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Some coincidences in my life are bittersweet. For those that know me, you already know why I have no particular affinity to December and the holiday season. My Father died for the second time in December 2006 (Part 2 coming soon for those that have asked and been waiting). But he died on the birthday of my first furry best friend, Samson Ram. In typical first time furry friend owner style, I had gone over the top and scheduled a furry birthday party for him, including a dog friendly cake with a photo of him on it. It was definitely going to be a fun time for him.

Instead, the festivities were cancelled as my Father died the morning of December 10, 2006. When Samson woke up the next morning, he went looking for my Father. I remember my Mother saying that she was sobbing and praying when Samson came into their room, jumped up to her, licked her tears, and then just cuddled with her as she finished up her prayer. My Mom was particularly scared of dogs, having sustained a major injury when she was a child. A rogue dog had attacked her and bit a chunk of flesh from her. It was a major reason why I never had a dog growing up, no matter how many times I begged and pleaded. But Samson was soft, Samson was small, and with his tongue always sticking out while he slept or when he looked up at you, Samson was able to melt her fears away. This act of kindness when my Father died was the last step to win her over. He was the first dog that my Mom was able to pet, cuddle, walk and play with. She loved him, and in his final minutes, it was in her arms that he found sanctuary, comfort, and love.

As I said, some coincidences in my life are bittersweet. At 6:52 AM on June 12, 2021, Samson died. He had not been doing well for the last few weeks, as we had to hold his body up to pee, hold his head up to eat, and had to give him water through a syringe sometimes. He would moan and cry out loudly if opened his eyes and didn't see me there. From the first week when I brought him home, he has been sleeping on the bed with me, but in the last couple of weeks I had to move him to a bed on the floor as he was rolling off and landing on Rey below him. She was the best furry sister, as she would make sure he was ok, then just make room on her bed for him. Even though he was only around for 1.5 years of her life, she was constantly worried about him in the last few weeks, just lying on the floor next to him when he rested. A shift from the last year where she had all of the expected energy of a puppy, which Samson found exhausting on most days. I'm positive she noticed immediately when we took him and his favorite toys and blankets to get cremated and he didn't return. Having never lost a furry best friend before, I don't really know what to expect from Rey now that Samson is gone.

In his final act of being my first furry best friend, he waited to die until hours after my birthday, ensuring that I won't associate the two for the rest of my life. Because he knew me well, he knew that for the last 14 years I have been unable to separate his birthday from the death of my Father, no matter how much I tried to be happy rather than sullen on that day. Samson knew me, he knew my love of celebrating anything and everything, but especially birthdays. He knew the bittersweet truth that I would never be able to celebrate my own birthday again without remembering his death.

So he waited, and died the next day: one last act of unconditional love.

He was my first furry best friend, carrying me through happiness and death, love and hurt, joy and sadness. The softness of his fur, the warmth in his eyes, and his trademark tongue sticking out are memories that will be held in my heart, mind and soul forever. I just downloaded the pet reincarnation movies A Dog's Purpose and A Dog's Journey. I am capable of holding my emotions together through almost everything, but animals getting hurt or dying on screen is kryptonite so I have yet to watch them. But I will, and in line with the premise that our loving furry friends can find us again and again, throughout our life, I look forward to the day when Samson will be with me again.

Until then, safe journey my friend. I love you.

My Father Died Twice, and I Couldn’t Save Him Eith...
Dr. Véronique Dorais Ram is the recipient of the 2...

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Riverside Medical Clinc is located on the third floor of the Riverside Health Centre Building. Our Physicians are here to service your medical needs.
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Drumheller, Alberta
T0J 0Y0
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