On Christmas Eve when I was 7 years old, I lay in my bed listening to the strangest sound. A high-pitched whining. Over and over. Since my aunt and uncle were in town with my new baby cousin, I was convinced they came back from the hotel and were staying at our house. The sound I was hearing was probably the baby crying. I almost got up so many times that night to walk down the hall to see for sure what the noise was. The only thing that kept me in my bed was that childhood belief that I would break the magic spell that allowed Santa to come.
The sound I heard ended up being the best Christmas present I've ever received. My puppy. He was in a crate that was covered in a Christmas table cloth and a bow. As we walked into the living room, the crate started shaking and whining. After my brother and I calmed down, my mom opened the crate and let him out. He walked out, sniffed a little bit, and climbed right into my lap where he stayed for the rest of the morning. He was so tiny. A little ball of fluff with the most adorable face I've ever seen. Like a little ewok. We named him Sambucca ('cause he's a licker.. get it?!), Sammy for short. And I've loved him unconditionally every day since that Christmas morning.
Yesterday morning I got a phone call from my mom.
Definitely not a phone call that I ever wanted to get.
Sam died on Sunday night. He was 16 years old. He can't really see that well anymore, or hear, but he's healthy. I was hoping that my mom was going to tell me he passed away in his sleep, but unfortunately that was not the case. He fell into my parents' pool. My dad found him there.
And then my heart broke.
I am trying not to let my thoughts wander, because when they do they go to a place where I can't let myself go. Like how long was in the water before... How hard did he try... How scared he must have been... I just can't. My sweet little dog. He didn't deserve to go like that.
I don't know what was worse - hearing what happened, or my parents voices as they broke the news to me. That is something I will never forget. My dad crying because he knew that he not only let Sammy down, but me down as well. I don't blame him, of course I don't. It was a terrible, tragic accident. But I know he feels guilty nonetheless.
I do, too.
So Sammy, I am sorry. From the bottom of my heart. You deserved so much better than that. I loved you so, so much. You were the best dog I ever could have asked for. A good dog, a wonderful dog, who didn't ask anything except for cuddles and a treat at exactly 9pm sharp every evening. And I was more than happy to give that to you. I always wished I could have brought you to Boston with me, but I know you wouldn't have liked the move. Please know that I've missed you every day the last five and half years that I've been up here. I know that your last moments were probably terrifying and confusing, but I hope that now you are not afraid anymore.
Rest in peace my little Blamface.
I love you.