toys for us to play with.  Just two weeks ago, the day after his best kitty friend, Peppermint died, Bill and I left for a week visiting our grandkids. Though Sam was here at home with his beloved, Bobbie, who always comes in to stay with him while we’re away, he got even more depressed. When we got home he wasn’t eating.  His tail, usually a happy wig-wag machine and a sign of how he is feeling, didn’t wag much. I was very concerned and knew he was deep in mourning for his three family members, Molly, Cleo the cat who died in June and now Peppermint.

I knew what the best medicine would be and sent a message out into the Universe to see what we could do about it.  The following day, when I went to the SPCA to pick up Pepper’s ashes, I took a walk past the dogs up for adoption.  They were mostly big hounds and pit bulls, not matches for Sam.

Next, I went to the pet supply store hoping to find a new exciting dog food that might tempt him into eating again.  I walked through the aisles and turning a corner entered into a larger open space. There right in front of me was the cutest little terrier mix I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  He came over to me, greeting me as if we were long-lost friends.  Terry, was one of the dogs at an adoption event the store was hosting for Animal Connections, a local dog rescue group, that specializes in small dogs.  It was through them that we found Molly, ten or so years ago.  I knew this was the little angel dog that would be powerful medicine for Sam.  And if Sam and Molly had been able to have puppies together, this little man was what they would have looked like.

Terry. Sometimes I think of him as Terrence

I rushed home and brought Bill and Sam back to the store to meet  one year old, Terry.  When they met, Sam’s tail was waving a mile a minute and we took them both outside for a little pee party in the grass.  I was happy, Terry was happy, and Sam was happy. But Bill was reluctant.  We’d promised each other we that we wouldn’t fill the house back up with animals again and thought Sam would be fine after a while.  He’s also been wanting to travel more and knows I don’t like to be away  from my animal companions for very long.  He thought that the more animals there are in the house, the more reluctant I would be to leave them.  Not so.  When it comes to my furry friends, whether it’s one or ten, they are my special companions and I don’t like to be away from them for very long.  I’d find my life empty without them.

Lily and Terry

At the end of our meeting, we set up a day for Terry to come to our house for an overnight.  That would give him and Sam plenty of time to get to know each other. On Thursday morning when Terry’s foster mom, Lynette, brought him over, Sam was very excited.  Within two hours, beside myself with joy, I called Lynette to tell her that Terry would be staying with us forever.  We’ll sign the final adoption papers today. But in heart and soul, no papers are necessary. He’s ours and we’re his already.

Sam is eating again and playing for the first time in many months with a new companion who he wanted and needed. Terry has a new forever home and seems to be as delighted with us as we are with him.  He loves to play and this morning finally coaxed Lily, our remaining cat, to play with him.  The floors are a jumble of toys that haven’t been used in a long time and when Sam gets tired and needs a nap, Terry carries on by himself, chasing a tennis ball he tosses around for himself. Or sometimes he crashes next to Sam. Bill adores Terry as much as Sam and I do. He whispered to me that if I wanted him to, he’d put it in writing that I was right all along.  Companionship, of all kinds, is big, powerful medicine.

The Boys


  1. Gail Livingston says:

    Awwwww. You are the best, Joan, the queen of the animals the Universe sends its special angels. They look like twins! I’m so happy for you all. I’ve been wondering what I wlll do when I lose one of little guys (well, one is a girl) who light up my life. Flapjack the Papillion is 12 and a half. Felt uneasy about him lately, knowing he has a bad heart murmur and has had orthopedic and joint problems. I adopted him when my cousin died six years ago, so when he goes, that will bring up the loss of my cousin all over again. Some days he eats and some days he doesn’t. Mostly he doesn’t try to go on our walks anymore with Bhanu the athletic Shih T’zu, but sometimes I turn and look up the 20% grade hill I just walked down and see him trotting after us, limping along but determined to go where we go. Coming back up, he takes exaclty 10 steps, then stops to rest. Then 10 more steps. Soon I pick him up and carry him the rest of the way. But the vet said he is holding his own for now. Put him on some heart medicine and try to keep him comfortable. He is a happy little guy. When Bhanu loses her companion (the most likely scenario), I know she will grieve as she did for our one and only cat and for my daughter’s dog who licked Bhanu’s ears as a sign of affection. Kennels and vet bills and dog food are expensive. Maybe just one dog. After all, I don’t want to leave them behind as I age. But they mean a lot to each other. BFFs. And they too love their cushy beds at the foot of ours on the floor. Ironically, they too know I will let them on the bed to nap with me. but at night, they know their places — and are too little to jump up there anyway. I love that the Buddha knew the spirits of the animals. I say it every time someone loses a beloved companion, “May all beings be liberated from suffering.”” And when we love them we sometimes must release them. But for now, enjoy the joy of having a new animal friend and having made a lot of beings very happy. Woof.

    • Thanks, Gail. Losing a pet is so hard but we know from the beginning nothing stays the same and it’s part of the game of life. Even so, it is worth it. Without love, whether it be human of dog love where would we be? Woof right back at you!!

  2. patti stark says:

    You and Bill are my heroes, and Terry is one happy animal! If he only knew that he now resides in Paradise! And EVERYONE is happy. Miracles are the work of angels!

    • Thank you Patti. I’m just doin’ what I need to do. Terry does seem very happy. I wish I knew more about him, but with rescues it’s always a mystery. He is extremely smart and figured out how to dig his way out of the fenced in yard we have for him. But other than that he’s so well behaved and is learning fast. I agree with you about miracles!! And I think our Angel Molly sent us Terry!

  3. Oh mom… the pictures… how precious! I met a little dog this last weekend that looked very much like Terry…. she sprawled out over Zoe’s and my lap for what seemed like forever… and she pranced next to her owner with such a waggle in her tail. I feel completely head over heals. If she hadn’t been spoken for….. oh my! These furry critters certainly have a hold over our hearts, don’t they? Love you…

    • Yeah, I would love to have them all, but there’s only so many I can handle. Terry is really precious and he is trying so hard to please us. Little does he know that all he has to do is wag his tail and snuggle up against me and my heart explodes with love. Just talked with someone today who doesn’t like animals. I can’t imagine. I guess that’s why there are so many of us who do and fall in love the minute we see them. Love you, too!

  4. So wonderful, Joan. So simply, simply wonderful.

  5. What a wonderful story, and I’m so happy this new little fellow has brought so much joy to your life and to Sam’s. Until I had my two, I had no idea how important it was for animals to have companions. Magic and Molly are so close, and I dread the thought of one of them being left alone someday. I’m glad you were able to get another brother for Sam, and that they’ve taken to one another – what a precious gift!

  6. It is a gift to have these animals in my life. We may rescue them, but they rescue us as well, with their unconditional love.