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Wise Words About Death and Dying from Sampson's Mom
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On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 May 2013 - 3:00 am
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Facing the inevitable is so hard. Everyone has a difficult time talking about death and dying, especially when faced with terminal cancer.

The urge to fight The End it is good and healthy, but at the same time so is accepting that it's also a natural part of life. Striking a balance between the two is one of the toughest things anyone can do, but wise words like these from Sampson's Mom Megan help to make living life to the fullest in the face of cancer so much easier. We thought you'd want to read her eloquent thoughts in case you missed a discussion she had in this forum post.

May these words bring you comfort as you come to terms with the struggles of your dog or cat's end of life decisions.

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"I think one of the things we all struggle with (for people and for pets; for others and for ourselves), is the idea that somehow being accepting of death is tantamount to wanting it, giving it access, or asking for it. But accepting the idea of death as a part of life doesn't mean we are giving up. It doesn't mean that saying "he is dying," means I WANT it to happen, or will somehow make it happen when it normally would not have.

We don't want to die. We don't want our loved ones to die. Of course not--but ignoring the fact that it will happen to us all, locking the notion away…that won't change the inevitability of it. All it will do is make the lives we are living a bit less genuine, less present.

Animals aren't people, they have a different way of viewing the world, and a different type of intelligence. But I do believe they have a sense of mortality, and that they know what death is, and understand it means a leaving of sorts. It's part and parcel of a survival instinct, for one; and it explains the grieving reaction people observe in pets when another pet dies, as well. But the blessed thing about our animals, about "being more dog," is that while they acknowledge on some level the possibility of dying exists, and they simply don't worry about what will be…they only worry about what is right now.

What I want for Sam is for his "what is" to be as normal and as happy and as wonderfilled as possible. It doesn't have to be big or impressive or heroic. We don't need to go to Disneyland to "romance" The Lady (or The Tramp, for that matter), or take an African safari to chase wildebeasts instead of garden variety squirrels. It can be as simple as an endless supply of cardboard paper towel tubes to gnaw on and a parade of cheap toys to de-stuff and then thrust their slimy carcasses at us to play tug with. It can be fighting with his canine sister, and sharing his bed with a couple, three, four of the feline siblings. And yeah, okay, it can be hamburger for dinner instead of kibble if that's what he wants.

I don't want Sampson the Wonderdog, Sammy Psoriasis, Sammer, Sam-Dog, Big Dog-Pig Dog, Piggers, WoodgeBoodge, Budders, DamnitSammyKnockThatShitOff, Sam-Bernadino…Sammy, to die. I don't want him dying. I want him to live.

But while I can't change his dying…I CAN help him live. I can put that icing on the cake for him, and then get my own fat, pinky fingers out of it. I can let him dive in, and eat his cake with abandon, and not smear the frosting with my worries of what will be some day…and instead just enjoy what is right now."

Enjoy this fun video of Sampson living in the Now.

Follow Sampson's blog here

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
16 October 2012
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3 May 2013 - 7:17 am
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Thank you for sharing this


Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
07/26/2006 - Sassy earned her wings 08/20/2013

05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

"You aren't doing it TO her, you are doing it FOR her. Give her a chance at life."


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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3 May 2013 - 9:23 am
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Thank you. It's the kind of wisdom and grace "when the time comes" and "before the time comes" I aspire to embrace. Thank you again.

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

Sydney, Australia
Member Since:
13 September 2011
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3 May 2013 - 5:35 pm
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Thank you.  Being all too "human" it helps to have regular, gentle reminders of what it means to "live in the now", "Be More Dog ".


Karen and Spirit Magnum

Magnum: 30th May 2002 to 5th May 2012. Lost her back left leg to osteosarcoma on 5th Sep 2011. Lung mets found on 20th Mar 2012 but it was bone mets in the hip that ended her brave battle. Magnum's motto - "Dream as if you'll live for ever, live as if you'll die today" (James Dean). Loyal, loving, courageous and spirited to the end. My beloved heart dog, see her memoirs from Rainbow Bridge ......

Fort Wayne, IN
Member Since:
25 January 2013
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3 May 2013 - 5:52 pm
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Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm glad to meet another pawrent who has a dozen nicknames for their critter. :)

Liberty (Libby) was diagnosed with OSA on 1-22-13.  Right front amputation on 1-31-13. No IV Chemo. Metronomic Therapy started 2-19-13 along with supplements and some home cooking. Lungs clear until 1-06-14.  She's still her happy, hoppy, bossy self.  Living the dog life to the fullest and a proud Winter Warrior. :) RIP my Libby 4-21-03 to 3-19-14

Twin Cities, Minnesota
Member Since:
6 March 2013
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3 May 2013 - 11:07 pm
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amya said
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm glad to meet another pawrent who has a dozen nicknames for their critter. :)

We have six of them (four cats and two dogs), and honestly...I think one time out of every thirty do we call them by their given name ;-)


"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
-Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

"May I recommend serenity to you? A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment. Learn to be one with the joy of the moment."
-Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

New Haven, CT
Member Since:
27 December 2012
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4 May 2013 - 7:33 am
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Nicely said.  Touche!

ACL tear in right hind leg 12/5/12 and scheduled ACL repair surgery 12/21/12. Pre-op xrays revealed osteosarcoma. Amputation 12/28/12.  Chemo (carboplatin) started Jan 10, 2013 and ended on April 5, for a total of 5 doses. He handled carbo like a champ!  No side effects.  We started metronomic therapy at his third chemo and have been also doing some holistic treatments.  He's a lively, playful 10 year old huskie-boarder collie and a very proud member of the Winter Warriors!  Our love. Our funny little guy!

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