UPDATE 3/26/20: Around midnight Samson passed away while in the ICU following emergency gallbladder surgery. We knew how critical he was and that his chances of survival were not high but it still feels like a huge shock and a blow. It is hard to even breathe right now much less put into words how special Samson was and how much we loved him. While every Cavalier that comes through our care is important to us, some leave their mark more so than others. It was clear early on that Samson would take up a large piece of our hearts.
Having spent 10 years in a puppy mill suffering with terrible ear infections, advanced dental disease, congestive heart failure, and severe dry eye, and enduring horrific reproductive abuse and neglect, Samson arrived having never known what love was. He was badly stained from living an entire decade in urine and filth and required extensive grooming from having pieces of hay and some sort of seed deeply burrowed and matted all over him. His first night here he experienced his first ever sleep in the big bed where he slept peacefully and soundly for the first time in 10 years all cleaned, bathed, safe, warm, and loved. I stayed up just listening to the sweet sound of his snores trying to imagine how he must be feeling.
Despite his health issues and his horrific past, Samson never complained - he was just happy and appreciative to be here and happily complied with his medications and eye drops. He would bravely trust us with gentle affection and loved cuddling up on the couch and his favorite spot, the big bed. For 10 years old he was a spry guy who would leap and bound through the yard and he just recently discovered toys. His life was just beginning, and it seems horribly unfair that after surviving 10 years in puppy mill hell that he was only given 2 months of life and love and freedom.
But to think that had Samson not just come our way 8 short weeks ago that he would have had to endure this medical crisis all alone in a filthy puppy mill with no help and no medical intervention... it is unbearable to think about. So perhaps this is how it was meant to be- that we were ‘assigned’ to be there for Samson when he needed us the most. That our job was to be sure he could pass knowing what love and family was and feeling like he was respected, loved, valued and cherished. He knew. I can promise you he did. If that was our job, it was a job well done, and a job we would have taken on a million times over.
I can confidently say that we and his medical team did everything possible in our power for him. Thank you all for spilling your generous hearts out yesterday to help with his expensive treatment and surgery. There is a sense of peace knowing we did everything possible for him which we could only do because of you - his amazing support team. I also want to thank his medical team who no doubt gave him a fighting chance. Thank you to Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic, specifically Lisa Foote, Dr. Nicole Martin, and their vet techs, and Veterinary Specialist of Birmingham, specifically Dr. Berk, Dr. David Dismukes, Dr. Jana Korsch-Dismukes. You are all angels on Earth. Every single person who had their hand on Samson this week showed him nothing but compassion and love right up until his last breath. This was the message we received from one of his doctors yesterday evening:
“I just left ICU. Sat with Samson for a long time and his values are normalizing. Blood pressure slowly coming up and heart rate/rhythm are great. He’s not hurting. Has very good pain meds on board. Told him you loved him and that SO many people love him too. Then I said, you can do this! I believe in you!”
Samson, we love you so much and we are so sorry we couldn’t “fix” you. It was our honor and pleasure to care for you and love you and you will always be a beloved and cherished member of our rescue family. We will remain committed to helping more and more Cavaliers to escape the puppy mill industry, in your honor and memory. Rest peacefully our beautiful little bear. We miss you so much already.