On Friday, April 3rd, 2020, our family’s life turned upside more than it already had been. With the whole Stay at Home orders in place for Covid-19 pandemic, the last thing we wanted to hear from our vet was…it’s time to say goodbye.
Samwise was our 185lb fluffy giant Newfoundland . He would stop people in their tracks when we would take him places. Of course, we would get the standard questions like How much does he weigh? What kind of dog is he? What’s his name? Oh, he must eat a lot of food! but my favorite question was always is he a dog or a bear? In all honesty, he looked like a small black bear. We would kindly answer everyone’s questions and we loved having people learn about our Big Boy. He was so loving and would sit there patiently while everyone hugged, and pet him. You knew he really liked you if he leaned into you. Most people would stumble as they weren’t ready for that amount of weight. 🙂
Why a Giant Breed?
You might be asking why in the world would someone want a HUGE dog like that. It all started when we rescued a Giant Great Pyrennes. He was our Polar Bear as people called him. Super gentle and once he realized he was in his forever home he was so loving. He would literally shove his head into you just so you would pet him. It was because of Boomer, that was his name because out whole house shook when he would lay down, that we decided we wanted another Gentle Giant.
I had always loved Newfies, I had always loved BIG dogs! After Boomer passed away we realized he left an undeniable presence in our home that now was gone. You no longer had to step over this huge dog or watch out trying to climb the steps. We as a family truly missed those aspects of having a giant in our home.
We started looking into Newfoundland Breeders in Colorado. Our Family agreed we weren’t going to get one it had only been 6 months since we had to say goodbye to Boomer, we just wanted to check out the breeders. We found one super close to us maybe a 30-minute drive. White Water Newfies. The kids jumped in the car and we headed up there to check out her facilities and make sure she was a reputable breeder. We loved what we saw outside and then we walked into the heated Newfie Barn and VOILA it was Heaven!
Newfoundland Puppies, Mommies, and Daddies galore. I could have stayed all evening. Virginia showed us which puppies were available and said go ahead and go into the pen with them. At three weeks old these little-big guys were already 8 pounds. Christopher went first, as I was reluctant to get attached to anyone of them and then Christopher says to me “just go in you’ll be fine”. He knew what he was doing because this one little black ball of fluff wouldn’t leave my pant leg alone. He kept pulling at my jeans and biting it. I picked that little one up, he immediately licked my chin and laid his head on my chest…SOLD. That’s all it took he was going to be ours!
Bringing our Fur Baby Home
At 8 weeks old and already 16 pounds he was able to come home. Christopher had to pick him up, kidnap him as Christopher calls it. Because he said our new boy did fine up until they started to drive away. Then our pup put his paws on the window of the mini and started winning and crying. It’s not every day you take a pup from his family. It was apparently heart wrenching as Christopher to me the next pup we get I have to take pick him up.
We got our new pup home and immediately started thinking names. What shall we call him? We already had two other fur babies, Frodo our Australian Shepeard and Mary our Aussie Border Collie Mix. It wasn’t too hard of a decision we had to keep with the Fellowship so we name our new pup Samwise. Yes I know we are BIG NERDS! He fit right in with our pack and it didn’t take to long for our other doggy’s to start loving him and playing with him. He was awesome!
As he grew up, and he grew up fast! At 6 months he was 90 pounds. We could no longer pick him up, at a year he was 150lbs and still growing. Finally, at two years he maxed out at 185 pounds and was a crowd-pleaser no matter where we went. One year we took him to the Zombie Crawl in Downtown Denver on the 16th Street Mall. The mall is 1.25 miles long and is for pedestrians only except the Free Shuttle Busses that run but anyway. We got down there in the crowd and we were stopped. We moved maybe one block in 45 minutes. So many people asking to pet him and love on him. Some were even a little scared of him. This is how it was everywhere we went.
Loving on Others
Because he loved people so much we were training to become a therapy dog. To be able to take him into hospitals to visit people. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pass the No barking at other dogs’ part. He wasn’t vicious he just wanted to play! He gave people therapy anyway when they loved on him. My favorite story though…Christopher had taken him and our youngest daughter Nevaeh to the park, they were walking around and Samwise lead Christopher to a bench where this guy was sitting there.
Samwise sat down and leaned into the guy. Christopher had said the guy looked really down and sad. So Samwise leans into this guy and the guy just starts to love on him. He told Christopher he needed that because he had just lost his job, and was on the verge of becoming homeless. He was so depressed and ready to be done. Samwise gave him a little light in his darkness. If nothing else I am so grateful to our big guy for that. Bringing light to someone’s dark day.
The beginning of the end
The week leading up to Friday, April 3rd. Samwise was sick, he had stopped eating unless it was boiled chicken or fed to him from my hand. The vets did blood work his CPLs which help the blood to clot were low and his white blood cells were high. We started him on a concoction of medicine to see if we could help him. He would have great days where we were seeing signs of him feeling better and then other times I would look at him and think OH MY GOSH HES GONE. I wasn’t expecting us to have to say goodbye to him though.
Like I was saying on Friday, April 3rd, 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I woke up at three in the morning to a whimper. Thinking our babies just needed to go outside, I got up walked into the hallway, turned the light on and started to cry. There was blood everywhere! For me, it was like a horror movie! I couldn’t figure out where all this blood was coming from. I checked him top to bottom and then I noticed his nose was running. It was like when you have a cold and you have to constantly whip your nose. Except it wasn’t just liquid it was blood.
He had a recheck already scheduled for that day. We sat with I’m from 3 am to 9:45 when I had to drop him off. My heart was in my stomach until I got the phone call saying “there isn’t anything we can do for him he has blood in his lungs and stomach”. Our poor baby was literally drowning. I had to make the call right then and there.
For those who have had to make the decision to end their animal’s life, it is not one taken lightly or one that is easy even when you know its the right thing to do. I selfishly didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t want to say goodbye to his sloppy kisses, his pushing you into a wall because he was giving you a hug, his constant answering barks when you would talk to him. But I knew in my heart it was time. I honestly knew at 3 am where the day was heading.
We grabbed the girls and headed to the vet, where we got to love on him, we gave him lots of treats and stayed with him till his last breath. It was quick and painless and that I am grateful for. When we left the vet our family’s hearts were broken. We got home and I couldn’t even go inside because I was to use to him being there at the door. Either waiting or trying to close it on us 🙂
I miss my House Bear
My heart is broken. He was my Big House Bear! even now a week later I look in our backyard expecting to see him. Or when we call our other fur babies to come to eat I almost call his name too. I miss him so much! He would come to sit in my lap or laying next to me. When he would drink water he would shove his whole head in it and he loved to swim! I just miss Him!
Many people say it’s just a dog but to us he was family, he is family and always will be. Our animals come into our lives when we need them the most and all they want from us is unconditional love. Samwise was only 5 years old when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I had hoped for longer but the Lord called him home and I know he is running through fields of gold with our other fur babies who have passed before him. Do me a favor hug your animal tonight for me, whatever it may be and remember they love you just as much if not more then you love them!