Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letter to Leroy, The Best Dog in the Universe 7/3/2002-4/11/2012

  Leroy, I always said you were the “worst” puppy, that turned into the BEST dog in the world. You came to me at 16 weeks old, scared to death from living your life born in a puppy mill, landing in gross, inhumane, pet store. You sat in my lap and looked down at me with your long nose, dignified face, and human-like, knowing eyes. I knew you were mine. You walked in the door for the first time when we brought you home and in your cocky, puppy way, got yourself into all sorts of trouble with the older dogs. I can’t count how many seromas we drained off of you, the “best” one was off your butt, from you tangling with Sierra, the matriarch pointer. You would always trot up to “Howard” and bat him on the nose with your long paw, and they all loved and loathed you at the same time. I remember how you had to actually get in the shower with me everyday, otherwise you would chew my clothing, shoes, watches, hats, couches, CD cases, riding helmets, seatbealts, armrests, the most infuriating was a 300.00 pair of brand new hiking boots…but..despite all of that you were still the “best” dog in the training. Speaking of training, remember we posted your diploma from graduating “Obediance” school on the fridge for a few years?

The year we got you was the worst Maine winter I can remember. 4-foot snowstorms weekly and a german shorthaired pointer puppy were not a good mix. You could not run outside, so I would build jump courses with chairs and brooms in the house, I would throw food to the top of the stairs so that you would run up and down, we would do this for hours and I still never could tire you out. You were a great riding companion, I would close the indoor arena doors and you would run, run, run, while my horses were begrudgingly getting used to you. The miles on the trail, with me screaming for you as you would chase whatever scent you could find, despite all that, you always came back to me. Remember the time the neighbor called me because you ran away and they found you eating food off their counter in their house? Remember the time you made us an hour late to the boyfriend I was dating at the time’s, parents surprise anniversary party? We missed the surprise, but you were there. It was amazing the miles you would roam too, but always aware of the cars, and you never got hit. Remember the road trips you so eagerly jumped into the car for, yet you wouldn’t eat the whole trip so I would have to go to McDonalds and buy you bacon so you would not be taken from me for “neglect”? You would even make me get on the floor and pretend I was going to eat your food, and only than after you had gotten a kick out of making me do stupid human tricks, would you finally eat. 5:00 was your favorite time, you would stand at the door, wagging that tail that just never stopped, even today, your last day, waiting excitedly to go to the beach? We did that every day, we met many good friends and dogs during our days on the beach. Rain, snow, or shine we were there. I remember when I ran with you daily, and felt like a piece of me was missing when my hands were empty, and leashless running down the road. When you could no longer run with me, I stopped running, not having your little brown and white butt in front of me was not enough motivation to get the run done.

I was 24 when I got you, young, trying to figure out men, life, and commitment. You were slightly aloof, never needy, just what I needed, yet I wondered why you “didn’t need me” did in your own way, and that only came out as we were together longer…remember the men that were needy, we ditched? You were needy in your own way in that you let ME learn to love YOU, you never forced it upon me. I never knew if I was capable of loving like you read about in books. When we went through that first break-up together, you let me lay on the kitchen floor and we cried, he was a good man, and a good doggy dad to you, but we all knew it was time to move on, the couches that you ate during your anxiety of our arguments were testament to that fact. For the first time I connected with you instead of a man. You were excellent at picking my men, many men were jealous of you, did not understand why you needed to come into the house with me all the time, it was what it was, if someone wanted to be with me, they had to be with you. You would just look at me patiently with your knowing look, letting me know you would be there for me when I finally, sadly, figured yet another relationship was not going to work. You went everywhere with me, there was never a day that we were part for years. You spend the night in the back of my car with me when we would party a little too hard in Kennebunkport, you would chase crabs on the docks in the boatyard, and though you weren’t a huge fan of canoe rides, you still sat at the head of the canoe and sat like a statue, watching the shore get further away. You were always with me.

You were there for me when I almost died, July 11, 2006. You were sitting in the back of my Hyundai santa fe, with the hatchback wide open, when that horse had a seizure on top of me,  you watched the whole thing, and I heard you whining, though I could not see, and was bleeding out my mouth, I stayed conscious because I NEEDED to make sure you were taken care of and not left in my hot car while I went to the hospital. While I was in the hospital, drugged on pain medication, I kept hallucinating that you were at the end of the bed laying on my legs. Even when you were not with me, you still were. You stayed with Micheal for 2 weeks while I healed, and he would bring you over daily and that helped me heal. After that accident we put 18,000miles on our car in 8 weeks on the road trip of our lives. We went everywhere, you have been more places than most dogs will ever see. I have photos of you in the nations highest elevations and in the lowest elevation in death valley, you have ran on all the beaches Norteast, south, West, and Northwest, there are more photos of you than most peoples first born child. You were my first born child in a sense. You let me dress you in silly clothes, and ALWAYS posed for the camera. There are pictures of you in sunglasses, margaritas next to your paws, clothing, you name it, you let me do it. All with a graceful tolerance that many creatures and humans will never learn to possess. I actually really think you enjoyed the attention, If I didn’t think so I would have never done it.

You let Jeff into my life, you two are similar in spirit. You traveled with us, laughed with us, argued with us as we figured one another out in Santa Cruz, you survived your first round of cancer with us. You moved with us 8 times in 5 years, you shared 9 cars with me. You were the “best pet” and  ring-bearer in our wedding. You wore that role and goofy ribbon around your neck with pride. You knew this was the most important day of our lives. I thought you would be around to be a big brother to a baby someday, as you were only 9, but that’s not the way life works. You were however the best big brother to Percy, who is only 4 and has no idea how big the shoes are he will now fill. You fought this bravely, patiently, and did not really suffer a single day. You took your pills daily without much fuss, you always came when you were called when it was time for your shots. Yesterday I could see you were fading, I was trying to help you make it through the weekend so you could come to the beach with us this weekend for my class in Astoria. I was so anxiety ridden that you would get sick while we were gone, you had to have known this. You looked perkier this morning and I had a glimmer of hope. When I asked you if you wanted to go for a ride you leaped off the couch, trotted confidently to the car, and your big, giant, beautiful heart just burst. It was violent only for a second, I got to catch you, pick you up, lay you down gently and feel your beautiful heart beat for it’s last time. The only words I could say were “perfection” You were perfection, Leroy. Even in death, you were perfect. Cancer did not take your beauty, you were shiny, in excellent weight, your muzzle never even really grayed. Your hips and body never gave out on you. I held you as you left me on the physical form, and could only thank you for your confident way of taking charge of your destiny, as usual. You never made me make the decision. You let me do everything that I could do so that I was never left feeling as if I could have done more. You had an amazing week, you got to see the new facility, mark it with your presence, and give me the o.k. to move onto a new place. You left me as we had hoped it would go, your decision, quick, painless, as you were heading off to do your favorite thing, “go for a ride”. Death is not easy, but it can be perfect, and twice I have felt perfection with you this year, first was my wedding as you watched with those knowing eyes of yours, and second as I held you and you soared to your new place. I know you are around, and I find it no coincidence that the first thing I saw when I came home to the empty house, empty of our belongings and empty of you, was your little, blue, stuffed bear, waiting for me right at the door where you had left it when we “went for our ride”. You knew what you were doing Leroy, and you possessed a brilliance that I am not sure I will ever find in another dog.

You taught me so much, you stuck with me through so much, and you taught me that my heart is so much bigger than I ever thought it could be. I am wrapped up in your blanket, the fire going, I wish you were here to enjoy a rainy day snuggled on the couch watching a movie with me, but you are not. You are up there somewhere chasing seagulls and cats. Your last 24 hours were painless, you made peace with the cat ‘moses” yesterday, which we got on video, and we enjoyed a few minutes of scratches and snuggles before we got up to meet our day. You were one of a kind Leroy, an old soul that knew so much in your short 9years. I am not a religious person in the Christian sense, but I sure as hell am spiritual, and I know that my version of “heaven” or whatever you want to call me, entails you meeting me as I journey to you, your tail wagging furiously, as you run off to show me where the best birds are, and I hop on one of my long lost horses and we greet the new trails together forever. I love you Leroy, to say you were my best friend is an understatement. You were something that there are no words for, just a primal feeling that all humans possess instinctually if they let themselves. I vow to take care of myself the way I took care of you, and thank you, thank you, thank you, for being there. You are perfection. I love you buddy~ Samantha

                                                      Sunday Morning Snuggle session
My beautiful dog radiating his light!

Leroy and his dragon, the last toy he picked out.

Come on Papa..I beat you up the stairs-this was Sunday, Leroy ok'd the new place for us, even though he sadly will not be joining us.

Yesterday, Leroy making peace with the kitty. It was amazing to watch.

Taken last night, as Leroy perked up a bit. This is the last photo I will ever take of my beautiful pup.


  1. Thank you for sharing this Sam. What a beautiful friendship.

  2. Oh my gosh, you made me cry like a baby. You and Leroy were both very lucky!

  3. Oh Sam, I am so sorry! Leroy had a wonderful life with you, and you with him. <3

  4. This is such a beautiful memoir of you and Leroy! I haven't cried like this in so long.. Thank you for sharing such heartfelt memories Sam. Bless your heart, I hope you find peace in knowing that Leroy will be there waiting for you on the other side.