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In Memory: Samuel G. Adams

Sammy in pond, summer 2010

Samuel G. Adams, English Sheepdog mix and beloved companion of Georgia Anne Butler, passed at his home at 9:45 am on August 20, 2010. Sammy was ever a joy in my life and will be dearly missed. He is survived by Bridget, a Black Lab mix (8 years old), and Zoey, a Doberman mix (6 years old).

Late in 1999, my husband David chose Sammy from a local SPCA. He had gone to find a Labrador pup but once there called me at home to say, “they have this really cute English Sheepdog.” I said, “Get him!” and so began our life with Sammy.

Sheepdogs love to run, and for many years Sammy ran through the woods and pastures surrounding my home with Gandalf (a large German Shepherd who passed in 2006), Bridget, and me. While Gandalf, ever the responsible dog, would stay with me on these walks, Sammy and Bridget could never resist taking short excursions on their own. Typically they would rejoin us later somewhere on our paths through the hemlocks, pines, and oaks, but not always. Sometimes Sammy and Bridget would decide to take the long way home, and for good measure visit various neighbors down the country road. Thereafter I'd see them happily trotting down toward the house, tongues hanging and tails wagging. Then, to cool down, everyone took a quick dip in the pond.

Sammy had a sweet disposition and was nice to all dogs and cats. My cats especially loved him and were always rubbing up against his big, black and white head with its long, wool-like fur. Sammy was, however, very particular about his food bowl, and whenever meal times rolled around, he would chase whatever cat or dog might pass through the room on route to the kitchen to bark--“Stay away from my food bowl!”

Sammy could howl better than any dog I know, and was always the one to initiate howling sessions with Gandalf, Bridget, and more recently, Zoey. Whenever Sammy heard, saw, or smelled something provocative, he’d begin a wailing session, soon to be joined by the other dogs, each with his or her unique siren sounds. During summer nights, with the dogs asleep in the bedroom, its windows open to the scent of nocturnal animals, Sammy might begin a howling session at midnight or 3:00 am. No matter what the time or how many times he woke me during the night, I never minded. I could only ever smile with the joy of loving him.

In this brief obituary, I cannot sum up all that Sammy was and still is to me. He was impossibly single-minded, energetic, playful, and lovable. In appearance, he was adorable, always as cute as a puppy though growing to become the quintessential big, shaggy dog. He profoundly touched me and inspired much of what I’ve written in my book, Of the Wing: The Legend Awakes.

Through Sammy is no longer physically with me, I’m happy to know that once again he’s keeping company with David and Gandalf.

As a friend recently wrote to me of Sammy, “Good dog, Sammy. Good dog.”