Samson, Longview, TX

Hello there! My name is Samson, and this is the story about how I found my best friend and how we changed each others lives.

I was born on the 4th of July in 2008, and I started out life at a breeder’s house, where I lived with my mom and litter mates. Once I was old enough I was sold to a young man and named “Scout.” I didn’t know any better at the time, but later my mommy would say that he bought me for the wrong reasons and “had no business owning a dog ever again.”

He had bought me because I was cool, a “badass breed,” and I was soon shoved out into his back yard and ignored once the novelty of having a young puppy in the house wore off. With nobody to work with me, I became shy, but I still hoped that whenever he came out to feed me he would play with me, or let me come inside so I could be with him.

It was so lonely out there without anyone to interact with or talk to, and the lack of attention also had heavier consequences. Nobody seem to notice (or if they did, they didn’t care) when my hair started falling out, or when I was itching all the time. Nobody noticed when I lost weight, when my belly bloated and when my appetite increased to the point where I never felt full. If anyone had even paid a little bit of attention to me, they also might have noticed the allergic reactions I was having to my food.

Finally, after 6 months, the man’s girlfriend told him that she didn’t want me around anymore because I was “disgusting” and she “didn’t like me.” Shortly after they had decided to get rid of me, a lady named Angel came to pick me up. She saw a “free to good home” ad in the news paper and decided that even if she didn’t end up keeping me, she could at least come get me before some bad person did, and find me a home where I would be loved.

At first I was really scared — I had only really known my backyard, and being brought to a place with many other dogs and people was very intimidating. But I’m glad I stuck it out because a few days after arriving at Angel’s place, a family came to see me. As they walked in the door, I hid behind the coffee table, poking my head underneath and watching to see if they were coming towards me.

I soon heard a voice call out to me and as I peeked over the coffee table, that’s when I first saw her. Sitting on the floor was a young girl, smiling at me like I was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

I wasn’t too sure at first, but after some coaxing I came over to see her, and boy was it love at first sight.

We played for a long while, and I felt special and loved for the first time in a long time. She looked past my patchy fur, looked past my shyness and the fact that you could see my ribs way too clearly for a puppy my age, and saw me for who I was.

I was sad when she left, but she promised she would be back, and I gave her happy kisses, letting her know that I would be waiting for her return, and would be looking forward to it.

I wouldn’t see my girl again until a week later. Her mother came to get me very early in the morning, and took me to what would be my new house. We sneaked in and I didn’t know what was going on. It was dark, and they had stuck something sticky (they called it a bow) to my head, which was very annoying.

They sat me on the floor, flipped the lights on and… surprise! There was my girl, waking out of sleep with a confused look on her face. I ambled over to see her, cautious but excited at the same time, and when she realized what was going on, boy was she happy!

Her parents had told her that someone else had spoken for me, that for her 16th birthday she would not be getting me. It was the best birthday surprise ever, and she still hasn’t had a birthday as good as that one. 🙂

My new family took me to the vet, where I was diagnosed with hookworms, whip worms and red mange. Also, within the first week or so of them having me, I had an allergic reaction to my food that the vet said was due to consistently eating food with corn in it. I was gasping and trying to breathe on a very tight airway and could only swallow air into my stomach, which became very large and caused me to scream in pain. My girl was the only one home with me, and it was very scary for both of us while we waited for her parents to get home to take me to the emergency vet.

I was switched to a new food, and was started on medication for all of those problems. My girl began working with me to make me less shy around people and other dogs. It was hard going at first, I would cry and try to run away from other dogs and bark and shake when people I didn’t know came near. But by the time I was a year old, I was a well-socialized pup and was all healed from my problems.

My girl and I went everywhere together, and I worked my hardest to make her happy, excelling at anything she taught me, from roll over to basic agility. We were best friends and I was so grateful to have her (I could tell this was how she felt about me as well). We lived on a huge farm with cows, horses and other dogs, as well as a llama that didn’t seem to like me very much.

Life was perfect, and we had some amazing adventures together. Though it didn’t stay that beautiful for long.

Something happened to our family when I was almost two, something I never understood. There was a lot of fighting, and crying, and next thing I knew we were moving away and leaving her father behind.

We moved in with her grandparents in a place called Arizona — real big, hot litter box if you ask me. We hated it there, my girl and I. I could tell she was upset, depressed even, and this made me depressed too, and we both lost a lot of weight from lack of appetite.

We had traded farm for city, green grass and beautiful land for sand and scrub. And to make it worse, we didn’t even have our own house and had to share space with dogs that didn’t like me and attacked me. Still we tried to make the best of it,  we stuck it out together and it seemed like us against the world at times.

On April 21st, 2010, which was three months shy of my 3rd birthday, we had what I remember to be a beautiful day. Things were getting good again — the family was back together and we were getting ready to move from Arizona to a better place.

We played outside all day with my sister, Lullaby, an Australian Shepherd puppy who just recently joined our family that past November. We went to the park, went to the pet store and got cookies, romped around the yard and had an amazing time catching bubbles.

That night my girl put me outside as usual to do my business, and when she went inside to go get my little sister I wandered off to explore the yard. She was gone maybe 5 minutes, but that was long enough for me to find some strange animal in the yard.

I knew what it was, I thought — she kept one of these inside in a tank, and he was okay, I guess. I heard a rattling sound coming from his back end, which my girl’s pet never had, and when I went to sniff him to see what was making this noise he lashed out and bit me!

I ran back to the door just as my girl was coming outside and began whining. She realized something was wrong and called for her parents, who began to grab things to take me to the vet. I was yelping and wouldn’t sit still, so they knew something was wrong, but just didn’t know what. I tried to tell my girl, but didn’t know how to convey what had happened.

Within 5 minutes of the bite my airway was closing and I couldn’t breathe at all. I passed away shortly thereafter, drawing my final breath in the arms of the one who I loved so dearly.

My girl would later find out that I’d been bitten by a deadly rattlesnake, and to make it worse, I was highly allergic to its venom — there was nothing anyone could have done for me.

She now devotes her life to learning as much as possible about training and rehabilitating dogs so she can eventually rescue and rehabilitate “monsters” like me so that they too can find the love of their lives. To her, I was — and still is — her heart and soul. She said I was the best “monster” any girl could have asked for, and the world is a little darker without my brilliant light.

And as for me, I’m just patiently waiting at the end of the rainbow bridge for my girl, knowing that one day we’ll be together again.

~ Sam

Parent: Kharha