Friday, October 07, 2005

The Life of a Dog: Sam's posts from 8/26/04 through 10/5/05

This blog is by Sam, the beautiful all-black German Shepherd Dog. Nearly 300 posts chronicle his life from the day he was rescued from the Humane Society, to the day he took his final nap, a period of 13 1/2 months. Most entries are written by Sam himself; a few are written by his pet guardian.

Sam the beautiful all-black German Shepherd Dog on 2/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Sam in his personal heaven. Thanks to China and her human for creating this portrait. (Click on the picture to make it larger.)Posted by Picasa

Remembrance of Sammy by Tami from the DM list. (Click on picture to make it larger.) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Eulogy To Sam

This post is written by Cynthia, Sam's pet guardian.

Dear Fans, Friends, and Cyberdog Buddies of Sam the beautiful all-black German Shepherd Dog,

I set Sammy free today at 5pm PST. There was no one particular reason, it’s just everything all added up. I want him to leave happy rather than when he was suffering. He was so paralyzed at this point that he couldn't even get to his water dish if it was beyond the end of his nose.

Sam had a wonderful day starting with sleeping next to me all night with me rubbing his ears and nose continuously. In the morning he ate lots of ice cubes and an expecially large breakfast. Then he got fresh peanut butter in his Kong and a rawhide bone which he chewed on for hours.

His swimming lesson was great. He and Connie, his swim instructor, called it a truce and he gladly let her rub his ears. He didn't even once try to bite her when he was swimming. There are photos of Sam swimming in the posts below, along with some videos.

Sammy left this world after eating 5 bananas in one day, in fact, he had a banana chunk in his mouth at the very end. He passed away on the floor of the back seat of the suburban, one of his very favorite places, satiated with bananas and treats. He closed his eyes and went to the better place where his legs work again and he can run and bark and actually catch and chew on cats.

While every pet guardian thinks their pet is the best, Sammy was the bestest of the best! I don't need to tell you about his antics; you can read about them in his words right here in his blog.

However, I do want to mention his great attitude through all of his difficulties.

Sammy never lost his sense of knowing what is really important in life: food, ice cubes, bananas, being in the house, car rides, and barking at the cats. His sense of self of self-importance never wavered even as he became less and less mobile. He knew that if an ice cube slid out of reach, it was my job to fetch it for him.

And he kept up his job of barking at the cats, and the squirrels and the birds in the yard, without complaint despite his handicap. In fact, he enjoyed his job tremendously even though the possibility of catching and eating one of the luscious felines became unlikely. The cats kept up their part of the game by continuing to completely ignore him.

He kept working at his personal goal -- biting his swim instructor -- without becoming discouraged despite his total lack of success.

Over time he proved to Elsa the Meanie that he, Sammy, was the top dog and she was subordinate to him.

When disaster struck from the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, Sammy willingly gave up his treat allowance to the relevant Humane Societies.

Sammy never figured out that he was paralyzed and couldn't walk. He just dealt with what he could do and lived happily within his physical limitations. He is my hero for keeping his spirits up without fail, and always appreciating a banana.

I will be making a donation to Refugio Franciscano in Mexico in Sam's name.

Additional eulogies to Sammy Wammy can be found in the comments to this post and the surrounding posts, and on the blogs of his canine blogging buddies:

It's time to say goodbye, posted by China, the medium bug-eyed red mutt
Goodbye Sammy, posted by IndyPindy the Husky
Goodbye Sammy, Miss you, posted by Freda the Delta Bunny GSD
Nicknames, posted by Leader dog Willow and Stella the puppy
Ode to Sammy, posted by Heidi the Way Under Dog


Many thanks to all of the people who helped me with Sammy including his vets and the staffs who cared for him at Adobe Animal Hospital, Pet's Friend Animal Clinic, and the Animal Care Center, the San Francisco Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue group who saved him from euthanasia, the Degenerative Myelopathy Yahoo Group who provided support, knowledge, a variety of DM-specific equipment, and friends galore, his cyberdog (and cybercat) buddies and their humans, his blog fan club, my friends and family who loved him, his swim instructor Connie Frank of Aquadog who laughed off his attempts to bite her, his sibling doggies Elsa, Pumpkin and Buffy who tolerated him, the luscious felines Misty and Charli who ignored him, and my good friend Cindy who kept me going when times were really tough.

The Videos of Sammy Wammy

All of these videos were taken on Sam's last day at his swimming lesson with Connie Frank of Aquadog.

Sam hated the camera so it was always hard to get good photos of him.

Before his swimming lesson on the grass: Sam I

Swimming: Sam II Sam III Sam IV Sam V
"The False Sense of Security" mentioned refers to how Sam would sneak an attempt to bite Connie by first pretending that all was fine and that he wasn't going to try. In fact, in this last swimming session, he never did try to bite her showing that he knew she loved him and that he didn't want to play the "game" anymore. Sam VI Sam VII Sam VIII

Photo: Sam swimming on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Sam swimming on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Sam swimming on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Sam swimming on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Sam relaxing on the lawn after swimming on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Sam in the family room on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Looking longingly back at the house on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Outside in the backyard after eating my breakfast on 10/5/05

Photo: Outside in the backyard after eating my breakfast on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: No! I don't want you to take my picture! on 10/5/05

Photo: No! I don't want you to take my picture! on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Trying to get away from the evil camera in the backyard on 10/5/05

Photo: Trying to get away from the evil camera in the backyard on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: Eating ice cubes in the family room on 10/5/05

Photo: Eating ice cubes in the family room on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: In my favorite spot in the family room on 10/5/05

Photo: In my favorite spot in the family room on 10/5/05 Posted by Picasa

Photo: At the German Shepherd Rescue Picnic on 9/11/05

Photo: At the German Shepherd Rescue Picnic on 9/11/05 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Happy Dog with Lots of Problems

I'm home and happy! I've been home since Tuesday when Mom came and picked me up at the vet. I almost had to drive home though Mom was so traumatized by the bill. I know I am a lot of work to take care of and Mom is really busy with packing and winding up the house sale and working on her consulting business and her new apparel business (WearAware). Plus we got the really bad news that Elsa most likely has degenerative myelopathy too. Mom can barely manage taking care of me -- having two German Shepherds that cannot walk at the same time seems unmaneagable.

I'm very upbeat all the time because I am only a dog. Even though I don't get treats anymore since Mom is afraid I will get aspiration pnuemonia again, and I have to eat my food standing up (Mom holds me up while I eat, luckily for her I eat very, very quickly), I still get lots of ice cubes, I get to be in the house 99% of the time, and I get ear rubs and nose squeezes all day. Who could ask for more?

I just wish Mom didn't worry so much about me and now Elsa too.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Feverish Dog

I'm still in the Adobe Hospital ICU recovering from pneumonia. I'm eating great and alert and happy, but Dr. O'Day says my fever still spikes too high (103.9 today). She wants me to stay in the ICU one more day. Dr. Shandro will be taking over my care until Monday when Dr. O'Day returns. I like both doctors very much. Dr. Shandro was my vet when I had pneumonia in July.

Mom came to visit me tonight and told me she was taking a trip for a few days. I'm not happy about being stuck here with no visitors, but worse, Mom forgot my BANANA! She promised to bring me a whole bunch when she returns. I sulked a bit but what can I do? I'm stuck here...I can't run away since I can't walk. Besides, the food is great.

Mom said she is temporarily dogless. Elsa is in the kennel at Pet's Friend, Buffy is with Kodi, Pumpkin is with Bandit, and of course I'm here at Adobe Hospital. Mom still has the luscious felines, but tomorrow they go to Hemingway Cat Hospital for boarding. Only the birds will stay home in their outdoor aviary, cared for by Critter Care, while Mom is traveling.

I'll be moving from the ICU to the medium care unit tomorrow and it will be hard to blog from there. Stay tuned for when I come home next Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Improving Patient

It's me Sammy! I'm still in the ICU at Adobe Hospital. Mom came to visit me today at 6pm and I overheard her talking with my vet, Dr. O'Day. The vet says I still have a high fever (103.9) so I have to stay in the ICU till tomorrow. Then I'm going to move over to the high maintenance boarding section so that Mom can take a short trip to Missouri. I'm not happy Mom is leaving me here for extra days but she says she has to find us a new place to live. Well, we gotta have a home!

Mom brought me a banana and I got to eat the whole thing all by myself, -- no forced sharing with Elsa and Pumpkin (Buffy doesn't like bananas). I begged for the peel but Mom just dangled it in front of me and laughed at me and then threw it in the trash. Dang.

Dr. O'Day put me on two new medications (along with all of my antibiotics to cure my pneumonia). These new medications -- DES and Proin, are to help me control my bladder. I've got a catheter in right now and will keep it in till I go home. Mom says she is really eager to see if these medications work.

There are some luscious felines here -- all of the doggies are on one side of the ICU and the cats are on the other side. This means I have a great view of some of the kitties. I particularly like to watch the kittens -- they look like they would be especially yummy. I stare at them longingly but so far none of the help has bothered to toss me one. (No offense intended to my felines fans -- I'd love to chomp on your soft furry lithe bodies too!).

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Very Ill Dog

This post is from Cynthia, Sam's pet guardian.

Update at 7pm Tuesday Sept. 20

Sammy Wammy is better! I visited him at 6pm and he was alert, catching treats, drinking water, eating his food, etc. I had a long talk with his vet which Sammy overheard. Sammy is planning to sneak out of his cage later tonight and blog his status by using one of the clinic computers when they are busy saving another pet.

Update at 10:30am Tuesday Sept. 20

Dr. O'Day called and reports that Sam is doing better! His fever went back up to 104 but he is eating and is alert. I wasn't able to visit him this morning...will be going this afternoon. He will be in the ICU for at least another day, probably longer. It's lonely here at home since Buffy is with his cousin Kodi and Pumpkin is with his cousin Bandit. Just me and the personality challenged Elsa (my 15 yr old GSD).

Update at 3:30am Tuesday Sept. 20

Sam is slightly better. He is on oxygen thru a tube and was given an anti-anxiety medication so he could stop worrying about breathing and relax and sleep. His fever is down to 103 (101.5 is doggy normal). I will be visiting him at 10am when his vet comes back to work.

Original post at 9pm Monday Sept. 19

Sammy Wammy is very ill with aspiration pneumonia again. It came on suddenly this morning; he has been at Adobe Hospital in the ICU since 12:30pm. Dr. O'Day has been taking care of him.

Sammy was eating when he went into the hospital, but at 5pm when I visited him he was no longer interested in food. His fever has gone as high as 105.5 is now at 104.7. He is on oxygen, an IV, and 3 types of antibiotics. X-rays showed the pneumonia is in both lungs, although not very severe. He is also anemic again, which no vet has ever been able to explain.

I just spoke with Dr. O'Day at 8:30pm to get this latest news. Dr. Rogers, who is the nighttime vet and cared for Sammy before when he had aspiration pneumonia, will be taking over from Dr. O'Day until 10am tomorrow. Dr. Rogers will call me if Sammy takes a turn for the worse.

I am very worried as Sammy Wammy looked miserable when I saw him earlier. He did recover beautifully from his last bout of pneumonia though so I am also hopeful.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

The ASPCA Donation Banners

The ASPCA now has donation banners to put on blogs. I've added their two banners, one has a dog and one has a cat. Why the cat? Because if cats didn't exist who would I bark at?!!!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Nicknames

I've got a lot of nicknames. Sam is my real name. But Mom calls me all kinds of other names.

Sammy Wammy
Sammy Wammy Tammy Shammy Phammy
Sambo Tambo
Sammy Pie

and so on.

Doggie Bloggers -- do you have nicknames too?

Some of mine seem kind up pupish, but hey, Mom smiles and talks sweetly when she says them and sometimes she throws me a treat!

Sammy Wammy

The Bee Man

Found this photo on SFGate. This man has lots of pet bees. We only have the one -- BOB -- the Big Orange Bee (male Valley Carpenter Bee).

Buzz in the hood: Thousands of killer bees form a swarming balaclava on Marin Tellez in Bucaramanga, Colombia. The beekeeper was trying to cover himself with roughly half a million Africanized bees to break the 1998 Guinness world record of 350,000. -- SFGate

BOB - our pet bee. Mom took this photo that was later published in the SF Chronicle along with a story about our California native plant garden.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Humane Society Needs Your Help!

Urgent message from the Humane Society!

Please help get the word to the federal and state governments that the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina need their help.

Volunteers in the region are doing all they can to rescue starving and stranded pets and other animals, but they need federal assistance now. Here is a link to the web page with the phone numbers you should call.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Saratoga CA Shack is for Sale

Our house is on the market! I'm clueless about what this means but I can tell you that 8 strange groups of people came stomping thru the house today. I was out in the dog run keeping quiet and spying on them.

There's a bunch of photos and 360 degree views of the house here:

Below is the REAL photo of the dining room. Uncle Brian fixed this photo up so it is more realistic.

Buffy in the dining room Posted by Picasa

The Google Blog Search Tool - Is it any good?

Judge for yourself by searching for German Shepherd dog.

Hey, what's way up there at the TOP in the "related blogs" section?

Woof, woof, WOOOOF!

The Photographic Celebration of the Dog: in St. Louis, starts February 26, 2006

I'm stuffing envelopes with my photos! Hope to see some of my cyberdog buddies there too.

You Ought to be In Pictures!
A Photographic Celebration of the Dog
A first-ever of its kind canine photo exhibit will be on display at The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in St. Louis beginning February 25, 2006.
more info

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Real Discrimination Story of Hurricane Katrine

Canine, Feline, Avian, Equine, Bovian, etc. discrimation exposed!!!

Hey, I read it in the New York Times!

I know my mom would never, ever abandon any of us doggies even if the earthquake from hell swallowed up all of San Jose. She'd even protect those luscious felines and the screechy birds too.

Dogs Are People, Too
Published: September 11, 2005

New York Times

FROM the discussion board came the 12-exclamation-point alarm: "OMG !! ... I just heard on the NEWS there may be 50,000 animals LEFT BEHIND!!!!!!!!!!"

As reactions to the Katrina rescue efforts have been divided along lines of class, race and political party, they have also highlighted another schism: between dog haves and dog have-nots. Animal owners around the country have responded with outpourings of sympathy, hurt and outrage: How could rescue workers have barred pets from helicopters and shelters?

Forum: Hurricane Katrina

"There's been a lot of talk about this at the dog run," said Carol Vinzant, who brings her shepherd mix Jolly to the dog run in Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan. "They're forcing these dog owners to abandon their dogs, which in ordinary times is a crime itself. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people died because they did the right thing and stayed with their dogs."
Jo Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the agency had already received more than $5.25 million for rescue efforts, along with shipments of food, blankets and other animal supplies.

Such animal generosity is nothing new. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the A.S.P.C.A.'s New York branch received so many supplies that it had to stop taking donations.

Last week, as teams of rescuers combed through New Orleans on separate missions - one group taking people without animals, the other taking animals without people - many residents were still refusing to leave without their pets.

"When we all re-evaluate this event, it may make us rethink the way we do human rescue," Ms. Sullivan said.

For Elizabeth Finch, the owner of two dogs named Zorra and Hans Blix, the sight of citizens forced to choose between their pets and their safety was, like the disaster itself, indicative of broader social rifts. "Not to equate people with animals," she said, "but this fits into a bigger model of discrimination."

John Amis/Associated Press
Valerie Bennett, of Slidell, La., reunited with Lady in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Big Move

I've mentioned this briefly before -- we are moving! Mom says first we are going to Missouri and then maybe somewhere else. Mom says the most important thing is to sell this overvalued shack in earthquake country before the real estate market crashes, or the big one hits, or both! We've been really busy fixing up the house and packing (that's the royal we, the truth is I haven't had to do zip) and tomorrow, finally, the house goes on the market. Mom and Elsa and Pumpkin and I have to skip out from 9am-1pm for the realtor tour. Mom's going to take me swimming with Elsa and Pumpkin as my peanut gallery (Buffy is still on vacation).

AlthoughI haven't done any work I've been supervising Mom and Michele do the packing. Incredibly in today's "Cathy" comic strip there is a demonstration of exactly how Mom packed.

click on comic for larger view

I just hope she can find all of my toys at the other end!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The "Operation Pet Lift"

Thanks goodness billionaires such as T. Boone Pickens and his wife have a soft spot for doggies!

Rescued Dogs Airlifted From Gulf Coast
By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, September 11, 2005

San Francisco Chronicle
(09-11) 19:32 PDT San Francisco (AP) --

The first major airlift of dogs from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast left Louisiana on Sunday, carrying about 80 pets to new temporary homes in California.

The Continental Airlines flight from Baton Rouge, La., was chartered for about $50,000 by Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, in a movement dubbed "Operation Pet Lift."

Complete article.

The Lemon Beagle Puppy Conehead

Here's a photo of my cyberdog buddy Ditto III the lemon beagle puppy with his e-collar. Isn't he cute!? Stay tuned for photos of me with my e-collar.

Ditto III Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Foods a Dog Should NOT Eat

Here's a 10-question quiz about foods that are poisonous to dogs.

Mom took the quiz and only got 4 questions right! I'm going to make Buffy taste my food from now on. Naaahhh. Just kidding. I can't wait for tasting and anyway, I don't like to share!

The Alternative to Blogging

ID: 121304, Published in The New Yorker September 12, 2005