I miss you like crazy

Dear Sammy,

It has been exactly a year since you’ve been gone. I miss you like crazy.

I think about you everyday. Every time the kids see a black lab on the street, they point and exclaim, “Sammy!”

I miss watching you sleep and twitch your whole body in running dreams. I miss you nuzzling my hand and forcing me to pay attention to you. I miss you laying at my feet when I sit on the couch. I miss you running over to me the second you heard me crack the shell of an egg, and wolf down a whole egg in 2 seconds flat. I miss how you look at me with your big, gentle, soulful, brown eyes that are so full of love. You are one of those “best” things that has ever happened to me.

Thank you for all the love and joy you have selflessly shared with me. I miss you so much, buddy!

Mommy

Sammy

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My favorite place

If I have to name my favorite places in the world, Cannon Beach would be one of the top 3. Cliff and I used to go there at least once a year to relax, and my mind is filled with memories of Sammy running up and down the level beach and sniffing everything. The last time we went was our babymoon, while I was 35 weeks pregnant with Joshua.

It is quite a long drive from Vancouver, which prevented us from taking that trip again while Josh and Savanna were little. This year, we feel that it’s about time to take them on a road trip, and see how they do with all the travel training they’ve had so far. As it turns out, they did so much better than I expected, and I am ecstatic (and planning more trips)!

We rented a little cottage a block away from the beach. Every morning we would go to the beach after breakfast. We would make sand castles, dip our toes in the cold ocean, fly kites, and throw our beach balls around. We would then go back to the cottage for lunch, or walk to the town for pizza, then back to the beach again to tire ourselves out.

We had a little farewell ceremony for Sammy, because I think that Cannon Beach is probably his favorite place as well. Cliff and I had a good cry. We just miss our pup so much.

I can’t wait to go back.

cannon-3 cannon-2 cannon       cannon-8 cannon-7 cannon-6 cannon-5

The life of Sam (in pictures)

There are no words to describe the emptiness we feel without our Sam. We keep coming home expecting to see Sam excited to see us, or out of habit get ready to feed him at 6 pm.

Tonight I decided to go through our photos of Sam and post some of them here. I miss him so much.

One of the first days home with us.

One of the first days home with us. 2007.

We napped together on the floor all the time.

We napped together on the floor all the time.

When Sam was younger and full of energy, we spent lots of time playing fetch at the park.

When Sam was younger and full of energy, we spent lots of time playing fetch at the park.

We called him Sam, Sammy, puppy, puppy dog, Sam-poo, poopy.

We called him Sam, Sammy, puppy, puppy dog, Sam-poo, poopy. He was 95 lbs and all muscles.

Sam at work with his buddy, Kevin. Kevin passed away last year.

Sam at work with his buddy, Kevin. Kevin passed away last year.

For his 6th birthday, I baked him a cake with egg and flour.

For his 6th birthday, I baked him a cake with egg and flour.

Going fishing in Mission.

Going fishing in Mission.

Our first trip to the Oregon coast with Sam. He LOVED the place.

Our first trip to the Oregon coast with Sam. He LOVED the place. His tail never stopped wagging.

Sammy was getting a bit anxious, watching us pack for our trip to climb Kilimanjaro.

Sammy was getting a bit anxious, watching us pack for our trip to climb Kilimanjaro. 2008

Being handsome.

Being handsome.

The two best friends hanging out at home.

The two best friends hanging out at home. 2009

In the front yard.

In the front yard.

Poor buddy had surgery to fix a torn ligament.

Poor buddy had surgery to fix a torn ligament in his knee. In hind sight, I feel that Sam never truly recovered from that surgery.

When Sam was recovering from his surgery, Cliff spent a few nights sleeping on the floor next to him to comfort him.

When Sam was recovering from his surgery, Cliff spent a few nights sleeping on the floor next to him to comfort him.

Second trip to the Oregon coast.

Second trip to the Oregon coast.

Chilling out on Salt Spring Island.

Chilling out on Salt Spring Island.

Getaway in Pemberton.

Getaway in Pemberton. 2010

Picnic at Jericho beach.

Picnic at Jericho beach.

Hiking in Pemberton.

Hiking in Pemberton.

One of Sam's favorite things to do--go for his warm water swims.

One of Sam’s favorite things to do–go for his warm water swims. This helps him exercise the leg that he received surgery on.

My handsome boy.

My handsome boy.

Looks like we nap a lot around here. Ha.

Looks like we nap a lot around here. Ha.

Regular nap times on the floor.

Regular nap times on the floor.

Camping in Squamish.

Camping in Squamish.

Camping in Squamish.

Camping in Squamish.

Chilling out at home.

Chilling out at home.

Waiting for baby Joshua to show up.

Waiting for baby Joshua to show up.

Hanging out at home.

Hanging out at home.

Sammy hanging out with Daddy on Cannon Beach.

Sammy hanging out with Daddy on Cannon Beach.

This was our "babymoon". I was 37 weeks pregnant with Josh.

This was our “babymoon”. I was 37 weeks pregnant with Josh.

We walked miles everyday during the babymoon.

We walked miles along the beach. Sam loved it. We were always able to walk him without a leash. He never strayed from us.

Meeting Joshua for the first time. Josh was 2 days old here.

Meeting Joshua for the first time. Josh was 2 days old here.

Right away Sam took to guarding Josh.

Right away Sam took to guarding Josh.

Our first walk together with Joshua.

Our first walk together with Joshua.

Somehow he just knew he needed to protect this baby.

Somehow he just knew he needed to protect this baby.

Sam has always been so tolerant of the kids.

Sam has always been so tolerant of the kids. 2011

Teaching Joshua to do tummy time.

Teaching Joshua to do tummy time.

Checking out our new tent.

Checking out our new tent.

Brothers.

Brothers.

Sam was probably wondering when he's going to get some attention.

Sam was probably wondering when he’s going to get some attention.

All my boys.

All my boys.

Hanging out with Josh.

Hanging out with Josh.

At home.

At home.

Looking so majestic.

Looking so majestic.

God I miss these big paws.

God I miss these big paws.

Hanging out at home.

Hanging out at home.

Going for a walk with Daddy.

Going for a walk with Daddy.

Family photo.

Family photo.

At home.

At home.

My handsome boys.

My handsome boys. 2012

He's really starting to look grey here.

He’s really starting to look grey here.

Handsome as usual.

Goofy as usual.

At home.

At home.

So handsome.

So handsome.

Snow dog.

Snow dog.

Going for a walk.

Going for a walk with Mommy.

At home.

At home.

Sam is a gentle giant.

Sam is a gentle giant.

Sam loves snow.

Sam loves snow.

All my boys together.

All my boys together.

Sun tanning at the park.

Sun tanning at the park.

Joshua is taking forever digging in the sand, and Sam just waits.

Joshua is taking forever digging in the sand, and Sam just waits.

Waiting patiently at the park.

Waiting patiently at the park.

Josh started to think he can walk Sam.

Josh started to think he can walk Sam.

Going for a walk.

Going for a walk. 2013

So cute.

Just snoozing away while I worked in the office.

Just snoozing away while I worked in the office. 2014

Hanging out with Josh at the park.

Hanging out with Josh at the park.

At home.

At home.

At home.

At the park.

At the park.

Those big brown eyes just melt me.

Those big brown eyes just melt me.

In the last year, Sam slept a lot. His hearing was starting to go, and he barely hears us.

In the last year, Sam slept a lot. His hearing was starting to go, and he barely hears us. He was down to 78 lbs–almost 20 lbs less than what he was at his prime. His back legs were skinny, and he struggled to get off the ground.

Sam's last morning at home. Savanna giving him some love.

Sam’s last morning at home. Savanna giving him some love. She really loved Sam.

At the vet, almost time to say good-bye.

At the vet, almost time to say good-bye.

It was very sweet of the nurse to put his IV in and put a heart shaped bandage on.

This was the last picture I took of Sam. It was very sweet of the nurse to put his IV in and put a heart shaped bandage on. After this, I put my camera away, and spent the last few minutes with him while sobbing uncontrollably. He has given all of his love to us, while never making a single demand. Thank you, buddy boy. I miss you so much!

Good-bye, Sammy!

Day 192There’s never a good time to say good-bye to the most faithful companion of 8 years. For the past 8 years, we have had the privilege of having Sam in our lives. From the moment that Cliff and I laid eyes on him, we were in love with him.

We adopted Sam when he was about 6 years old from a family that was moving away to the UK. They were sad to see him go, but they were happy that Sam found a good family. Cliff and I were ecstatic to bring Sam home. We’ve been wanting a dog for a long time, and finally felt like we were at a place in our lives stable enough to bring in a dog.

We went for long walks and hikes with Sam. He had the most personable and relaxed personality. He went to work with Cliff everyday, and quickly became the loveable resident dog. We took Sam everywhere we went. We were inseparable.

When Joshua was born, Sam welcomed him with sniffs and licks. There was never a moment of jealousy or competition. When Savanna was born, he spent countless hours curled up at my feet every time I nursed her.

Sam never asked for anything. He gave us everything he had–all his love, all his attention, and all his heart. He never demanded anything in return, and never kept a record of wrong. Even though he never said a word to us, we knew we couldn’t have asked for a better friend.

Today, Sam passed away peacefully in our arms. We are completely heart broken, and we cannot fathom life without him.

Sammy, thank you for showing me what selflessness and unconditional love means. You have taken a piece of my heart with you, and I will forever be thankful for the love you have shared with me.

Day 101/365 {brother}

While we were driving in the car today, we were talking about trying to visit with my brother this weekend.

Joshua said, “Is 舅舅 (Uncle Grant) your friend?”

I said, “No, 舅舅 is my brother.”

Joshua said, “Who’s my brother?”

I said, “You don’t have a brother.  You have mei-mei.”

Joshua said, “Sam is my brother.”

Angela Chang Photography Day 101 of 365

Day 98/365 {Sam}

Angela Chang Photography Day 98 of 365It has been a while since I gave an update on Sam.  This is a quick cell phone picture of him and I at the vet appointment.

Sam has an enlarged spleen we discovered over a year ago.  All the blood work and tests came back clean, so there was not much we could do about it.  Lately, he has been having some bowel troubles.  I took him to the vet, and we found out he has lost over 10 pounds in the last year.  Nothing in his diet or exercise or routine has changed, so the weight loss is a little concerning.

Anyway, the vet said she suspect there is slow-growing cancer in his abdomen. She said we can do all sorts of tests and ultrasound to find out what it is, but we need to also consider what the implications are if we did find something.  At Sam’s age, the vet said, she recommends quality of life rather than quantity.

Sitting there in the vet office, listening to her trying to be sensitive with the way she gives me the news, with my faithful pal Sam sitting next to me, I all of a sudden lost all control and started bawling.  We adopted Sam just over 7 years ago.  His family was moving back to the UK, and they were giving away two dogs and two cats.  We met Sam and fell in love with him.  Cliff and I were so excited to welcome Sam to our family.  We took him everywhere we went.  In fact, for many years, Cliff took Sam to work with him everyday.

It is easy to take Sam for granted.  He is the most faithful companion.  He spends hours in the winter time warming my feet while I sit on the couch.  If I ever had a bad day, I just need to take one look at his earnest and goofy face, and I would forget all my troubles.  When I am sad, his big brown eyes makes everything better.  He never complained when we started spending less time with him because Joshua and Savanna arrived.  So it’s only natural to assume that he’s going to be there for me forever.

I kept sobbing in the vet office.  Sam puts his head on my knee, looking up at me with his big brown eyes. 

We spent the rest of the time talking about pain control options.  I paid the bill, listened half heartedly to the instructions on giving the meds, and took Sam home.  

We don’t know how much longer we’ll have Sam.  It could be 6 months, and it could be another 3 years.  All I found out at the appointment is just a confirmation that we don’t have forever with Sam.