Saturday

I lost a companion of twelve years today, on May Day, with the air heavy with perfume and every tree looking like a wedding cake.
A dozen years and hundreds of roadtrips, camping trips, hikes and adventures. Though he was a heeler, a herding dog by nature, Sam slept in my bed and shared a pillow with me from the day we met. He curled beside my on motel beds and in desert tents. He spent many a long day on many a dusty highway in the passenger seat of my car, breathing in the scent of the open road.
I'd like to press the rewind button. I'd like to re-set the clock. Grief is a terrible thing, and there is no erasing a companion like this from the heart. It is a cruel twist of nature that we love our dogs so much, and that we outlive them by so many years. I don't want his ashes, or a headstone, but I need to remember him like this...by all those happy days on the road, in our element.
So this is how I chose to pay tribute to the most beloved of companions. These are the images that I hope passed through his head as he passed. I hope he saw all this, smelled the red dust of the high deserts that we loved so much.
I hope he remembered cactus flowers the scent of pine and cedar, of creosote bushes after a rain.
I hope he remembers the hot sand that slides silky underfoot, and the changing scenery, dawn to dusk, as we traveled together.
I hope he remembered the trickle of fresh water through the dry land, and the patterns it makes.
All the wonders of nature, in which we spent so many of our happiest days together.
I hope this is what he saw, and what he sees now. I hope he is here in all these things, in the fresh water and the breezes heavy with perfume, in the great blousing branches of the flowering trees, and the dusty winds off the desert.
I hope he's there in the wind that brushes my face, and in those endless shoals of clouds scudding across a spring sky.
This is for you, Sam, beloved, for all you gave me.
Sam found me - or I found Sam - when I was on my own. He had only been in the pound for two hours when I walked in on a whim, wondering if I needed a dog. He was terribly sad, a dog who desperately needed a companion, and I was able to make him happy.
That was all I wanted - to give him the happiest of lives for all the years that he lived.
I think, I hope, that I did that - and I know that he gave me just as much and more in return. I think he taught me that I was capable of love, and out of that before too long came a husband, another dog, a child, and now a cat. A family. What greater gift can an animal give a human being?
That's my husband with Max, his dog, who passed two years before Sam. I hope they are together now.

21 comments:

nativekee said...

Maia,
I am so very sorry for your loss!
Your tribute to Sam is so perfectly & beautifully said & I am feeling your connection & grief.
It is an amazing gift that our animals give us - the expanded capacity to love!
You have touched the part of me, & I am sure anyone who reads this - who has ever lost a beloved pet.
Dogs are such special companion souls!
I am rambling through tears as I write you a note, but send you so much love & compassion!

Yanyan said...

I am back from China, just want to stop by and say hi. Sorry for the lost of Sam. The images on this post is breath taking! More later!

Vivian M said...

Sending you all our love and hugs across the miles. Our sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved Sam.

basho said...

I'm so sorry for you. I lost my companion of 14 years last September and I know how you feel. I feel weird sending this to you, but here is my post about it. (Yes, it's in the book review.) I hope you might find some comfort in it.
http://bashoblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/entre-nous-by-debra-ollivier.html

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

Oh Maia, Sam led a thoroughly exciting, happy and adventurous life judging from these pictures - who wouldn't with you?
Thankyou for sharing him with us today - perhaps he will send you word somehow that he is thinking of you too. Dogs can do that. Dogs can do just about anything.

Yoli said...

Oh my Maia, I had no idea! I just came to your blog right now. I know how much he meant to you and how much he will be missed. You loved him so dearly. Take confort when you can, knowing that as happy as he made you, you made him. He will live forever in your heart, part of you. Again, I am so deeply deeply sorry.

lou said...

Wonderful les mots d'amour pour votre animal et les photos qui les accompagnent.
It's hard to lose his "love's companion with four legs"
J'ai un Golden Retriver de 10 ans bien fatigué et j'appréhende ce moment là.....

Sam est bien dans cet endroit magique pour "sa dernière promenade"

nath said...

sorry for your loss... what a great tribute... looks like he's had a great time with you...

kenza said...

Maia: I am so sorry you lost such a close companion... Your words are beautiful.

Lili said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. Dogs are the best companions.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Hugs for you Maia... what more can I say..

ryan said...

Oh god, so sorry. Losing a beloved dog - - it just haunts you. Sending your whole family love. xoxoxo

ryan said...

That was me - Maia R, btw. Don't know how I'm signed in as Ryan!

Caterina B said...

Oh, so sad and poignant. You made me cry. It's a very hard thing to do, to have to say goodbye to a devoted dog. I know. I sympathize.

Susan Angstadt said...

Oh Maia-my heart breaks for you. I lost my Baxter 5 years ago after 8 great years together and I still think about him every single week. I am crying as I write this as I know the pain you feel. In so many cases we are closer to our animals than most friends or family members because we are with them all the time and they provide comfort a human is not capable of providing. Big HUG! Susan

Brynn said...

Oh Maia,

I feel such a great sadness for you. It is so difficult to lose a companion that lived with you through so many changes. It is beautiful that you are soaking in all that you shared with him. Much love to you.

Christiane said...

Un très bel hommage! Il a sûrement été très heureux avec vous tous. En pensée avec vous.

Simply Mel said...

Maia~
The bond between us and our beloved companions is so deep, and I'm sitting here at this very moment with my sweet pug on my lap. 13 years of age, and she is not feeling well. I can tell something is wrong. My heart is breaking as I know yours is over the loss of Sam. You are so right, time cheats us when it comes to their short lives. If only they could be by our side forever....
Big love and hugs being sent to you.
~Melissa

Merisi said...

I am so sorry that you lost Sam to that unexplicable time gap between the path we have to walk and the short time they walk along with us. May the utterly beautiful memories you keep of him comfort you and your loved ones give you all the joy you deserve,
hugs,
Merisi

liza said...

Oh, I am so sorry he is gone from you. What a beautiful tribute. I am thinking of you.

Gigi said...

Oh, Maia, my heart aches for you. What a friend you have lost, but how beautiful your time together was! I welled up as you described the images passing through his head. I am sure he saw all that you described and felt your love most deeply. Sending you love and healing wishes. xoxo Gigi