Through the years since the death of my first Ginger, I had a number of dogs in my life. I loved them all in my own way but could never really bond with them the way I had with Ginger. When Samantha was born, something inside of me came to life again. Samantha had the power to awaken something within me that I believed had died with Ginger.
One night I woke up feeling that something was wrong. To this day I believe it was God that woke me up and told me I needed to go to the basement and check on Bonnie and the pups. I went downstairs and found that Bonnie had somehow changed position and was lying on Samantha, who was less than a week old and didn’t have the strength to get out from under Bonnie. She had stopped breathing by the time I found her. At first all I felt was panic. Then I knew I had to do something to try and save this pup. I really believed she was already dead, but I thought I would try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew I had to try something. I opened her mouth and blew into it. Then I blew into her nose. I did this for probably at least a minute before she gasped for breath. When she finally started breathing on her own, I took her upstairs and wrapped her tiny, cold body in a warm towel. She recovered nicely and grew into a beautiful, shiny black Doberman puppy.
Because of Bonnie’s heartworm disease, the puppies had a lot to overcome. Their father, Satan, helped a lot to raise them to the age where they could finally go to homes of their own. Samantha stayed with us.
Once again I was introduced to another canine disease just becoming known at that time — Parvo. Samantha became sick when she was about 3 months old. We took her to the vet where tests were done. The diagnosis came back as Parvo, a disease much like distemper in the 50’s that took Skippy’s life. Most puppies with Parvo didn’t live more than a few days.
The vet said we should put her to sleep. I just couldn’t accept that after the close bond I had with her. Jeff and Shelly were also very upset by the diagnosis and I couldn’t even console them. Then I just happened to get a phone call from someone who had taken one of the other puppies. He told me about a vet he had used that had some success in helping puppies with Parvo. We contacted the vet who told us to bring Samantha right over. He checked her over and immediately started giving her fluids. He said she would have to receive fluids by way of an IV every 4 hours if she were going to pull through. He didn’t want to leave her at the clinic alone because it was Sunday, but told us that if we would bring her to the clinic every 4 hours, he would meet us there and take care of her. After about 3 days she started to show some improvement. All her ribs were showing and she had lost a lot of weight, but she bounced back quickly. For the second time in her young life she had defeated death.
Samantha flourished and grew into a beautiful adult Doberman. She was very protective of her family, much the same way that Ginger protected me as a child. Her devotion and unconditional love was unmatched. At the time I believed there would never be another dog like her.
During Samantha’s early years we lost Dusty and Bambi. Samantha was then our only dog until 1987 when a new pup we named Sandy came into our lives. (See Sandy’s story later). Samantha immediately adopted Sandy and later also adopted a rabbit named Thumper. She really seemed to love and want to protect small animals. In 1988 we brought the third Ginger into our home. Ginger was an 8-week-old Doxie pup. Again Samantha immediately accepted her as one of the family.
In late 1988 Samantha seemed to change– very slowly at first. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong, but her condition continued to deteriorate. She would get up at night and just wander around the house. Then she would start bumping into things. The worst part came when she started to attack Sandy for no reason when she used to always be so close to Sandy. She left Ginger alone but we had to keep her and Sandy separated. This went on for about 6 weeks when the vet was finally able to diagnose her condition. Samantha had liver cancer and probably also a brain tumor. There was no cure and she would only suffer more and more as the days went by. So Samantha began her journey to Rainbow Bridge in February of 1989.
The entire family was basically in shock after Samantha died. To me it was like losing Ginger all over again. The best lesson that Samantha taught me was that I could open my heart to other dogs. From that point on, every dog that came into my life had its own, very special place in my heart.
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