We said goodbye to Sammi the Greyhound on Sunday, 16 November. He was an old boy, lasting twice the age of a typical track dog. In fact, he had just celebrated his final birthday in October.
Sammi was my shadow. He crawled into bed each morning to steal the warm spot Jeff left behind. He often put his head on my pillow or tucked his nose under the cover (and awoke me with his cold nose). Nights were filled with "Sammi! Sammi stop digging, lie down!" as he pawed his bed, the couch, the blankets on the floor and anything else that he had chosen for a nocturnal resting place. He loved veggies. All veggies. In fact, Mike the Neighbor called one summer afternoon to tell us that one of our dogs was eating all the tomatoes off the vine... the culprit was Sammi, of course.
He was the Greyhound that Broke the Rules. He would come on a whistle and could sit on the porch without a leash. In fact, he frequently walked off leash, glued to our sides by loyalty and peace. He never become upset if hugged while sleeping. He loved having his ears rubbed (and would groan in pleasure). He played snappy-roll like a champion. He was gentle with every animal he encountered, and had become Angus' (formerly Aggy) buddy. And always... without fail... he would ooze into bliss if I said, "You won, you won, you won!"
Sammi retired early from racing due to an injured hock. This leg kept him from lure coursing as well, and later developed a tumor. We aren't sure if it was this or a lymph infection, or even a failing organ that took his life. All we know is that it started with swelling in his back legs and, over the course of several days, it crippled him.
His last full day was a Saturday and we knew he might not make it to Monday. We called Dr Kurt the next day when Sammi fell in the upstairs hall and couldn't rise again. He went to the blankets and bedding in the kitchen and Jeff and I took turns laying beside him. I napped a final time next to my shadow, and then Dr Kurt returned our call.
There is no vet on earth quite like ours, and it didn't matter if it was a Sunday or not. "Yes, come out to the house", and so we lifted Sammy into the back of the car, I crawled in next to him, and we went for a drive.
Our vet lives on a beautiful bit of land, a rural spot surrounded by rolling green pastures and the good scents of earth. Sammy's final moments were spent in the comfort of the car he knew so well, with the sounds of the breeze and our voices in his ears. He slipped from this life quietly with only a small protest, and we gave him final kisses and shed tears together.
I'll miss him. I miss him. Each night I peer into the family room upstairs and expect to see him on his couch. I used to give him a kiss and say goodnight every night, and it's hard to break the habit. I expect to hear him lumbering down the stairs. I chop greens for my salad and look around because there isn't any soft nose poking my elbow. He's gone, the last of the big dogs, and it has taken me this long to sit down and write my farewell to him.
Goodbye, good boy. You were loved so very much.
Some Links to Memories:
Some good memories of the old pack.