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One, two, three pills, I counted. Do I call and request another refill? The prescription has been refilled many more times than I ever expected.  Or do I face up to things and schedule that dreaded appointment with the Vet? Or will Old Dog just keep getting weaker until he can only stand up when held? Can’t he just fall asleep?

My dog reminds me of my dad. There were so many false alarms. He kept coming back around until I stopped being afraid of his leaving. Sam’s the same way.

His quality of life may not seem so great, but what do I know? That’s just my perspective. He sleeps most of the day away, but so do Fannie and Mary (when they aren’t chasing after each other).

He still walks up and down the porch steps (most of the time) with intention and good strategy; like we should all live and conquer our challenges.

I know he’s in a fair amount of pain because he kind of snaps at me when I change his bandages, but then he immediately tries to lick me to death.

We go to great extremes to squeeze out those last days, hours, and minutes with our beloved pets, don’t we? I know I’m not alone, many share in this with me, it’s just that Mr. Sam has had a super-long-lasting ‘final days’ period of his life. He’s super dog.

As I counted those last three pills, it crossed my mind that it could be three days until his newly resurrected life—moving from his life here to new Life. But then I thought, is that really my choice to make? Maybe. I’ve had to make it before. But if his tail wags and he eats and potty’s outside (most of the time) when do I make the call? Todd is being very patient. Friends say, I’ll just know.

He’s resting now after his “shower and shave” as I like to think of it. His whiskers and water make for a little dermatitis so Dr. Marheine gave me a foaming gel to rub into his chin. He likes it. He licks it. He also likes a good rub on his ears as I wipe away the night’s sleep. He purrs.

Usually he wants to be under my desk but seems to have no interest in that today. That’s how I know it’s nearing the end. I want to be at peace with that, to see my faith strengthened as I let him go, to know that my heart, like his, keeps growing larger because of the love in it, not shriveling up with sorrow. Sam wouldn’t be happy about that.

He often gets startled by the light now, even more so lately. He walks across the floor and stops and starts like there’s something in front of him. I think it’s the angels. They are watching over him and the nearer he gets to taking his trip, the wider heaven’s door opens and the veil is lifted from his eyes. It’s very bright in heaven, I’m told—more than our eyes can handle.

Mr. Sam the man has been with me all through my current job. He has shared in my joys, and always knew when I needed a few good licks. When I’d arrive home at the end of the day, he’d come charging out the door to greet me, turning 360s—-or pirouettes as I called them—doubles and triples. It will be a bookend on an era when he finally goes. Along with him, I will have to let go of all that’s necessary to move forward with ease and grace into what God is moving me into next.

I wonder if Sam will keep his name in heaven or if he’ll get a new one. I have a sense, that when it’s my time to travel too, I’ll yell, “Sammy!” and he’ll be there. I can’t wait to see his pirouettes then!

So…the end of this story…? I made the call. Just not the one I was preparing for. I called in his prescription. And then I went to check on him and carried him up to my desk. As long as he still loves his treats…right?…you know it’s not time to make the call.

And here he is begging for one more bite of my zucchini muffin. I didn’t really want it anyway…

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