1985 ~ 1999

Sam came to us at the age of 1 1/2 from our local animal shelter. We knew he was special when he came up to the chain link gate in his cage and offered his paw in friendship. They told us he had been abused by his former owner and was found living in a van, but you would never know that by the way he acted, always friendly and happy, not the least bit fearful or afraid of people.

He was a handful at first, eating rose bushes, digging up the yard and barking incessantly. We wondered if he would ever settle down. Perhaps another dog would help, we thought, so we got Sam a little brother (our now 10 year old Lhasa Apso, Pugsley).

It wasn't long before Pugsley became Sam's calming influence - and his master as well! Even though he was the oldest and by far the biggest, Sam played second fiddle to Pugsley right from the start. He was always gracious in the way he would step aside for Pugsley, allowing him to have the spotlight.

Sam loved to play and run and fetch. As long as there was a tennis ball or squeaky toy to chew on, Sam was happy. Even in new or unfamilar environments, Sam could spot a tennis ball hidden in the bushes from miles away! But above all, like a lot of big dogs, Sam's one true love was food.

Pizza, hot dogs, cheese, carrots, cereal................if it was edible, Sam wanted it. Along with Pugsley, he once ate 4 large pizzas that he swatted off the kitchen counter, then hid the boxes under the counter in the corner to avoid detection! He was the biggest hog you ever saw. We often joked he should have been named Pavlov, because he would begin to drool at the mere suggestion of food. We never ate a meal at home that didn't include long, begging stares by Sam. We never did find the limit to his capacity. If there was more food in the bowl or on the plate, Sam would get it - he never, ever walked away from as much as a morsel.

And it didn't matter WHAT the food was! He wanted it all! Even fruit and vegetables! HE ATE CELERY!! And loved it! The vet once asked me if Sam had been eating leaves, because he had some "unusual stomach contents" in her words after he had some emergency surgery to repair a cut tendon from a sprinkler head. Leaves, I asked? No - Sam didn't eat leaves that I knew of. Then it hit me. The night before he had eaten 2 baked potatoes, complete with butter and sour cream. What she thought looked like leaves was actually potato skins!

In March of 1999 during a routine exam the vet found some suspicious lumps. 7 malignant tumors were removed. Sam's arthritis got worse. He was put on a diet (which he simply could not understand or tolerate). He got a little better and for awhile, we thought we had beat this. Slower but still happy, Sam was getting along.

But then the decline came. First the seizure, then the hips totally went out, then the loss of his bowel and bladder functions. On September 8th, 1999 at about 6:30 pm, Sam was put down.

He was a kind and gentle soul. We loved him well and will remember him always.

We hope that Doggie Heaven has stocked their pantry well now that Sam is there.

Lance & Laurie Melahn
Father & Mother to Sam & Pugsley

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