by David Bresler
Watching and listening to a re-showing of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 50th Anniversary performance, the words from their closing number Mr. Bojangles resonated with me.
We‘ve had great dogs over the years and we have loved them all, but Samantha took the prize. Sam was a rescue, a hundred pound Anatolian Shepherd. We found her at the 110th Street Shelter in Manhattan and when we got her home, we realized for the first time that she was deaf, not that she knew that she was impaired in any way. She was a dog. She knew she was a dog and she behaved just the way dogs behave. She barked whenever someone came close to the house. (How she knew was always a mystery to us.) She licked faces and loved to have her belly scratched. She retrieved a stick. She played tug of war with a rope starting at one end and ending by pulling the last little bit away from the other dog. And then, she’d present the rope to her opponent and start all over again. She also got out of double-locked crates.
She was 27” at the withers (shoulders), a beautiful solid tan with a brown muzzle and a thick under coat that shed soft and fluffy all year round.
She was an Alfa who was as gentle as could be with little children and puppies. But also, she sure could fight. She never started it, but she always finished it. We cried when she was gone.
You know how love can strike you like lightening? Well, that apparently happens between people and dogs as well as between people. We don’t have any dogs now, but I’ve often remarked that, if I could have Samantha back, I’d walk her every day in the rain. And, after 20 years I still grieve