Happy Birthday to an Angel

Wash Park Sam
Handsome boy at Wash Park

On this date in 2005,  a reddish-blonde knucklehead entered the world. Officially christened “Brians Yosemite Sam” with the American Kennel Club, he was simply known as “Sam” to his owners. For you newer readers, Sam was the inspiration behind this blog.

For years, Sam was a proverbial pogo stick. Bouncing straight up and down to express excitement with life, he bounced straight into my heart. Sam was the most unfocused dog I’d ever met, long after his puppy years. Most dogs grow out of that puppy exuberance, but Sam didn’t seem to recognize it was the natural progression of acting more dignified as he aged and was actually normal. When I brought him home, he quickly burrowed deep into my soul and made his second best friend my Old English Sheepdog, Puck. For his entire life, he adored her and even after she passed, he  would always do double takes whenever we encountered one, thinking it was his long lost pal.

In 2015, Sam graciously and lovingly welcomed a very feral Ninja. He seemed to realize Elsa needed extra gentle loving and slowly earned her trust. Though never great pals like he was with Puck, he patiently and selflessly taught her how to be a dog instead of a shut down puppy-mill survivor.

Despite his buoyant personality or maybe because of it, it was hard not to just love on this goofball.  I just needed to find out what his job in life should be, beyond being an absolute treasure of a companion.

It was clear early on that Sam had a special knack for bringing joy and smiles to all he met. He was the neighborhood concierge, greeting every two and four legged inhabitant walking past the yard with an infectiously charming personality. Everyone loved him and he made them all feel special. It seemed only natural to share his gift with others and thus began the process of training for pet therapy work. For weeks I was convinced he would fail since he just couldn’t seem to stay focused on even simple tasks. Sam’s mantra in life was “oooh, a kitten…look a butterfly…ahh…shiny object!!” More than once I nearly abandoned the notion of getting through classes. When the time came for the test, not only did he perform flawlessly, he outshined all his classmates. I was stunned but ever so grateful to be able to share his gift of love with others.

We began visiting patients and in no time, Sam became a beloved rock star at hospital but especially with mental health patients. He would calmly allow them to hug him (which most dogs would not appreciate) and patiently waited while they petted him. His crush on all nurses was legendary and he often had eight or more surrounding him, oohing and ahhing over those soulful brown eyes, soft fur and Swiffer-like tail that was constantly in hyper-motion whenever people were around him.

Sam brought such joy and happiness to everyone at pet therapy but especially to me. While I have Norman to carry on in Sam’s pawprints at hospital and the Ninja to remind me that “still waters run deep,” Sam will always hold an extra special place in my heart.

Sam birthdayOn his Sweet Sixteenth birthday, I send my very best birthday wishes to my heart dog. Happy birthday, Knucklehead. I miss you every. single. day. You’ll always be in my heart and soul. Love and miss ya, buddy!

Angel Sam

Live, love, bark! 🐾

81 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to an Angel

  1. Sending hugs, Monika. I was so sad when I found out Sam had passed. I have a few dogs I’ve grown very attached to through blogging and there’s been Sam, Max the dog and another dog in London. Bilbo was a special dog for us being ours from a pup and our only dog much of the time. Having the three dogs diffuses things a bit. I still do a double take when I see Sam-a-likes around here. So good to honour him!
    Love and best wishes,

    1. Thank you, Jan, yes, he was so very special. It’s been hard to deal with his loss.

    1. Thank you! I cried the whole time I was drafting it. He was my heart dog and brought so much joy and love to all he encountered.

  2. Wee two miss Sam Poochie still…hee sure was larger than Life wasn’t hee Miss Monika??
    An so clevurr an so hansum an nobell even…
    Run free Sam! Happy 16th Birfday….
    **purrss** BellaDharma an BellaSita **blows kissess** to you

  3. Lulu: “Happy belated birthday over the Rainbow Bridge, Sam! I’m sure you stopped by Tucker’s Everlasting Rainbow Bridge Buffet to hang with Dennis and the gang and get a special treat!”

    1. Being the social butterfly Sam was, I’m sure he’s been in touch with all of Blogville’s Rainbow Fur-iends and has organized loads of get-togethers. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    1. I’d love to think so. And he’s no doubt still spreading joy throughout heaven.

  4. I believe that his passing was a loss to many of us. I never met him, but I always felt I knew him and I loved reading about his hospital visits and seeing his photographs. I love Norman and I adore my favourite Ninja, but Sam will always hold a special place. A very Happy Birthday, Old Friend.

    1. You’re so right, John…Sam held a special place in so many people’s heart and would have loved meeting all his online friends. He is sorely missed in so many ways but his capacity to love others is probably at the top of the list. Many thanks for your kind words. I expect Sam’s tail wagging furiously by your birthday wishes.

  5. It is true! There are particular friends that hold a bigger position than others. Perhaps, they saw us over a particularly bad time or just made us feel protected that much more, Who knows. They all mean the world to us. Tyebe is especially happy if you want to show your love by playing.

    Sam we wish you a happy gotcha day,

    1. There’s something very special about a engaging playful pet. They just seem to be begging for attention…which is pretty darn easy to accommodate. Thanks for the birthday greetings. 🥰

  6. Sorry I’m late with this, but Happy Heavenly Birthday Sam. Like my girls and Radar, Sam was a sweetheart and an angel on earth. This is a beautiful tribute to your beloved boy, Monika. Thank you for having shared him with us! His antics and his love for everyone always made me smile.

    1. Your kind words touched me, Sue. Sam is no doubt enjoying angel-hood with Radar and the girls, romping pain free from any earthly limitations with the joy that characterized their lives with us. Hugs to you and all your fur-loves.

  7. I understand that even as you honor sweet Sam’s 16th birthday, your heart is still full of pain. I’m afraid it’s the price we pay for such a deep love. Blessings to you as we all remember your precious boy.

    1. Thank you, Amy. Yes, there definitely is a ‘charge’ for the privilege of having one of these precious companions in our lives and tears are the currency. ❤️‍🩹

    1. Thank you, Debra. He was such a special companion who brought a ton of joy to people.

  8. Happy Birthday to Sam!!! We bet there was a grand celebration over the Rainbow Bridge with all of our Angels across the world. We miss him too.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes. No doubt Molly and Sam are chasing each other around like crazy and waiting for us to join them. ❤️‍🩹

          1. That is exactly what Sam was all about. He was pure love in a fur coat and would be pleased knowing he was still touching lives. 🥰

  9. I loved him too. He was a most special pup.

    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday Dear Angel Sam,♪♫
    ♪♫Happy Birthday to you.♪♫

    Big healing hugs to you on this day. Scritches to the pups and a smooch to Norman. ♥

  10. What a precious “birthday message” to your totally adorable Sam. He sure had a happy life and it sounds like he passed that happiness on to everyone he met. I know what it’s like to lose a soul pet and those paw prints are permanently on our souls. Sending you (and Angel Sam) a hug…..

    Love, Pam

    1. Many thanks for the hug. They’ve been especially today. We all think we have the cutest, best pet in the world and you know what…we all do. 💖

    1. Thanks for your kind words which mean the world to me. Sam had that special ability to touch everyone who met him; I hope I did his best qualities justice.

    1. Thanks, Cupcake. He loved bringing smiles (and lord knows he knew just how to do that…even unintentionally. I miss the Knucklehead beyond words. 💙

    1. Thanks for those kind words, Colin. Even after 19 months, I still miss him like crazy. He was definitely one of a kind.

    1. Many thanks, Caren. Sam, just like Cody and Dakota for you, meant the world. They’ll always be loved but sorely missed.

    1. Because he was such a love toward other dogs, no doubt he’s set up standing play dates with your beloved ‘fur-iends.’ 💙

  11. How lucky you were. I understand how hard it is to be left behind that way. I guess angels like him can’t take form forever.

    1. Lucky and so incredibly blessed. I’ve seen signs from him over the past 18+ months; like all who’ve passed, he’s free of any pain, illness and no longer confined by age. ❤️‍🩹

  12. Memories sweet and sad at the same time: what a wonderful homage to that ever so loveable guy. I’ve never met him, but from your blog he is in my heart.

    1. That’s so kind of you to say, thank you, Pit! It means a lot to me that so many people loved this crazy knucklehead who brought such joy to everyone. 💙

    1. That’s very kind-thank you. Just like Easy, Sam was one of those special dogs that always remains in your heart.

  13. I’m all choked up and have blurry vision, suddenly. Happy Birthday, Angel. You were (are) loved by all who knew ya – even those of us who only met you virtually. xoxo
    Special hugs to your mama.

    1. {Sniffle, sniffle} It was a tough post to write; I miss him so much; he was such a light in a world of darkness. Thank you my friend.

    1. He sure was, Amy. And not a day goes by I don’t think of him and all the love he had for all he met.

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