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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Beachy

Living For Samson

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Many planted seeds in life grew the idea for Beachy Dogs, and Samson is one of them!

I share this story so you can meet Samson, and while the end is gut-wrenching, I hope to bring awareness of dangers in our surroundings, and could take your dog away too soon in life! Tragically, we lost Samson at only 9 months old to a blockage. We continue to struggle to wrap our minds around losing that sweet puppy!

We adopted Samson in May of 2020 when he was just 3.5 weeks old. Samson brought healing to our broken hearts since we had just lost our precious Junebug, a 14-year-old Pitbull. Given Samson's age, he needed the dedicated care that a typical puppy would receive from the momma dog. At a time when telework became the norm, this was perfect! When we weren't caring for Samson's physical needs, we were loving, cuddling, playing, and mesmerized by his angelic presence; a time we needed it most! Now our pack consisted of Samson, Charlie, Shepherd mix, Coco, 8-year-old SASSY Chihuahua, Khloe (massive 11# Min Pin, our grand-dog staying with us), and Lucy (a feline)!

Samson's rate of growth seemed to

be exponential! We would wake up in the morning and say to each other, "He looks larger than when we went to bed!" At bedtime, we'd say, "He looks larger than when we woke up!" I used to say to him, "Samson, I named you all wrong! I should have named you Clifford!" Recalling a childhood book I remembered reading.

I will always treasure this time. His cottony soft fur, pudgy rolls, and skin he needed to grow into. Those eyes too! Big and blueish, that would change to a chocolatey brown. Then there was the long cuddle sesh! Samson would fall asleep in my arms and I can recall the warmth that his tiny puppy body would exert! Puppy play was true home entertainment! His hind section would get in front of him, he'd roll, slip, and slide completely exuding love for life!

Fast forward to August 2020, time to move from Hawaii, leave our beautiful Island of Oahu, and settle in Kentucky. Hawaii was my home for a total of 17 years!

This alone would be a challenge, with fur babies - a big challenge. Moving animals in and out of Hawaii takes planning! A pandemic required additional strategizing! Due to restrictions on flying pets during COVID, we had to separate. The best option was to fly the animals via a cargo company. The dog and cat pack arrived a day after us in California. For us, that day was full of anxiety; our pups and the cat rejoined us safely! I remember feeling relief and joy when we saw a pallet carrying our babies! I called them my "world travelers. The sound still rings fondly in my ears, those barks, whining, and that meow!

We embarked on a trip across the country, with two vehicles, 4 dogs, and a cat, and desperately found a decent signal to handle the paperwork on our home purchase. A crazy trip, but the pups gave us sanity! Samson was a social butterfly, making friends every leg of the trip! Six days on the road and we arrived in Kentucky, nervously settled into a hotel stay that would go on for 2.5 months waiting to close on our house. Another challenge during COVID!

At about this time, Samson chewed furiously to soothe his teething and experience a new environment; combined with his XL growth, this posed issues. Some of this brought us laughs, like the day he chewed a purple craft paint bottle and ended up with purple smudges all over his face. Another time, we gave Samson a basketball and he squeezed every bit of air out of it in less than 30 seconds! We kept constant supervision on Samson and kept temptations out of his chewing grasp. Finding a toy Samson could not destroy seemed impossible. He would swallow pieces of toys, and we would rush off to the vet to ensure he was ok. A sigh of relief every time the x-ray showed clear or he passed toy pieces without issue.

Just before ending our hotel stay, and moving into our new home, we lost sweet Charlie. Charlie had gotten so old, that there was a day when he seemed to have difficulty regulating body temperature. Samson inherently knew his brother needed him and laid by his side, sharing his body heat. The following week, we would lose our Charlie. We wanted all the dogs to say their goodbyes, so they wouldn't wonder where he had gone. Dogs grieve too! Samson carefully crawled up on our sweet boy, laying his head on Charlie's as if to say, "I miss you already!" Tears and pain of our loss overpowered the moment!

We knew we were going to add to our pack, and this is where Porsche (our beautiful and energetic Belgian Malinois) joined us! She was old enough to come home in October 2020. Porsche and Samson were, as Brian would say, "thick as thieves." These two played from the moment they met, simulating the sound of a wild stampede throughout the house. Their favorite game was tug-a-war, so we had multiple tuggers, and these two would test their strength daily.

We tossed toys daily, as they became tattered, chipped, and destroyed. It wasn't until a few weeks before Samson's death that I joined a subscription toy service that seemed "Samson-proof!" I recall a specific day picking up toys three weeks before Samson's death, the first few days of Jan 2021. I saw a brand new tug-a-war rope toy slightly tattered. I can hear myself to this day saying, "I just bought this!" Of course, I had concern for Samson's safety, and I also wanted to avoid another costly vet visit, so I tossed it!' Fast forward three weeks and Samson started vomiting. We had a concern, however, toy pieces successfully surfaced, so we thought he had gotten them out of his system. He would return to his normal high-energy and playful puppy state. Then, he'd throw up again, and again; 24 hours later, on Sunday night, he deteriorated to vomit continually and stopped eating/drinking completely. Now we were scared, frantically trying to reach our vet emergency line, but couldn't get through. With no open vets, we rushed for the first appointment on Monday morning. Samson's x-rays confirmed there was a blockage this time. He underwent emergency surgery, and we were hopeful he would recover. We were provided the contents of the blockage, and threads from the rope I had tossed three weeks earlier were included. Samson, being so large, 97 pounds, opted to leave him at the vet overnight so we didn't jeopardize his recovery or tear his multiple stitches. We also knew we couldn't go the night without seeing him, so we went to visit our sweet boy. Samson was so weak and lethargic, a state we had never seen him in, and one state no puppy should ever be in. Samson bravely picked up his head to look at us, and we comforted and gently stoked his head and ears telling him how much he's loved and how we can't wait to take him back home. He was given a shot of pain meds, laid his back down, and went to sleep. We lost our Samson that night.

Please learn from this tragedy and let your pet live for Samson! Knowing what I know now, oh what I would have given to have that wisdom then! Keep them safe, keep them supervised, manage the environment, and never leave them alone with toys! We certainly were attentive "dog parents" and tragedy still found us. We continue to supervise our dogs, keep dangers away, and only bring in toys we know will hold up to our power chewer. Dogs will find things, jump gates, and raid laundry. We are careful to watch them and quick to get to a vet if something doesn't seem right. Please keep following my blog. I will post safety tips and helpful information. Subscribing is free! Hug your pups an extra hug, and think of our Samson for a moment!

Aloha, Barks, and Howls,

Melanie Beachy

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