Life brings new experiences all the time. This week we had a new one at our house. Sam-I-Am is the beloved four legged critter who has graced our lives for 15 years.
Sam came to us as a 1 year old pup. He is part beagle and the Good Lord knows the rest of his “mut” make up. Sam loved our boys and helped to raise them. He loved to run in the cemetery and down the hill to the Church. If anyone was at Church in his younger days he wanted to go check them out.
In 15 years I never saw Sam snap at anyone, bite anyone, or even approach anyone with a growl. He was an instant friend to anyone who came his way.
Our favorite story is while he was visiting at friends, he stretched out on the floor and took a nap. A little boy needed a nap too so he laid down on the floor and put his head on Sam’s side using him as a pillow. Sam never moved to get him off. He just laid there and served as a pillow for the little boy. It was just his temperament to be a friend.
Old age caught up to Sam. His legs hurt him a lot. He didn’t much like to be rubbed on his paws or his legs. And his hips began to turn out in the back. He panted a lot which is a sign of pain in a dog. And in these last days and weeks we never saw his tail wag again. It just hurt too much. With the help of a gifted and kind vet this week we made the decision to “put Sam down.”
I don’t write about this because of an overblown view of a dog as a full fledged family member. As a culture we have too high a view of our pets. The Pope recently said, we need to love our children more and our pets less. I agree.
I write these words about Sam because this week I have been reminded of the mystery and beauty of life. Sam was a wonderful blessed presence in our lives for a long time. Now the house is quiet. After the vet did her gentle work, we lovingly carried Sam’s lifeless body to the woods where we buried him.
Life is a gift from God. It is a mystery how even our four legged “ones,” live and breathe and run and play……… and then are gone - still, lifeless, absent.
Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to be born and a time to die. We know that Sam’s time had come. So it is with each of us.
I have been lingering with the words, “We are here for a time.” Only a time. Just a time. For a moment we live.
May our choices, our decisions, the things we love, be only to the glory of God and our neighbor’s good. For we have only a time.
God bless you Sam-I-Am. Thank you! Thank you for all that you taught me. Especially that we are here for a time!