The Dogtor Makes His Rounds ~ January 15, 2020

It’s West Pines Wednesday but today is different from all the ones we’ve done over the past several years. Today is Sam’s last day at a therapy dog. This day brings loads of mixed emotions as we always look forward to our time at Lutheran Medical Center and especially West Pines. Sam has repeatedly shown me how much of a difference he makes to all he meets and no doubt today will be the same which leaves me with a full heart of gratitude and pride. Still, it’s also a sad day knowing it is the last day he’ll be doing exactly what he does best. We will miss seeing the many friends we’ve made over the past seven years and the nurses who have showered this boy with loving affection and he in turn, returning the love with his soulful sweet spirit.

Dogtor Sam
Dogtor Sam getting ready for last rounds

The time has come for Sam to sit back and relax in his old age. Though in good health, the rigors of being an all-in Dogtor ever willing to leave his heart on the floor is beginning to take its toll. Recovering after a shift takes much longer and while I know in my heart he would soldier on if asked, it became clear to me now is the right time to let him enjoy what time is left this for this 14+ year old boy. He can nap to his heart’s content, dance with his Ninja sister, play neighborhood concierge as he waits for that Social Security check to show up now that he’s retiring.

As you might expect, this will be a tough day for me and may take a while to process emotionally. I don’t plan to give up pet therapy entirely, in fact, I’ve actively begun searching for another pet who can step into Sam’s bandana and provide the same kind of canine care of a special kind to patients, staff and hospital visitors. We hope the process doesn’t take long but as I’m working with a rescue group, those kinds of special dogs don’t come around nearly as often as I’d like. We’ll keep you posted on that process and hope to share a few memorable stories that we haven’t yet shared about some of the more impactful visits Sam has had.

Mwah 😘

Live, love, bark! 🐾

49 thoughts on “The Dogtor Makes His Rounds ~ January 15, 2020

  1. Happy retirement, Sam. It’s kind of sad, but the best for you. You deserve a long happy retirement. I’m sure West Pines and Lutheran will miss you.

    1. Sam put in just shy of 7 years and over 200 visits at Lutheran and definitely earned the right to retire in comfort. He’s enjoying naps and showing Norman how to irritate Elsa. LOL

    1. Thank you. The beauty of Sam is his ability to enjoy life no matter what he’s doing and his ability to provide therapy to everyone he encounters wherever he is.

  2. Sam you have done a wagnificent job at offering a special paw to those in need🐾💜🐾
    I know you will be missed by both the nurses & those who have had the pleasure of your pawsonel care.
    💜nose nudges💜

  3. An emotional day for sure. Enjoy a well deserved retirement Sam, you have earned it sweet boy
    Mabel & Hilda

    1. It was a very emotional day; I’m still fairly choked up about all the sweet messages we’ve received. Thanks, Mabel and Hilda.

  4. You both are supremely blessed! While this day is sad, extremely sad, there is A LOT of happiness to be found in the fact that Sam IS in good health and as you said, he can relax and just enjoy his day (not that he wasn’t already), but even the best of us have to retire at some point 😉 Hoping you derive comfort from the fact that he has touched sooooooooooooooooo many! Not all woofies are blessed to be here at the age of 14+. Sam still has many, many good days ahead of him and who knows? He just might still train the newbie when he/she arrives! Sending (((hugs))) and love!

  5. Congratulations on your retirement, Sam. We know it’s a bittersweet thing, but we also know your Mom is doing what is best for you. ♥♥

  6. A hard day for you…but once you have a suitable dog to train again you will be back while Sam puts his paws up for a well deserved retirement after all the love he has put into the community.

  7. Oh Dr, Sam, enjoy retirement my furiend, you SO deserve it!!! I can’t even begin to imagine the difference you have made in so many lives. Nows it’s time to put those paws up, and enjoy some margaritas!!! I can drive the truck up, and we can have a pawty!!! BOL!!
    I knows you will be impawsible to replace, butts I am sure your Moms will find a good candidate that can carry on your legacy. ♥
    Ruby ♥

  8. To me you will always be Dogtor Sam. You have brought much love and happiness to so many people over so many years and I can understand that this has had an effect on you and that it is time to retire and think of Sam for a bit. But you wont go quietly into that goodnight – you have the Ninja and Mom to look after. You might be retired and get your paws up most of the time, but we both know A Dogtors’ work is never done. Love and hugs, Sam Love and Hugs…

  9. Oh Sam. Great big hugs to you and your mom. I’m sure that it’s bittersweet for both of you. But now you can snuggle and snooze to your heart’s content. You are a great team who have brought so many smiles to people who need them. Love to you.

  10. Oh big hugs to both of you! Sam has def earned his retirement! I can imagine the mixed emotions, I hope it was a really good day for both of you with sweet memories to cherish. You both have such wonderful hearts and have touched so many lives! Cheers to you both! Dance around the living room tonight! <3

  11. I’m blinking back tears here, too. I so remember Lexi’s last visit. In fact, you’ve probably seen it, as Jeff video taped portions and it is on our blog. Of course, we knew the cancer was dragging her toward the bridge at that point. I’m so glad Sam is 14 and doing well, if just slowing down and taking longer to recover. I understand he gives his all, and that has what has made him such a fantastic therapy dog all these years. May he have many more years to enjoy his retirement.

  12. I am sorry retirement day is here. I am sure your are going to miss it, and that you are going to be missed. Now is time for you to rest and look back on your great achievements. A tip of the tail to you.

  13. Sam, you have served your community well, above and beyond what anyone could have expected. Enjoy each and every day of rest now. We applaud you and your human for all the good you have done and all the joy you have brought into the lives of others.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  14. Congrats on your retirement Sam! We have always been in awe of all you do, and all the humans you have helped over the years. Thank you for all you have done!
    Rosy, Jakey & Arty

  15. Tough day, but so much to be proud of from your years and Sam’s years of service. Enjoy a break for a bit, and for Sam a well-earned retirement. I hope a wonderful dog appears along the way for future visiting.

  16. As Jodi said, “enjoy your retirement, Sam. You’ve earned it.” Not only have you brought joy to your “patients” and the many hospital staff members; but you’ve also brought joy to your many blog readers through sharing your many impactful therapy moments. And, Monika, I know you’ll find the right pooch to carry on for Sam. It takes longer with rescues, as you know. Especially when those reputable rescue groups have done such a good job of helping to find ways for dogs to receive the medical care they need without being a financial burden on their families. (That’s the conundrum I find myself in right now. Not as many rescue Goldens for that very reason.)

  17. Meow yow deer Dogtur sam mee iss sorta happy-sad! Sad you are ree-tirin butt Happy you DID such a wunderfull job fore so long. You earned yore ree-tirement an lotss of Milkboness fore sure! Say maybee you cuud start a Dear Dogtur collum here on yore bloggie?? What do you think???
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    Hello Monika: I can imagine the mix of emotions today! Hold on to all your great memories….. “Dogtur” Sam will always be loved…. You both are such an inspiration to me & many!
    Better make sure you have lots of treats for the ‘old boy’, hahaha!
    {{{hugs}}} Sherri-Ellen

  18. if anyone deserves a rest it’s Sam. He has such heart. This will be a loss for you more than him, and I feel the sadness with you but like you said, you’ll find a young dog who will step into the void and walk with you ministering to the sick. Sam is so so good… I hope he has a long retirement of fun and play ahead. His sister will love having you both home too.

  19. OMG. I’m sure Sam had a stellar day and brought much joy to those he visited. I’m sorry for your loss in that you won’t a therapy dog. I know how hard that is as i recently lost mine and my other rescue I hadn’t had long enough to get screened in. Not being able to visit was hard. I had come to realize the visiting was as beneficial to me and my pups as it was for the residents. And you are right in that those special dogs can be hard to find. I do hope you find one soon and in the mean time enjoy your time with Sam to the max!

  20. 🐬Dear Sam and Monika – Thank you for sharing the extraordinary stories from your years of good works bringing smiles and comfort to those in need. 🐬 Take good care of your sister the Ninja and nurture her with that big heart of yours. 🐬 Another salute to this accomplishment and thank you both again for sharing it with all your fans here on Tails Around The Ranch.🐬 Keen to see what comes next. 🐬

  21. We are sad for the patients but we know you have made the best difficult decision. Happy retirement to the good Dr. Sam

  22. OMD, Sam is retiring! I know his visits will be deeply missed.

    Since this is an emotional time for you, it sounds like Sam will have a chance to provide therapy on an amateur basis as he helps you go through this transition.

  23. Congrats for a successful career and gratitude for all the people you have helped. Well earned break for Yosemite Sam and glad to know you will remain actively involved in the program! BTW I hope to get Kloe enrolled in a therapy class this April. You and Sam have been an inspiration to both of us. Kloe is a special girl and I hope/think she could be good at this.

  24. Dear Sam,
    big hugs to you, scratches behind your ear, and pats on the back, with a heartfelt THANK YOU for all your wonderful work as a “dogtor”! And now I wish you many happy days in retirement. Trust me: that will be a wonderful time for you. I speak with nearly 20 years of experience.
    All the best,

  25. Aww, Sam you served well and I love you for it. A bittersweet post but we understand, having gone through retirements on this end also. I am looking forward to hanging out with you in cyberville following your more restful adventures. Thank you for all the joy you’ve brought to so many. <3 Paulette & gang

  26. Awww… that last day has to be the toughest but, as you said, he’s done more than his share and now is time to enjoy the good and relaxed life. You two have made a proper team!

  27. At 14, he has done more than his fair share of community work. Have a great retirement Sam … and Mom … you’ll get used to him hanging around the house full time eventually!

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