Monday, February 29, 2016

My Best Friend

Son #2 made an excruciatingly difficult, very mature decision last week.  He is a first year law student and he found that he does not have enough time to keep up with his work and take care of Sam, arguably the most adorable dog in the world.  Sam is very attached to Son #2.  They have been the very best of friends for the past 18 months.  I have shed not a few tears over this decision.  The Ex-Ex and I cannot keep Sam.  We don't have enough time for him either.  Son #1 and GF tried to keep Sam, but it didn't work out.  Sam missed his best friend too much.  Son #2 called me and we talked, tearfully, and I told him I would come for Sam and find him a good home.  Son #2 trusts me to do that.  However, after we parted ways and he went back to his apartment and Sam and I drove home, Son #2 wrote down his feelings and asked me to give it to anyone who was thinking of adopting his dog.

I will let him be the guest blogger today share his story with you.

Sam is best thing that ever happened to me. He found his way into my life when he was around 5 months old and, although I’ve spent days and weeks and months training him, I am sure he has taught me far more about life than I could have ever bestowed upon him. I got Sam in Durham, North Carolina from a rescue shelter where I was informed that he was mistreated and/or neglected by his first owner(s) and was found abandoned on the side of the road.

Sam is a great dog. Like me, it takes some time for Sam to fully trust someone he doesn’t know. Once you’ve proven to him that you’re worth his love and affection he will get very attached and will gladly help you tackle anything life throws at you. He also occasionally has some fairly severe anxiety and can become stressed very easily, especially around bedtime. Sam needs more training on correcting some of his anxiety, the occasional resource guarding, and being social around people he doesn’t know. Despite my best efforts, I was not capable of providing him with the training he needs and deserves in these areas. In the last few months I have become busier than I ever have been and I know he deserves more from a best friend. He needs someone with time, energy, and experience with dogs and training. Sam loves being trained and will happily spend a couple hours every day working on new tricks and commands. Sam is completely house trained and never has accidents inside the house anymore. When he was younger he had an issue with destructive chewing, especially when left alone, however in the last several months this has improved greatly and he is now completely fine being left alone for extended periods of time. Sam also now has a very good bite inhibition when playing and wrestling and will immediately shower you with kisses if you let him know he’s playing too rough. Sam became very bonded to me and although he is trained well with the basics, it may take some time for him to learn he has a new pack leader.

After I moved out of a big two-story house and into a small apartment, Sam’s anxiousness and behavioral problems worsened despite my efforts to improve them. I believe that having a lot of room to run around and play with other dogs will be a tremendous help in correcting some of his behavioral issues. He has always played very well with other dogs and is usually the dog at the park that initiates a big game of chase. Sam is a very smart dog and loves problem solving games and toys. For the year and a half that Sam was by my side he knew exactly how I felt at all times. When I was down, Sam would lie at my feet, lick my face, and stare into the deepest corners of my heart and soul until he saw a smile on my face.

Sam loves walks, staring at squirrels, playing fetch, eating rabbit poop while I ask him not to, and being chased. He absolutely loves being chased around. He hates baths, getting his nails clipped, and being told he can’t get on the couch. Sam can wake up at sunrise and play until the sun goes down or he can sleep in and lay around the house. Sam has never been a particularly loud or vocal dog. After being alone for longer than 3 minutes, he will greet you with a toy (or sock) in his mouth and give you an excited bark as his tail tries to fly off of his back.

I was looking forward to watching Sam grow old and to watch the hair around his snout transition from black to gray. I was looking forward to giving him a big yard to claim as his own. I was looking forward to the next life lesson that Sam would teach me. Never in a million years did I want to give Sam up, but over the past several months it has become clear to me that I can no longer give him everything he needs and deserves. As much as I would have preferred to be selfish and keep him, Sam deserves more than I can provide. I hope you give Sam the chance to win over your heart the way he won mine.

Be happy, Sammy Dog.  Run in the sunshine and the moonlight, dig in the dirt, eat sticks and pine cones, lick the faces of your new loved ones, snore as you sleep soundly, and be your best dog self. Your are loved and will always be remembered.  And missed.

Bon appétit to all furry critters and the people who love them.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Son #2,
This is a very touching letter. You and Sam have a deep love and commitment to one another. You are concerned about Sam's happiness in this smaller space, but consider this: You saved Sam. You brought him back to life. He loves you deeply. You admit he understands your emotions and what you are going through. Perhaps his anxiety in the smaller space is really reflecting his concern for you and all the stress and pressure surrounding you. As they say, "This too shall pass." Sam will be glad to stick it out with you. As you ease into your situation, Sam will too. It is likely that he doesn't want a big house with new people. He just wants to be with you.

I have always had shelter dogs and stray dogs. All would have quite the story to tell if they could. It makes them who they are. But do they really need all that training? I think it's overrated.

Best of luck to you and Sam, #2!

"Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
- Robert Heinlein