Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Final Chapter--Doris and Sam

Sully Plantation, built in 1794 was the home of Richard Bland Lee, Northern Virginia's first congressman, and was the place I chose to meet Doris and Patti this morning. I have to start by telling you that Doris's body is 87, and is showing the effects of her recent hip replacement and small heart attack--However her mind is perfect and sharp as a tack. Doris told me that she reads a book a week and does a crossword puzzle everyday. Wow...

I've heard people say that dogs don't remember people and places. I've never believed that, and today reminded me of why I don't. Sam recognized Doris right away and responded to her. While she spoke, he had his head up and his eyes fixed on her, he did the same thing with Doris's daughter Patti. When I saw Sam's face, there was a look that seemed to say "is it really you, are you really here?" There were some very touching moments between the two that I wish I could have caught with the camera, but some moments happen so quickly that you just can't. As Doris sat, she retold stories of her life with Sam; the holidays, the adventures, the walks and their life together. The love and devotion she has for Sam is so evident when she speaks.

We spent about 40 minutes together and it was time for us to leave.  Doris cried some more, expressed her love for Sam, and kissed him good-bye.  I drove him to the vet and sat with this old soul as he quietly left this life for the next...A sad moment.  Afterwards when I kissed Sam good-bye and my head was next to his, the thought came into my mind that I was only Sam's caretaker for this last part of his life's journey; at the Rainbow Bridge he'll wait for Doris.
Even though we hardly knew Sam we have no regrets whatsoever in his coming to stay with us. It was a privilege to have him as part of our household.

We have a candle lit for Sam to help him find his way...God-Speed sweet-Sam. We will never forget you.
~Doris and her daughter Patti~
Thank-you all for your friendship and kind and caring thoughts today!  When I returned home, your words provided me with so much comfort.  I know it was those thoughts and prayers that gave me the strength to get through a difficult day and have the peace that I had hoped for. 

I look forward to catching up with you and your blogs on Sunday. 


  1. We've had our candle lit since sundown -

    Two of our husky friends were sent on their journey earlier today -

    And we knew Sam was going to be on their tails 0

    Thanks for the update -
    Thanks for giving all the closure needed -

    We'll look for Sam's star when we go out later this evening -

    Khyra, Khousin Merdie, and Phyll

  2. Though I'm teary, I'm so glad Sam is at peace now. I have a number of pets waiting at the Rainbow bridge as well. You are a beautiful person to care for these pets as you do... Many of my thoughts have been with Sam and you-all today. Give the rest of the guys and gals a hug for me... They are all so precious!

  3. Though I'm teary, I'm glad that Sam is no longer suffering. You are a beautiful person to do what you do... may God bless you. Give the rest of the guys and gals a hug for me... they are all so precious!

  4. What you gave to Doris and Sam is such an unselfish gift of love, it brings tears to my couldn't have been more perfect....and for you to recognize that Sam was ready and needed to say goodbye.....unbelievable kindness for Sam and his rock in my world....

  5. This has been so heartbreaking and yet so beautiful. Sam and Doris came full circle to spend the end together. I don't know where you find the strength, but God bless you for it!

  6. To the Lady with the kindest of loving hearts,Thank you for the time, the care, and the love.
    From Old Sam

  7. Beautifully sad. I'm so pleased they got together for a final time...

  8. We are crying with you,,

    We know how hard it was for you to even share this,,,,

    may your heart heal Kim,,,,,
    you did the right thing,

    Run to the Bridge Sam,,, run,,,
    We light a candle for your journey.

  9. I could just sob like a baby! Somehow it just doesn't seem right that such sweet souls can't stay with us forever.

  10. So happy Doris and Sam were able to have a final farewell... no matter what, she will know he was cared for. That has to be very comforting. Take care.

  11. Oh Sam! Sweet friend. We have such leaky eyes for you. The love you shared with your Doris will forever live. You offered such comfort and warmth, we know. We have you in our thoughts...running free with a forever smile. And, blessing to Doris. Hope she is comforted in knowing that Sam will always be in her heart.
    And, Kim....awwww this golden touched us so much! A tender story. Blessings.

    Hugs from us,
    Sierra Rose

  12. Kim;
    Thank you for being you and writing the final chapter in Sam's. life.
    Not only did he get to see Doris and she him, but you helped him to the Bridge with dignity and love and he was not alone.
    We cannot imagine how hard this day was on everyone.
    God Bless.

    Sheila & Bob
    Mom & Dad to Hamish & Sophie

  13. Oh Kim I am reading this with tears in my eyes. I think it is so wonderful that you were able and willing to take Sam to visit with Doris for the last time. It must have been heartbreaking for you to watch their goodbye. I know that their love for eachother has touched me and I can only imagine how it has touched you. I will say it again, I think you are such a special person to have such love for these wonderful animals. I am so glad that Sam had you in his last days to love and care for him. I am glad too that Doris was able to say goodbye to her friend. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Kim,
    Thank you for this post, our prayers are for you tonight. Sweet Sam has gone home.

  15. I have been thinking about you all day and now I know that all has ended well (it was Sam's time). Wonderful story, thanks for sharing. You have done such a wonderful thing for Sam, Doris and Patti. You are right, that Sam waits for Doris, but I guarantee that Sam will keep an eye out for his angle on earth (that would be you) too. Bye Sam, see ya at the bridge. Say hi to all my beaus beaus.

  16. All I can say is......I don't believe I have read a post that has touched me the way this one has. Sam will be waiting on Doris, no doubt.

  17. We used to have a vet who said that dogs didn't recognize people, or have a sense of time, or know what there name was. Try telling that to Sam or Doris. To have brought comfort and closure is a lot of work for one day. Our hearts go out to you. Your comments about being a caretaker is spot on - you just know that much love and devotion simply can't disappear .

  18. Dear Kim,

    You did a wonderful thing looking after old Sam in his last months, and then arranging for him to spend time with Doris and her daughter today.

    I know today would have been so hard, but please don’t be too sad as you have allowed Sam to get to the rainbow bridge knowing that he was truly loved, with the voices and faces of those who loved him (Doris, Patti and you) fresh in his mind. What more could a dog ever ask for than to be so loved.

    I will be watching for that special “Sam” star in the sky tonight.

    Thinking of you all,
    Riley’s mum

  19. You were there for him when he most needed you. Thank you.

    God speed Sam.

  20. Thankfully, Sam had a wonderful life with his family. Allowing him to spend his final hours in their company was one of the most unselfish acts, I am certain he left this world with a full and happy heart.
    I thought of you throughout the day, and hoped your task of being Sam's final caretaker was made a little easier by knowing he was grateful for your help, and he was finally able to run pain free .
    Rest in Peace Sam, you were a fine gentleman.

  21. It was good that Doris was able to spend time with her beloved Sam and that his passing was peaceful.
    Was very hard to read your posts Kim..brings back all the heartbreak of losing a dear and loyal friend,and I know just how you must be feeling today .Sending big hugs.

  22. My heart aches for you. ♥
    Yours was not an easy task. But I know Sam appreciated the love and kindness shown to him during his stay at Golden Pines.

  23. Sweet Kim, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Sam's family. And he knows he was loved until the very end - that is the most important thing we can give our pups.


  24. Kim I thought of you all yesterday and had a candle lit also and you were my first thought today when I truned on the computer.
    I am so glad that you were able to take Sam for his goodbye visit with Doris...precious memories for them both to take into the future.
    Bless your heart Kim, you are truly a loving and giving woman and I know there will be many sweet souls who will run to see you on Rainbow Bridge...
    Love and hugs...
    Tina xo

  25. Kim,
    I'm trying to type this as the tears are running down my face.
    You are such a wonderful and thoughtful person to have Sam and Doris meet one last time.
    You really are more than their caretakers because you also love them so much and make the last part of their journey comfortable.
    Bless you.

  26. I read this post earlier but couldn't comment because I was too choked up. I'm back now because I wanted to express what a beautiful end you gave to poor old Sam. He got to see his Mum one more time and was with you at the very end.

    Do you know what? I'm sure he'll wait at the Rainbow Bridge to say hello to you, along with all the other dogs you've cared for.

    I don't know how you do it but thank goodness you do.

    Take care, my friend.


  27. I have prayed for this to happen and I am so glad it did. You can see that Sam is at peace in that last photo. I have never cried so much reading a post, but I am happy too that Sam is at peace and had such a beautiful visit with Doris. I will go and light a candle now.--Inger

  28. I'm glad Sam is at peace now; seeing Doris and going to the bridge in a wonderful state of love.

    What you did is nothing short of spectacular - you helped this boy in his last days while showing so much love to someone who obviously loved him so much.

    Our candle is lit here as well. Godspeed Sam, you were loved here on Earth as much as any dog could be.

  29. Dear Kim, All the comments above share the sentiments in my heart. The perfect timing for Doris and Sam to bid each other adieu and the sweet love each of you had with Sam. He is no longer in pain and is now running free playing with so many other loved pets. Yes he will meet you all at the Rainbow Bridge along with all the dogs we've loved and cared for.
    Hugs to you today dear friend.
    Noreen & Reggie-dog

  30. God bless you Kim for giving Sam and Doris the opportunity to say goodbye and for giving Sam the chance to live out his remaining days with you and your K9 family.

    With deep sympathy,

    Extra licks from Apples & Neeli

    Run free sweet Sam...

  31. Take it from an expert, we remember people and places. We have met dogs we fostered years ago and they remember us.

    We are so happy that Sam got to see Doris again. You have done all that you can do, you have brought a moment of happiness to Sam and to Doris.

    Thank you for caring for Sam enough to do all you could do. We should all be so lucky as to have that kind of care and love at the end.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  32. So sad Kim, but he'll go to heaven with a smile on his furry little face thanks to you.
    (((Big hugs)))
    Sue x x x

  33. Dear Kim,
    Really, really laud you for what you do and admire your strength.
    thanks for this very touching post...the photographs were very eloquent..
    We are very sad about Sam, but it provides some consolation to think he is no longer suffering now.
    Like you said Kim, Dogs never forget people or places or an act of kindness.
    He will definitely be glad to see you again some day..No, he can't forget the love that you had showered him with. He is a Dog you see, not a human:)
    anyone who says dogs dont remember haven't really known a dog at all.

    thanks for coming by to visit us inspite of all that you had to go through in the past few hours.
    lots of love from all of us here

    p.s:hope the pack at home is holding on well. are they very affected?

  34. You are a compassionate angel....


  35. Oh dear. We saw your note on Wilf's blog, which caught our attention -- but we had no idea what a touching tale we would find when we visited you. What a bittersweet story. We're sending you our warmest thoughts to help comfort in your los.

    Joan -- and Jake and Just Harry

  36. Of course the tears are streaming, but I feel so blessed to hear that you made this time for Doris and Sam to happen. You have given them both a beautiful gift. Thank you for your unselfish heart. There are still so many good people in this life. My heart aches for Doris but I know that this last time with her Sam was a precious gift.

  37. I'm so sorry. I know it never gets easier.

    Sam was so fortunate to have found a soft place to land in his final days. It's wonderful that Sam and Doris were able to see each other one last time. You can really see the bond they shared and how much she loved him in those pictures.

    Take care...

  38. You are a woman of tremendous courage, full of selfless love. What a wonderful thing you did for Sam and for Doris. Thoughts are with all of you.

  39. Wish I could give you a real hug but I do send you lots of virtual hugs. You are an amazing person to give so much of yourself to your goldens and to the people in your life. May you get all that love back ten fold.

  40. I hope Sam has met my Sam by now & they are frolicking together. How kind of you to meet up with Doris so she could say goodbye.
    Reading this reminded me of those few minutes with our Sam & how sweet & peaceful he looked.

  41. I think you brought peace to two lives today. Not just for Sam but for Doris as well. I keep thinking of the anguish she had to have gone through, being forced to give up that gentle animal who had shared her life for so many years when she had to go into the hospital. Surely she felt horrible guilt for 'abandoning' him and overwhelming worry about how his gentle soul would live on without her. For you to have brought Sam to Doris for this final reunion was the most incredible gift that I can imagine. You gave Sam the peace of knowing that the woman he had devoted his lift to still loved him and was safe (I'm sure that he worried about her when he could no longer be the one to watch over Doris!). With that knowledge, he truly could let go, knowing that all was right with the world. The relief for Doris ~ the knowledge that Sam was being cared for and loved by someone as generous and giving as you had to take a crippling load of guilt and worry off of Doris' shoulders. As sad as she most assuredly must be, her heart must be singing to know that her beloved companion had such excellent care and abundant love during his final journey.

    God Bless you, Kim!

    I'm gonna go cry now....

  42. Peace to Sam. Comfort to Doris. And, once again, thanks to you for all of the good that you do.

  43. Woof! Woof! Touching n at the same time sad moment. Glad that Doris decided to see SAM. Truly a wonderful gesture you provided as a caretaker of SAM. Golden Thoughts n Prayers. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  44. You are one of the most remarkable women I know!
    With big tears rolling down my chubby cheeks,

    Run free, Sweet Sam!

  45. It is so heart-warming, Kim, that you have done this for Sam. These pictures have really done me in.....I have never witnessed such kindness. What a 'send off' for Sam and his previous keepers. I will never forget this very touching moment you have shared.

  46. Sounds like Sam was on loan from God and touched many, many hearts. Even mine. I've not kept up with his story, but just reading the last three posts made me feel as though he was laying at my feet for a while. Bless you and all of yours.

  47. been there and shed the tears too!
    those photos one day will be a great comfort

  48. God bless you for being such a wonderful person Kim.
    Our candle will be lit for Sam tonight.
    Love your ways, Fern

  49. It's so heartbreaking and so heartwarming at the same time. I'm so glad Doris got to see Sam one more time. Sending hugs your way,


  50. I've read this post three times before I could actually reply. This really struck a heart chord.

    I don't know how you do this. I would be too emotional. I can't even begin to imagine how Doris must feel.

    Your a wonderful person with a huge heart for doing what you do!

  51. Kim, such a beautiful ending to Sam's life. It's just so lovely that Doris & Patti had that time with him. I like you absolutely believe that animals remember people and places and you did such a wonderful thing for Sam... and his human family. You continue to amaze me.

  52. Hi Kim, Thanks for coming to my blog. I have enjoyed reading yours. I grew up in VA --but I lived in extreme southwest VA in a small town called Big Stone Gap.

    I am so sorry to hear about your Sam... Glad that Doris got to see him one more time.. I know it was an emotional trip for you...

    I hope you will come back to my blog. We are retired and love gardening (flowers/roses), hiking (waterfalls), and I love birds.

    Thanks again. I enjoyed yours.

    I'll keep you and your family in my prayers..

  53. I've been told that we leave a paw print on our people's hearts that never fade... goodbye Sam.. Tucker.

  54. Kim, I have to tell you about yesterday. I had just finished reading your post about Sam, and wiping my eyes, when my sister called and said she and her friend and her friend's dog were headed our way for a beach walk.
    We met them at the beach. My sister's friend's name was Kim. Her dog was a Golden Retriever named Liam....7 years old.
    I thought is this for real? Is somebody trying to 'contact' me from 'beyond'?
    So coincidental. I felt like I was meeting Sam through Liam. It was a very nice afternoon at the beach.

  55. My deepest and most sincere sympathy on the passing of such a sweet soul. I don't care how long we have with someone we love - a hundred years is not enough time. I am so very sorry. Rest with the angels. Sam. You were dearly loved.

  56. Having been away I'm a little behind so please excuse my tardiness. My thoughts are with all of you. Such a difficult time...

    Godspeed Sam.

    Gentle wags,
    Zona and mom

  57. I just got back to my blog reading after being away for the weekend and was so sad to read that you had to let Sam go, but also so happy for he and Doris that they were able to get together again before the end.

    My prayers are with you and Doris and Patti during this difficult time.

  58. So very glad you found your way to Granny Mountain this morning, so that I might find my way to Golden Pines. I admire your strength and I also understand it. We have faced this situation several times in 40 years. Our youngest daughter Amy is a vet tech and has many rescued cats and dogs, her heart is big even though her house isn't! Sending thoughts and prayers for peace on this most difficult day.

  59. I'm so sorry I am late in reading this Kim. I am so in love with Doris, her daughter and Sam just looking at these photos. I'm so glad they were able to say good bye to their sweet friend. Thank you for loving and caring for people and dogs, you are a very special family.

  60. You're such a good soul, Kim. What a precious gift you gave Doris and Sam!
    - Anne & Charlie

  61. oh my I don't know what to say, other than I know Sam will be happy over the bridge.....what a year you have had with doggies passing over the bridge......


  62. We're sorry we're just now reading this - but you and Sam have been in our thoughts a lot lately. Think we just wanted to pretend he would go on forever. It was so wonderful of you to care for him and give him and Doris that comfort.

    The Road Dogs (and Mom)

  63. So sorry about Sam. It's so nice he got to see Doris and her daughter one last time. Purrs and tail wags.

  64. You are an angel, for Sam and for his family. I think that he'll have one eye seeking you at the bridge because he knew what a gift you gave him.


Speak--I really enjoy your comments! Thanks for stopping by today!!