Parents, if you want wonderful pictures of your children, never teach them to say "cheese"! Please learn from my mistake or you will have thousands of photos just like mine - squinted eyes, scrunched up noses, clenched teeth, and an image that just screams "say cheez!!!". Join me while I search for that one perfect shot that doesn't conjure up images of dairy products. Oh, and unless you like that *messy* look, you'll probably want to clean their faces before you snap away. I never seem to remember myself.

An imporant sidenote is to make sure you document your life! Recording the little details of the who, what, where, when, & why makes for wonderful stories and captures your life for years to come. Because if you are like me, you'll forget it all 5 minutes later!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Memoriam

It is hard to put into words how I'm feeling right now. I've never been much of an animal person, didn't have pets when I was a child, and don't go gaga over other people's pets. But I married a dog lover and soon we had pets of our own. And my dogs...well they're part of my family. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. And all that jazz. So it is hard for me to adequately express just how sad the past couple of weeks have been.

Twelve years ago Samson came into our home. He was just ten weeks old and such a cute little salt and pepper miniature schnauzer. He loved to wander, chase squirrels, explore. He loved to warn the deer that they were too close to his territory and he loved people. He was so not the watch dog (well, expect the time he REALLY didn't like the guy installing our security system...he was growling and sneering and pretty much freaking me out). He was curious and LOVED sniffing the air as we drove in the car. He loved to go for walks and piss on anything and everything. He loved hanging out in the yard, basking in the warmth of the sun. During the winter months, he curled up in front of the fireplace or pellet stove. He was amazing around children and never hurt a fly. He was a wonderful dog and perfect for our family. He was never, ever sick.

If you haven't noticed, I'm referring to Samson in the past tense. It is hard for me to do as it makes me well up with tears. A year ago Samson seemed to be having some problems with his balance, and it seemed to appear pretty much over night. After a long day driving all around Connecticut getting x-rays, CT scans, and MRI's, we discovered that Samson had a brain tumor. An inoperable meningioma that was sitting on the base of his brain, on top of his nerves, and crowding into his brain stem. This was just devastating news. After all, he was never, ever sick! After a little more running around and phone calls, we found a place in Yonkers that did a specialized canine radiation - cyberknife radiation - and Samson was a perfect candidate. There were no promises about the treatment's success or Samson's longevity, but we were optimistic that everything would be great and *poof* the tumor would be gone. So last April, Samson had his cyberknife radiation.

The year was good. Samson was soon back to his normal self. He was chipper and alert, playing with Rocky (our other dog), chasing squirrels, barking at the wind, rolling round in the dirt and who knows what else in the back yard, and living the good life.

And that is how I want to remember him. I want to forget the past few weeks of him getting increasingly weaker, falling over all the time, not being able to move, not being able to breathe normally, not being able to eat or drink, whimpering, not being himself. I want to forget the pain of having to make the decision to put him down so that he could be at peace. I want to forget driving to the vets to pick up his ashes today. I want to forget the day my kids cried, screamed, wailed.

I want to remember Samson's happier days and blissful moments. Like these.



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