Sam and his sister Tegwyn (jack russell terriers), were a big part of my life. They were brought initially by my parents at 8 weeks old and absolutely adorable from the moment they took over the house. Sadly my mum died when the pups (as they were known) were two years old so along with my Dad we took on responsibility. They were working terriers, so out after rabbits (and pheasants), though Sam preferred to chase after foxes; the only time you heard him giving full cry similar to a hunting pack.
I had sole care of them from the age of 12 years old when Dad fell asleep one night and didn't wake up. They gave me a reason to keep going, to get up each morning and enjoy each weekend. Unconditionally providing me with comfort and joyful moments as they entered their senior years.
Tegwyn had to be put to sleep in July 2006 at the grand old age of 15 years, 11 months old. She simply gave up the will to live and walks were too much for her heart and legs; it was the only time she lay still in my arms as the vet gave her the last injection and she slipped serenely away to be reunited with my parents.
So then it was just Sam and me, I knew the day would come when he would also go, but he kept fighting on though getting slower with age and his sight was dimming until he could see movement but not detail. Still he managed to go for twice daily walks and even shared a breakfast with next doors cat, I can still see him now - nose to nose with the cat sharing the biscuits. The cat strangely accepting of him, yet in his earlier days he would have terrorised it unmercifully; the benefits of age softening the mind.
Sam was put to sleep on October 23rd 2007, at the great age of 17 years 2 months and 20 days old.. once more the pack was reunited in full and I hope they enjoyed an enthusiastic meeting wherever we go when we no longer inhabit these bodies in the mortal domain. I had a few months of crying when I thought of him, and even now I feel quite emotional writing this about him, he was someone very special and I was privileged to have been chosen to look after him.
Sam cannot be replaced by another dog as I don't have the lifestyle that permits me to spend the amount of time they would deserve and in any case the new dog would have their own character and shouldn't be seen as a replacement. So it has to wait until my life changes enough to be able to provide time enough to be lucky to have a dog once more.