My wife, Debbey, and I came back from the vets office, bringing back the body of our dear little white-and-tan Shih Tzu Samantha. She will join the burial spots of several of her siblings. My heart aches with the pain of what we had to do, to ease the problems that Life had finally over-burdened her with. She loved to wag her tail and even as the doctor began to give her the injection that would end her troubles, she wagged her tail one last time, as if to tell us she understood. My life will be less rich because of her absence, as I loved her very much, and was graced with her presence for 10 long years, but I trust that the memories of her will one day be a warm comfort instead of the sharp pain I must now go through. I am confident of that coming day, partly because Samantha (Sam) was a living example of the concept called Indomitable Spirit.
Born blind, due to carelessness by her mothers breeder (who gave the mother a distemper shot AFTER the puppies were in-place), it was a near-miracle that she even survived. In fact, she came into our home with us suspecting that she would die soon, as the others in the litter had. When she was about one year old, the vet had to remove one of her eyes completely (somehow leaving behind a patch of dark hair that looked almost like the eye was still there) and Debbey had to continually watch the other one to make sure it didnt get infected. The same situation that caused the blindness also created a mental condition that would occasionally cause her to freak out but that didnt happen too often and the frequency dropped to almost nil for the last few years. What never left her was the miraculous way in which she could get around.
It was almost as if she had some sort of magical radar that could enable her to sense the presence of objects in her path, but more importantly an uncanny ability to maintain an internal Map of her environment that could usually let her literally race around and get to the places she wanted to get to. When her map was a little off or the environment had changed and she hadnt had time to update her inertial navigation, she would run head-first smack into an object, living or inanimate, even at a dead run. And there occured the biggest part of the miracle, since it never seemed to faze her when that happened. She would just back up and try to go around. Personally, had I been in her situation, I would probably have just sat in the middle of the floor, crying and refusing to even try to move. But not Samantha. I would be proud if I could face Lifes problems with even half the resiliency she showed every day of her life.
I will, especially, always keep in my mind and heart, the sight and sound of her playing with her softball. We had a house on a fairly large lot, with an asphalt driveway running up the middle. We would put her in the grass on one side of that driveway and put a standard softball on the ground in front of her. She would push it with her nose and chase after it, gleefully barking. (Barking was usually part of all of her play, even with her favorite little plastic chew bones.) I will never know how she managed to follow the path of that ball, but she could usually go right to where it had stopped rolling and give it another push, running at top speed, back and forth across that driveway and up and down the grassy yards. It was a joy to behold. My idea of Heaven HAS to include meeting her again, as she chases a ball beside the Rainbow Bridge.
Oh, if I could only see the happiness she saw as she chased that ball. Maybe I could wag my tail, too. I know I would be a better person for it.