Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Afterlife of Sam the Dog

Pam asked me if I believed if dogs had a place in the next world. Pam, my answer is that dogs have a place in ALL worlds. And cats. And horses. And dolphins, spiders, crickets, birds – especially birds.

I have a story about dogs reincarnating. You knew that I would if you’ve been reading the blog posts about my life. I just about have stories of one of each thing from vibhuti/vibuti to trucks and panthers. You’ll see.

My story about reincarnating dogs involves a chocolate colored creature I called Sam. He was a poodle/wire haired terrier mix; called a terripoo by the breeder who’s female papered poodle got a midnight visit from her not-so-papered wire haired terrier neighbor dog. I called Sam a ‘pooter’. He had a propensity to fart. It suited his personally.

Anyway, Sam came into my life shortly after the Kharman Ghia rollover. Bobby and I were captured by a box of puppies outside my Aunt Tina’s shop in Gibsonton. Sam was laying on his back in the corner, oblivious to the fawning behavior of his other sibs who were wiggling and widdling all over themselves and yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” We took Sam home.

He caught on pretty quick to the housebreaking thing almost at once. Sam was a bugger about chewing up underwear and socks until he bit into an electric blanket, which straightened him out like a sail cat and spun him across the bedroom. He kept his teeth to food and items he was given to play with after that.

Sam could catch a Frisbee in mid-air like an athlete and would drive you nuts to throw it. He also had this amazing ability to cruise over tall grass between leaps, ears flying as he surveyed the turf below for mice, balls or sticks. Water was another passion. The dog actually leapt out of my car window at a stop sign to dive into a roadside pond! He could dive under water for rocks or sticks that sank and was a veteran traveler.

Being fearless and convinced he was 100 pounds bigger and heavier than he was led him to attack much bigger animals. I have a picture in my mind of 45 pound Sam hanging headless out of the mouth of a huge military German Shepard named Pax in California. Sam's engulfed head was still barking and growling. This is how he came to have a black spot of fur on his back. Sam chose a pretty irascible Sheep Dog named Moose to pick on. Moose bit a mouth-sized chunk out of Sam’s back. When it finally healed, the hair grew back in extra curly, wiry, and very black.

Sam stayed with me after Bobby and I split up. Sam and me were great traveling buddies. He rode all over the United States and Canada in vans, cars and trucks as I explored the highways and byways of America. We traveled to California and back and he made it up the East Coast, around Mystic Seaport, over the Bay of Fundy, around Nova Scotia and through Quebec. He had his frequent flyer miles.

An old cheerleader’s sweater complete with letters that I found at the thrift store that he wore with pride was his prize possession. He would wear it, put his right elbow up on the armrest, and survey the countryside with interest as we rode. He was very protective of me and tried to take the arm off of a burglar who dared break into my bedroom window in Atlanta.

Sam was with me for 15 years. He spent his final days in Salt Lake City, Utah. His last years, he reverted to chewing up my panties and shoes. He dug a hole into a Bassett sofa cushion and spread the innards all over the house. He couldn’t see very well and would run headlong into walls and the furniture. I’d had Chris by then and Sam took to biting and growling at him. When I was in the second big accident of my life and couldn’t take care of baby or dog, a friend took Sam to the shelter and Chris was taken care of by my friend, Kathy.

About three years later, Becky, Kathy, Mary, Wick and I took the kids to the Japanese gardens in Austin, Texas. We were coming down into a little meadow and there on the top of the next hill was a couple with a dog on a leash. The dog broke the leash, came barreling down the hill, threaded his way through the group, and about knocked me down! Yep, a chocolate colored poodle terrier mix the spit of Sam down to the black spot of hair on his back! Even Wick and Becky said, “It’s Sam!!”

He squealed, barked, spoke, licked and loved all over me until the couple ran up all apologies. He was trembling against my legs, trying to tell his new owners all about me as they explained he had the black patch of hair from birth. We compared notes on Frisbees, water diving, attacking much larger dogs, and his love of travel. I told them that he needed an old cheerleader’s letter sweater and they promised to get him one.

With some final hugs and love, I left Sam with his new owners. He looked back once, barked and wagged his tail and was off to new adventures. The experience was the topic of discussion for days.

So, Pam. Yes, there is a place for dogs in the afterlife, and other lives. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
(The poodle terrier mix is named Chico and I found him on the web. Sam was a bit curlier and a lighter color of chocolate. - Dina)


Pam said...

Wow, that is incredible! Thanks so much for the story! I adopted an old dog just recently and I wish I could have more time with him. I am cherishing every moment, however!

I have often felt that my current cat, LadyBug, might be the reincarnation of my childhood cat, Blossom. Just weeks before finding LadyBug (and before I even had the idea of getting a cat) I was in a half-asleep state and felt a cat walking around my head on my pillow, just like Blossom used to do. I don't know if someone was trying to tell me we were about to be reunited or if it was actually Blossom telling me I was going to get a new cat, but it was significant to me. I still think about it sometimes.

queenlint1 said...

Pam, I know the 'head dance' you're talking about Blossom doing to tell you that she was coming again! My current cat, George is a head stepper, too!