Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I wrote this back at the first of the year, and although I've been terribly remiss in posting this year, I really wanted to share this.

The same day we lost Poncho, we had to put Sam down. It was a rough day.

Sam was an amazing friend who quickly became part of the family. From the time he was little, he wanted to work, and work he did. When we lived in the mountains we didn't have any help and DH often used the dogs to help him gather the cattle off of the brushy mountainsides. Sam was a pro. He was loyal and tenacious and he had heart. The only thing he didn't have in him was quit. He would go until he couldn't go any more and then he would go some more. Some mornings his feet would be so sore from trotting through the rocks, but he would hobble to the barn at the first sight of DH. The only way we could keep him from following would be to tie him up and then just watch him pout.

Even in his old age, he'd jump at the chance to work. He's often be the first one out to the pens when we worked cattle here at the house:

He had a hitch in his gait in later years, but he acted like a puppy when the boys would saddle up and he was never far behind. He's hard to spot in this shot, but take my word for it, his tail is a waggin, his tongue is hanging out, and he is elated!

He was the best dog. So good and gentle with the kids, but an absolute bear when it came to going after pigs or javalenas. Once he and DH got into some pigs by a dirt tank and Sam and this pig went to the mat. They both ended up in the water and DH thought that was going to be the end of Sam, but he persevered and climbed out the victor with only a torn ear as a reminder of the battle.
Sam was 13. Old for a big working dog. About 2 years ago, we noticed he was having trouble retaining heat so I fixed up a place for him to sleep in out front mud room and opened the door for him. He peered in, but wouldn't have even put one paw in the house. We tried to coax him in, drag him in, even placing raw meat just inside the door. He didn't budge. So we carried him in and placed him on the pet bed. He looked perplexed, but soon settled in for the night and before long, we had to fight him to beat him to the door at night!

Everyone loved Sam. Even the tough old cowboys who helped us out always had a kind word and a few loving scratches for him. One morning I found this:

Clint had draped his coat over that old dog when the crew had come in for breakfast. Said he looked cold. Gotta love a guy who loves a smelly old dog like that.

Sam loved to go. Anywhere. And fishing was no exception, We started toting him around from the time he was just a little guy.

He was even included in Christmas card photos.

When we would rope, he was right beside us although we often had to chide him for chasing the steers down the arena. If we tied him up, he would complain and bark for a bit and then look left out. He had a job to do and we weren't letting him do it!

One of his favorite places to relax was the water trough. Almost every day when the weather was warm, he would make a beeline for the water and splash around or just stand there, completely content. The dog knew how to enjoy life. We should all take a lesson from Sam and take time to enjoy a good soak in the water trough.

One day I walked out to find this:

For some reason only known to Sam, he loved this red wagon. It was once the kids' and now we use to to haul off branches and stuff when we work in the yard. It's not exactly Sam sized, but that didn't stop him from making it his.

He seemed to gain some kind of comfort from squeezing into that little red wagon and who was I to tell him he wouldn't fit.

And yes, I drug a blanket out there for him. Old Sam had earned his retirement and a little TLC never hurt anyone.

The last year or so, he would bark at night when he wanted out so I would get up and let him out. DH once joked that it gave him hope that if I would be so kind to an old dog like Sam, I might take pretty good care of him when he got old. LOL! Yes dear, I'll gladly get up at night and let you out too!

So many good memories. Our critters really do become part of the family and I'm grateful for the time we have them in our lives. Thank for so many good years Sam.


Ranch wife said...

Well are you just determined my make me weep or what!

Good post for a good dog.


Theona said...

Karin, you could write a newspaper column or magazine column. You bring your reader into your life so well. Love this story.

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