Up early after a nights dream of our beloved companion, our St Bernard/Great Pyrenees dog we came to know as Big Sam waiting for me on a simple peaceful porch of a cottage nestled in a beautiful flower filled garden in the early sunlight of a day. My dreams are often laced with him somewhere within the hints of the landscape. Big Sam brought so much peace, security and teachable wisdom to my life. His presence was enough to calm my mind on a harsh day at the outreach center. He seemed angelic really. Sam weighed 118 pounds when my son and I rescued him, he was emaciated, broken, beaten and barely hanging onto life, only to find he would rise above to give more life and to live louder than any of us could have known. When his last day arrived before he passed away, his weight reached 192 pounds which was a healthy weight for a dog of his stature. He was quite a presence when he would slowly walk into a room and sit quietly and stare. Sam was so wise, I learned to listen to his awareness and approval or disapproval of people. More than anyone, he truly only cherished the children. We stayed beside one another until his last breathe hit my cheek, I still carry it with me. Gods compassion allowed his pain to not linger yet his legacy of love always will. Big Sam captivated my life along with so many others. I posted his passing only to see love letter after love letter of how he moved the hearts of broken people within the outreach center and our family and closest friends. Sam was selective about his allowance of love and when he did it was as massive as his size.
Big Sam would curl up under my desk at our outreach center and watch over me. Toddlers would crawl up to him and he would invite them to lay on his side and pull him as hard as hard as they liked without a flinch from him. His love and patience of the little ones could teach a classroom filled of neglectful humans. The wisdom and discernment of a dog is astounding. I’ve had the blessing and connection of heart to rescue dogs that have been hatefully tossed away. The depth that takes place as my arms open and fold out my hand in the first moments of touching a broken dog is a true test of commitment for both the dog and myself. When I first met Big Sam the overwhelming love that I had for him was instant. He had never been touched outside of a tight rope by a human and he was no longer a puppy. Living on mud as mold and infection covered his legs and back, being tossed an occasional scrap just to keep him barely alive. The evil conditions of what he had survived was as apparent as the color of his fur. In the very first moment of seeing him, the privilege and honor to earn his trust overtook me. I’ll never forget getting down on the floor and crawling next to him as he shook uncontrollably. When I reached him, I curled up against the filth that was still attached to his fur and rubbed him as if he was cashmere. Big Sam stole my heart and I very humbly stole his.
There was no time to waste from that moment on, my son and I ushered him into our car, straight home. Together Big Sam and I crawled into a warm tub as I slowly washed away the past with him. Our talk in the warm water as it all fell down the drain also held a firm commitment to live our lives out together side by side. I even told him that whoever God chose to take first would be the one sitting on the porch of our cottage in the gardens in heaven. I meant it and I believe he did too. His words were in his eyes. His commitment was his loyalty to always watching over me no matter where I was or the season of life I was in. Big Sam left a legacy of lessons in how to love. I miss him, I dream of him because of the depth of love and the heart connection that we shared. The gift to rescue is no small gift…it has been one of the largest I have ever received and given. Love deep humans…God created the animals first…they are that precious if we choose to see. Love love love….