My family got our schnauzer/poodle mix named Sam when I was two years old. Since I was so young when we got him, I could not remember not having him. He was probably one of the nicest and smartest dogs you will ever see. My sister and I used to dress him up in baby clothes and push him around the neighborhood in a stroller. And he LET us! Talk about docile. As far as smart, we taught him to sit in the corner when he was bad, just like my sister and I had to do. We would say, "Go to the corner," and he would go to the same corner in our house and sit facing the corner until someone told him he could come out. Very cute.
When I was a sophomore in high school, Sam really started to show his age. He got a lot slower and started having muscle seizures every now and then. We just made sure to be careful around him and we kept a very close eye on him all the time. At the beginning of my junior, he got really sick. He could not eat or walk very far on his own. Sam had always been a dignified dog, and we knew that we owed it to him to put him down with dignity. (okay now I'm crying. There is definitely truth in what Dr. Sexson says about writing about tough experiences). We made an appointment with the vet, and she came to our house the next weekend. My sister came home from college for the weekend to say goodbye. That morning, we made Sam a HUGE breakfast: eggs, sausage, all his favorite human foods plus a huge candy bar. We took a ton of pictures with him, and we were as ready as we could be when the vet got there. My sister held him when the vet gave him the injection, and then Sam went to sleep for the last time. One of the most dignified dogs I have ever seen died with the same poise with which he carried himself his entire life.
My whole life, Sam had been around whenever I came home. He was a staple in my life that had changed so much up until that point. I never knew how much love, trust, and energy I put into my relationship with him until he was gone. When I was a melodramatic child, I used to vent to him. When I was around seven I went through a phase where I had sleep anxiety and nightmares, and he stayed with me every night to calm me. Losing him was just as hard as losing a family member, if not harder. I still miss him and think about him all the time. I will never find another companion like Sam, but at least I was lucky enough to have him for a brief chapter of my life.