Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

April 9, 2005 was the day I lost my first Cairn Terrier, registered as Coletowne's Apple Blossom but officially known by all as Sam and later in life Fat Sam. She wasn't fat, but a stout Cairn of recent Scottish lines, bigger than her American cousins and game as all true terriers are. She house trained in a week, chewed one book, a paperback of dubious quality. I always suspected the poor writing simply offended her. She never  did another destructive thing, not ever. She learned to walk on a leash easily, heel, sit, stay, come, down; everything I needed her to know and she was pretty reliable too for a terrier! She alerted us to her needs to go out, she was always kind to other dogs unless they got terribly fresh with her and she liked to sleep in.  Now, lest you think she was absolutely perfect, she was a tattle tale. If any of the cats jumped up on the dining room table or the kitchen counters Sam would come barreling in to us barking her head off and "lead" us to the offender. Needless to say, the behavior caused more than a few scratches on our nice cherry dining table as cats scrambled to hide. We got over it.
Her one stunning show of stubbornness came in the obedience ring. In even the novice classes there is a portion where the dog must heel off leash, usually a corner is involved and then a nice sit upon stopping. Well, I made the corner but my errant girl decided to go kibitz with the onlookers ringside. When I called her to come, she looked at me over her shoulder and then turned her little head back like I was just an meaningless interruption in her important agenda. I walked over to retrieve her and she backed right into the correct spot and sat like it had all been a misunderstanding.We didn't pass but it didn't matter. If you can't laugh at yourself, you probably shouldn't be taking a terrier into obedience.

She had two wonderful litters of pups, nicely bred to a local AKC Champion stud and we kept one, Lexie, the puppy from hell, who was the exact opposite of her dear mother. That's a story for another day in September. We traveled cross country four times Sam and I, she saw me through marriages and divorce, moves, job changes and all the moments that add up to the proverbial fabric of one's life. She got to chase squirrels and cats, meet people and babies, which where her delight! She would whine to go over and peek at a baby in a carriage no matter where we were, tail wagging in propeller motion and a smile from ear to ear. In her old age we took walks in the woods out here in Oregon, made a point to have a fire in the fireplace on cold days, doled out treats with abandon and just basked in her little old lady ways. 

She has a special place in the back 40, one visible from the windows. Nothing more than a cairn of stones mark the spot and prayer flags ring the area where she and two of her compatriots rest. 

Dear Sam, I said my farewells to you long ago, but If I squint, I can see you still, sleeping in the sun. 

Sam @ 4months. Memorial Day weekend, West Pawlet Vermont 1987. Our First adventure together.


  1. what a wonderful tribute, it brought back memories of my previous family members.

  2. They can easily be our best friends can't they - no matter what they are there to play or listen or whatever! Thanks for sharing!

  3. She sounds like such a great little dog! No wonder you miss her!

    Sorry I missed this yesterday....somehow my google reader skipped right over it.


  4. Thank you all. She was a one in a million, but we all feel that way about our companions and that's just as it should be! :-)