Tribute to My Beloved Akita Sam
(Formal Name Samson)
Born November 4, 2000 Died December 26, 2010 6:49 AM
Sam has been such a blessing to us. He became a part of our family on Christmas Day, December 25, 2000 when our nephew, Heath, brought him to our home as a gift to replace Tojo, the Akita that we had lost in August 2000.
We had decided that we would not get another dog after losing Tojo but when we saw that little bundle of fur which we later named Samson, and called Sam, we fell in love with him immediately and we welcomed him into our family. His ears never stood up as most Akitas do, but he was all Akita in his loving devotion to us.
Sam was always, from day one, a joy to have. In house training, he only had one accident. I remember setting the clock and getting up at night to take him out at regular intervals and he immediately caught on that he should go outside. He continued to let us know he had to go outside even in his last few days of life, when he was so sick and weak that we sometimes had to help walk him with a towel under his stomach.
Sam was the most loving dog that I have ever seen and one of his final acts was to give a kiss, even though he was so weak he could barely walk.
When he was about 6 months old, he became scared at a clap of thunder and took off running in fear. He stayed lost for a week while we searched for him and called for him daily. Fortunately, our next door neighbors saw him, called his name and he came to them and they brought him home. He was so covered with red mud that we thought we would never get him cleaned up to see his blonde color again. He finally cleaned up nicely and never again left our side.
For the remainder of his life, he was extremely close to us and very protective of both Dianne and me. Sam didn’t like strangers much, but when each of our grandchildren came to our house for the first time, he seemed to know that they were family and loved on them as if he had known them for his entire life.
Sam loved to chase birds out of HIS yard and he loved to just run and play in the back yard. I can see him now running the entire yard and jumping up to bite playfully at the tree limbs in the back yard. It was a game to him, which he loved.
One of my favorite memories will always be the game he played with me each night. Sam was always giving kisses, but every night when we went to bed, I would say "give me a night kiss" and he would just look at me and withhold the kisses for a few minutes until I asked him several times, then he would give me my kiss for the night. It was a game that he loved and that I loved to play with him.
He loved his chew toys and we had to buy toys that were very durable, if not, his chewing would destroy a toy in a matter of minutes. As much as he loved to chew on toys, he NEVER even bothered anything that was not his. Not once was he ever destructive of anything in the house.
Sam loved his Milkbone Filet Mignon flavored treats and it was a morning ritual that he got them. He would go into the laundry room where they were kept and look up at the shelf until Dianne or I gave him some treats. He would then expect the other one of us to give him some treats. His thing was that each of us had to give him a treat!
For his entire life Sam was such a healthy and playful dog. He had the occasional ear infection, but other than that, he was healthy until the last 12 days of his life. On Monday, December 13, 2010, I left to go on a trip and Sam was his same old playful, loving self. On Wednesday, December 15, Sam started acting strangely and refusing food, even his treats that he loved so much. Dianne called our vet and was told to watch him and if he became worse to call them.
By Thursday morning, December 16, he was so sick and weak that he couldn’t walk. Dianne called the vet’s office and they came to the house to get him and took him to the animal hospital. The vet first thought that he had a tumor with internal bleeding, but nothing showed up on x-rays. Further tests then indicated Canine Addison's disease. Numerous tests were run including an Addison's specific test, which came back negative.
The vet then started him on an aggressive treatment of Sucralfate to help if he did have stomach ulcers or stomach bleeding, Metronidazole, an antifungal, and Doxcycline to treat bacterial infections. Sam started to improve, and was eating better and walking on his own. The vet said that we could take him home on Monday, 12/20/10 but then just to be safe decided to watch him one more night.
On Tuesday, December 21, he was still doing well so we brought him home. Getting into the car and the trip home tired him out and he laid around that day and on Wednesday, December 22. On Thursday, December 23 Sam was much improved. He was acting more like himself, playing with his toys, barking at people going down the street, and loving on us and giving kisses. On Friday, Christmas Eve, Sam started to become lethargic and refusing to eat much at all.
He had a bad night and his breathing became labored and it was a struggle for him to breathe. On Saturday, Christmas Day, Sam was very sick and didn’t want to eat. We cooked him some egg yolks and he ate those. Later, we cooked ground beef for him but he refused it. After that, the only thing he would take was water and milk. He had always loved to lick our ice cream bowls so I gave him two scoops of ice cream and he ate them. Later, I gave him 3 additional scoops of ice cream, which he ate. Before we went to bed, I gave him a bowl of milk and some water.
On Christmas night, Sam struggled to breathe and would stagger to my side of the bed and then over to Dianne's side.
When we got up, we petted Sam and I took a bowl of water over to him and he drank a few sips and gave me a kiss. We then helped him up and I took him outside to use the bathroom, which was very difficult for him as he could barely stand. When he came back in, he went to his rug next to our bed, where he always slept and laid down on his stomach. Dianne knelt down on one side of Sam and I knelt down on the other side of him. He then stretched his front legs out in front of him, dropped his head down and laid his chin between his outstretched legs and took his last breath. When he passed away, he had the two people he loved most on each side of him.
While Sam really struggled the last days of his life, he had a wonderful life with us as part of our family. We were fortunate and blessed to have him with us for 10 years plus one day. We loved him dearly and he returned that love ten fold. He would have given his life to protect us and even is his last days when he was struggling so to breath and live, he lavished us both with his love and kisses. While we did not often have snow, Sam loved it and when he left us, there was a big snow on the ground and he got to go out in it, if only for a moment as one of his final acts.
Sam will be missed and will never be forgotten. I will miss him meeting me at the door each time I return home, with lots of kisses. I will always remember the joy, love, and companionship that he gave us. He will always be my Pal, my Buddy, and my Friend.
Rest In Peace Sam. You are gone from us physically, but you will NEVER be gone from our hearts. Thanks for 10 wonderful years. I Will Always Love You!!!