you were one year old when we brought you home from the dog shelter. i was thirteen. josh and i had been asking for a dog and promising mom and dad that we would walk it everyday. they wouldn't ever need to do a thing. obviously, fifteen years later, you know firsthand that we rarely (and i mean rarely!) kept our end of the bargain.
i think, as a family, we were well prepared for a dog. we looked up dog names, researched breeds, had all our supplies ready to bring you home. we were prepared for a dog, but definitely not prepared for a samba. you were fifty pounds of hair and enthusiasm. you bolted into your new home and escaped our yard within five minutes. i don't have a clear picture of you in my mind because you were blur. it was overwhelming at first as we tried to find you a place to settle and sleep. there was no way you could be contained in a kennel, but if we let you sleep wherever you wanted in the house, you would whine outside of our bedroom doors until we got up to give you some love.
because that's all you asked for in life, isn't it? girl, you were straight heavenly love packaged up in dog's body and sent down to us. grace upon grace. tail constantly wagging, jumping with joy, kissing every face you could get you tongue on. you probably can't imagine what it was like to be an incredibly awkward eighth grade girl, but i think you saved me. from the time you came to our family, i can see that i started to relax again. your love for me was so open and honest and enthusiastic, that i began to feel lovable. you made me feel confident; less prickly and more comfortable in my own skin.
i think anyone who met you would agree you were a special dog, but sometimes you were a special dog. you loved to lick freshly applied lotion off our arms and legs. you could destroy a stuffed animal within minutes, but carried around a stuffed gorilla for years without harming it (josh and i did not give it a very flattering name, i'm sorry to say). oh, remember the time there was a thunder storm and you trapped yourself in the bathroom, panicked, and then shredded the door trying to get out? oh, and remember the time you did the same thing to the front door? i'm fairly sure mom and dad will spend the next ten years digging up our socks which you buried in the garden. when a dirty sock wasn't available, you weren't opposed to snatching some kleenex from the garbage. you just wanted to be near our smells. you had a special gift for positioning yourself in the exact middle of the family; you'd nose in between hugs, and if we were in different rooms, you could find the exact center of the house and hang out there for awhile, trying to be as near each of us as possible.
in the end, that's how mom and dad knew you were ready to go home to heaven. you couldn't move and cried every time you were alone. sixteen years is a good long life for any dog, and you lived it to its absolute fullest. i'm sorry that josh and i couldn't be there to give you one last belly rub and to say thank you. you were the greatest dog.
i love you, girl.