He was born on July 20, 2003. His mother was a beautiful Golden Retriever named Ryzin. His father a handsome Golden Retriever, Kazaam, with a golden coat that resembled autumn wheat.
Ryzin’s Perfect Light is his registered name, but to those who loved him and shared twelve wonderful years – he was Sam. Sammy. Sammy Doots. And as Sam aged, he was given the title “Sir Samuel”. He earned it.
Sam never sired any little Golden Retrievers, but he retrieved his human children when it was necessary. Mostly retrieving them when he felt the need to have something in his mouth. Like a shoe. That’s what Golden Retrievers are bred to do. And he played the role of retriever so well! Without a doubt, Sam possessed every characteristic trait that this beautiful and majestic dog was bred for by Lord Tweedmouth, in the 1800’s.
Sam desired his humans as much as he desired his favorite Nylabone or his stuffed squeaky hedgehog. He didn’t like to be alone, but appreciated uninterrupted sleep. He enjoyed the company of other dogs and missed his doggy sister Heidi when she passed almost five years ago. September stepped in to take Heidi’s place – but only for napping together not tug of war with dad’s shoe (remember he’s a retriever) or Apple’s stuffed Tigger. Tigger later became Sam’s favorite nap time stuffy to cuddle with.
Two years ago, Sam was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma. After having a second opinion, we were guided by a wonderful veterinarian team on giving our boy quality life, but preparing ourselves for this invasive cancer to spread and eventually end his life. There was no surgery to remove the mass behind his spleen – which would have only given his chances of survival 2-3 months without chemo, or 4-6 months with chemo treatments. But Sam defeated the odds. He proved this cancer wrong. Two years later and only having few “episodes” of illness from hemangiosarcoma, he continued to prance while walking…..glow after grooming…..and love like he never loved before. I don’t think Sam ever knew the meaning of having a “bad dog day”. Dog day afternoon for him was full of scents along a walking trail or meeting up with one of his many female dog friends in the neighborhood.
He could charm even the most gruff dogs (or their owner) and warm up to those who were never around dogs. He was charming every day. Even when he knocked your hand out from under the coffee cup you just filled – because it was time for a soft stroke on his head or an ear massage – he managed to charm. Sam was therapy for those days when the clouds just seemed to roll in. He didn’t care about clouds, or the thunderstorm it may have brought, he only cared about his humans.
Thursday, our golden boy lost his fight with cancer. It was time to say goodbye.
Our hearts are heavy. For Easter, we decided to postpone our travel plans and be together as a family. This came so quickly for Apple. She was aware of the stages of his cancer, and she knew he was aging. But her wishes for Sam to turn twelve the day after her birthday, or for the trip to the beach or just the need for more cuddle time…..is hard for a young mind. Perhaps I’m not being clear with my words, I was planning on posting something next week but well….. So I decided tonight was going to be the night where I posted his photos….to tell you what he means to us. And to those who knew Sam.
I’ll share with you something that recently happened…….
One sunny afternoon, Apple and I took Sam with us for a slow stroll to a neighboring park. Apple was on her scooter, as Sam and I just walked…he stalked Mr. Robin’s friends for me (see, he loved me so) as we stopped at the park for Apple to take a break from her scooter to swing. This beautiful young mother and her preschooler son were at the park. Her young son wasn’t too sure about our boy…..but I could tell that Sam already sensed what needed to be done. Because that’s what he did so well. He patiently waited….the preschooler approached with his mother assisting….first was a light touch….then a stroke….then within minutes…..this adorable boy was sitting with my boy…..the one who knew how to gently love so well. Sam opened his own heart to those who were unsure…..afraid….or unwilling. Tears began to swell in my eyes knowing what was taking place here. The mother, well she too felt it. My wonderful Sam was letting this little boy know that all is well….. That was two weeks ago.
I’m sure I will see this mother and her young son again. Though Sam began to show signs of his age and illness……he continued to love and be the “therapy” for those who knew him. My heart leaps when I picture that day in the park.
Thank you Sir Samuel. You will forever be in our hearts ~ we miss you and love you.