Thankful Thursday ~ January 16, 2020

As you might expect, yesterday was a very emotional and overwhelming day. So emotional in fact, I was unable respond to all of the touching comments and well wishes you left about Sam’s last day as a pet therapy dog. To say I was a basketcase as I read each of your sweet notes is more than an understatement. Please know I am ever so grateful for your support and kindness as we begin to write a new chapter in life as we learn how to cope with a new reality in the days ahead.

To say that Sam left it all on the field yesterday is an understatement. Not only did he see more patients at West Pines than we have ever visited with before, he was sweetly patient and attentive as loads of people showered him with loving praise. As usual, he had to sniff out all the go-cups of coffee (don’t know what it is about coffee-he wouldn’t drink it but loves sniffing at their cups), and performed his ‘licking his chops on command’ trick for everyone. It’s the only trick he has ever performed (it’s his belief that performance art is beneath him) and managed to visit with each and every person we encountered. Naturally he spent a  extra moments with several people, all who clearly needed the love of a sweet dog sent to put a smile on their face and in their heart. And yes, there were some tears shed by more than one patient at this wonderful dog’s ability to read what people need.

As I tear up just writing this post, I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of this silly Knucklehead. The staff was touched by him and more than a few tears fell at the thought it was Sam’s last visit. Because we’ve met so many wonderful, caring folks in the nearly seven years of visiting the hospital, I decided we’d also swing by the main hospital to bid our favorites a fond farewell. Once people realized it was our last visit, we were surrounded by folks (many who were new to us) to praise Sam’s efforts. This silly, sweet ‘Dogtor’ has chalked up 219 visits over the years, reaching out to hundreds if not thousands of people extolling the virtues of pet therapists everywhere. I didn’t check to see how many hours he’s logged, but I can guarantee it’s been loads.

As a final act of doing what this boy does best, we went to say goodbye to our friends in the hospital lab. When we arrived, there was quite the commotion going on in the waiting room. A baby was wailing his head off much to his mother’s chagrin. She was unsuccessful at  comforting the little tyke but once he saw Sam he blinked through tears, babbled something I couldn’t decipher as Sam stopped dead in his tracks. There was one more person to comfort before saying goodbye. He walked up to the little guy who patted his back with chubby little hands. Then the little boy kissed Sam on his fluffy back and head. Repeatedly. Sam stood here relishing the attention and stuck his nose in the little boy’s face, as if to say, “there, there, little man…it’ll all be good. With tears dried up, the little boy began to smile and continued to simultaneously pat and kiss him as he tottered around Sam on wobbly legs. I nearly lost it at this point especially when people commented on how sweet the whole scene was.

Certainly that small chance encounter was emblematic of what we’ve experienced over the years but this one was an extra sweet experience and one that will remain in my heart for a long, long time.

We finished our goodbyes to those who had been ever so gracious and kind over the years with vows of staying in touch. As I sat in the car ready to head home, I had to spend several minutes composing myself. Once again, the hospital gave us more than we left. I am truly blessed to have experienced such camaraderie over the years to both me and to Dogtor Sam. What a community of people, those we visit and those who visit us, here as well in person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of you following us, leaving such special comments over the years and supporting our efforts to make this world a bit better than we found it. Mere words of thanks don’t seem sufficient for all you’ve given us but please know I feel profoundly blessed and grateful for each and every one of you.

Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

98 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday ~ January 16, 2020

  1. Oh my goodness. Dogter Sam helping that little boy brought tears to my eyes. You and Sam have done so much good in this world. Congrats and hugs to both of you.

    1. We never know what we’ll face, but Sam took it all in stride every day he went out. Squalling babies are a guaranteed trigger for him. He hates it when little guys are distressed.

  2. What a beautiful precious way to end Sam’s last day as a Therapy dog. Paws crossed for you as you search for that new partner to carry on Sam’s work
    hugs
    Mabel & Hilda

  3. 🐬Truly enjoy being part of this caring and sharing community🐬🐬An oasis in a parched desert world right now. 🐬 Looking forward with you guys to the trails ahead. 🐬

    1. Thank you. As you can imagine, “peaceful” might not be the first word that comes to mind around the Ranch but we’ll certainly give it our best effort as we did at therapy visits. I’m looking for a suitable candidate to follow in Sam’s pawprints and actually evaluating a dog this weekend. We’ll see what the future brings!

    1. Thank you, Helen. Yes, we are truly blessed in our community, both at the hospital as well as online which has been so amazing. We are truly blessed.

  4. Awe Sam and mom. I had no idea you were retiring. Thank you two so much for your service! I know what a difference you’ve made in the lives of others and that is such a wonderful feeling. Congrats on over 200 visits. May the next chapter in your lives be a good one. Bless you Sam.

    1. Many thanks for the kind thoughts. We are so grateful for the chance to bring some joy to people.

  5. Oh, tears filled my eyes reading this post. Not only does Sam earn my heartfelt praise and admiration for 7 years of a job well done, but Monika so do you. Without you Sam never would have touched so many lives soothing so many souls. You are a team of caregivers and you both are a blessing to so many. Extra hugs and cookies for Sam and our love to you!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Nat. You know that Sam is the real star, I only provide him the means to get to where he is most needed. 🥰

  6. I teared up reading this over first coffee of the day. It is still dark out and the wind is screaming; it’s too cold to even contemplate going out let alone rustling my poodle-love out of his bed. If I were there I’d surely give “Dogtor” Sam a paw-pump, a treat, and too many hugs to count. Sending our best to you and yours and thank YOU for all you have given to your community. 🙏❤️

    1. Thank you so much. We have been very fortunate to bring joy to those who need it. And Sam says he’d gladly accept your paw-bump, treat and hug. He lives for all of those! 🥰

  7. What a beautiful & poignant tribute to Dogtur Sam & to you too Monika! And the last visit with the wee baby boy was a fitting way to say “Goodbye”.
    Your Knucklehead did you proud!!!
    (((hugs))) & <3 BellaDharma'ss LadyMew

    1. Indeed, he once again proved why he was such a sweet therapy dog. Thanks for your kids words, BellaDharma and LadyMew.

    1. It gave me chills and such a warm feeling that he ended on such an amazing note, just one of many).

  8. I know yesterday was a tough day for you and Sam. You will never know all the lives you touched in profound ways. I know you and Sam got a lot of spiritual reward for you volunteer efforts but also know the toll it took on Sam. Thank you for generously giving so much of your time and talent. Love you! Terry

    1. It has been harder than I thought it would be. Luckily he grounds me whether I’m at home or at the hospital. #soblessed

    2. It was a fitting final day, and one that will buoy my spirit as we figure out the next chapter. xxoo

  9. All the skills, knowledge, love and understanding that you are known for, will be needed in your “Retirement” Sam as you look after Mom and the Ninja and begin a new chapter in your life.. For myself, I have to say that these last years it has been my privilege to know you and follow you, read of your visits and be in awe of the love and care you have given to so many people. Benji and I send you our love.

    1. He continues to provide therapy for us as well as those we encounter day to day. He was a great therapist when we took the Ninja to the vet for routine blood work. She might have been nervous at strangers poking and prodding her but she handled it well with big brother by her side. 😍

    1. The blubbering is somewhat out of character for me, but the reason for it makes it worthwhile. 😍

  10. Oh, Monika and Dogtor Sam, such a sweet post!! I wonder if you truly know how much impact you’ve had on us. We’ve only met digitally, yet I feel like we’ve known each other in person for “fur-ever”. You two had inspired me to work with Radar to become a pet therapist once he was free and clear of the heartworms. It wasn’t meant to be; but hopefully one day soon Radar will find us another boy to carry on his mission.

    1. Thank you, Sue. It was quite the revelation to realize the impact we both seemed to have on folks at the hospital and West Pines. We know when we bring tears to people’s eyes, they are tears of comfort and joy in their heart. I have no doubt, dear Radar would have made a wonderful therapy dog and is probably providing much needed comfort to dogs across the Bridge. I hope you are able to find another boy that brings the same level of joy to your heart. 🥰

  11. I have to go and read yesterday’s post…I no longer am online every day and I haven’t seen it yet. You should be so proud of Sam and all that he accomplished and all of the people he gave love to and proud of yourself for making it possible for him! xoxo

    1. Thanks so much, Caren. I am filled with such gratitude for all those we’ve encountered, in person as well as online. The friendships have been so comforting and mean the world to me. Hugs to you with extra ear rubs for your boys.

  12. I can only imagine just how emotional today was and you are allowed to be a blubbering mess. It was so touching to read and what a great way to end his rounds by comforting a chubby little cherub!

    1. That whole scene keeps playing over and over in my mind and heart. Sam’s done similar scenes over the years, but that little guy and his reaction to him will definitely be a top pick in our highlight reel.

    2. 🥰 Sam performed at the top of his game and provided comfort to not only that little kiddo, but to me as well. There’s nothing quite like a dog licking away any blubbering and swelling the heart with joy and pride.

    1. Hard barely covers it. And my reaction has pretty much overwhelmed me. Thank you for your support. Knowing that the sharing of this remarkable knucklehead has brought such entertainment and joy to people all over the world warms my heart.

  13. What a wonderful final day of visits for both of you. I’m sure you’ll be back to it at some point with a new pup, but I hope you get to take a time of transition and rest for a bit. Big changes like these are so hard. Be kind to yourself, and tell everyone around you I said to be kind to you too or Gracie and I will come have a talking to with them!!

    1. Aww, sweet Gracie, I’m sure she could show anyone who was unkind. As soon as I find a new dog, we’ll get back in the saddle. It’s such meaningful work.

    2. Many thanks. I’m checking out a mature dog this weekend to see if he might be a suitable candidate. We’ve got our paws crossed.

        1. Just a stroke of luck through a breed rescue I support. It may not pan out but I thought I should at least check this boy out.

    1. It was as touching as I would have expected from him. Thanks, Colin! Give Ray an extra ear rub from us.

    2. It was a great way to end a great career. Now he can just be the resident knuckleheaded big brother and enjoy walks around the lake and gorgeous sunsets. He’ll also probably be quite keen for the less than monthly bathes and grooming sessions. LOL

    1. No, she’s not suitable for therapy work, and with her epilepsy, it would be far too stressful. I’m looking for another pooch to carry on in Sam’s footsteps who will be as sweet and tolerant of Elsa’s shenanigans.

  14. Oh Sam, you are a wonderful fella. I am glad my mascara is waterproof – tears did flow after reading yesterday’s and today’s post. Enjoy your well deserved retirement!!! Now I can’t wait for my workday to end so I can go home and hug my ALex!!! (Like he never gets any hugs!!!)

    1. The waterworks around here have been pretty non-stop. But all tears of joy. Thanks for your support and be sure to give your Alex and extra ear rub from us.

  15. Well you’re not the only one tearing up. As I read this lovely and tender post my eyes are watery and throat a little chocked up. Thanks M for sharing your experience on Sam’s last working day and all the past days you’ve shared with us. All the best from me and the girls at The Golden K!

  16. aweeee. You’ll do this again, later with another good dog… you will, and now you have time to let Sam pick people on walks to help, as he will. You know even people at a store need healing and fur therapy, people walk to alleviate fears and sorrows, people you’ll run into with sam.

    1. I’ve been a blubbering mess these past few days. We are so lucky to have met so many people, in person and digitally. Thank you for being in our world.

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