This is Sam. Yesterday we said goodbye to Sam.

In March 2000, our family hopped in the car and headed to a local animal shelter in hopes of finding a new member for our family. Sam was there waiting for us. Sam was a mutt, but he was our mutt, the best mutt ever. He looked much like a furry teddy bear except when he was shaved each summer.

From early on Sam brought joy and energy into our lives. Pets add so much to our lives. True, some pets may be just a royal pain in the neck, but others, others are special. Sam was not only a great friend and companion, but a teacher for us all.

Yeah, I think we do learn a lot from our pets. And Sam taught us many things.

He taught us how to play.

Here is one of his wooly-booger moments.

How to be content.

How to be patient and not pushy.

How to rest, be calm, chill.

He showed us what true loyalty looks like.

How to be gentle and show affection.

Sam also never met a stranger. Everyone liked Sam. His gentle spirit helped children who came to our home afraid of dogs, leave wanting one of their own.

Sam was a good dog. We’ll miss him terribly, but would never trade the time we had with him to avoid the sorrow we feel now.

I’d like to mention the many animal shelters and Humane Societies all over the country with dogs, just like Sam, waiting for a home, waiting for a family to join. So if you’re looking for a pet please consider first checking out your local shelters.