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Goodbye, Sammy

by Stacy Cole

Sammy was 16 years old and the love of my life.  A sassy, sweet, determined Siamese/tabby mix.  We lost him last Friday and life hasn't been the same.  He was losing use of his front limbs and having heart trouble and it was time to let go.  There are so many things to say about him that I don't know where to start.  He was a shelter cat from the Fargo Humane Society and had been surrendered because he was destructive. He liked to shred paper and his previous owners had declawed all four paws and was going to grind down his teeth.  Thankfully, someone convinced them to surrender him.  As I walked through the cat area at the shelter, something hit me in the head...it was a sparkly ball.  Shortly after that, a huge paw smacked me in the head.  It was Sammy.  From that very moment, I knew he was the one.  I named him Thor but he wasn't responding to it. I had watched an episode of Cheers and realized that Sammy was a flirt like Sam Malone...I called out the name Sammy and he turned and looked right at me.  He had chosen me and had chosen his name.  

Full of attitude and love, he was a challenge.  He was vocal and smart.  He could open doors and jump onto any surface.  When I laid down to go to sleep, he'd rest his precious head on my pillow and paw at my face until I fell asleep.  If I overslept in the morning, he'd bite my nose to wake me up.  Sometimes, he'd decide to push things over just because it was there.  A smart cat that needed to be challenged or he would start to rip the house apart.  I made sure he had new toys to keep his brain stimulated and our house in good condition.  He was friendly to anyone that came to the house and he liked to scare the crap out of his vet by growling and vocalizing like he was being murdered.  A vet locally told me never to bring him back to his clinic.  Sammy never bit anyone, he just made a lot of noise.  

We loved Sammy so much.  Our hearts are broken and I've tried to be strong but the tears have flowed freely at work and on air.  I miss our bedtime routine and his loud voice greeting me when I come home from work.  He left a huge hole in our hearts and there are times I feel like my heart won't ever heal.  I know it will but the pain is overwhelming right now.

I'd like to thank so many people for their compassion and understanding. Everyone at VCA Companion Animal Hospital, Central Wisconsin Animal Emergency Center, and Fox Valley Animal Referral Center.  The numerous listeners that messaged me their support and prayers.  My husband, David, for taking this seriously and allowing me to do what I needed to do regardless of how crazy it may have seemed at the time. My co-workers that put up with me crying at the mere mention of Sammy's name.  My former English teacher, Sid Korpi, author of "Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss.  Mom and Joe for offering to drop everything and come over from Minneapolis just to be with us.  And, Dave and Elaine Kallaway for their compassion and guidance. And, Nugget and Monkey for their continued companionship and love.

*please, forgive me if I've overlooked someone that has helped me through this journey.