[...] I am thankful for Sampson. He came into our lives a scared neurotic nervous mess. He had some adjustment issues but soon fell into his role in our family. We discovered he loved to walk, and loved to run even more. I believe there are permanent trails in the backyard of our NC house from his patrol routes.
He loved Brian so much and lived to please his master. When Brian died he became even closer to me. One day I was going through one of Brian's tough boxes that we'd gotten back from Afghanistan & had tears just coursing down my face. Sampson was in the room with me sleeping & as I sat back on my heels to compose myself I felt Sampson behind me. He laid his head on my shoulder, whined a bit and waited until I stopped what I was doing & acknowledged him. He gave me the comfort, in those moments, that I needed. The strength I needed to continue....
A few weeks ago he got sick. At the vets, X-rays confirmed he had eaten a rope toy. He had surgery to remove the obstruction & came home to begin his recovery. He started to feel better but as the days went by he was looking more & more emaciated. We changed his meds, gave him new ones to help him absorb the nutrients he needed but nothing worked. Through this all there was that constant Sampson spark.
Today when we let him out of his kennel there was a drastic change. His spark was gone, throughout the morning he continued to deteriorate. Refusing food, acting disoriented and finally tripping & falling when trying to turn around. The final straw was him repeatedly wandering away from the house but being confused when he reached the fence. He was looking for a place to go to.
Around four this afternoon we took him to the vet. We sat with him while he took his last breath. My Sampson, my bubba boy was gone.
So today I am thankful for the six years we had with him. The joy, the laughter, the companionship. I will never forget you and neither will anyone who was lucky enough to be touched by your life. — feeling devastated.
Jill (from Remembering SSG Brian Cowdrey - Family Man):
If you know Brian at all you know that he was a HUGE dog lover. German Shepherds in particular! He dreamed about working with them & was always honored to be able to medevac a working dog! We went to the hanger one day with Sampson & Brian got the dream he had dreamed to be in his bird with his dog!
I take a small measure of comfort in knowing that Brian met Sammy when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I also have NO doubt that Brian, Sammy and Bratdog are all going to have a fine old time, until we all get to join them.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....