Samantha, my friend and constant companion for the past 12 years, passed away this weekend. This was by choice, not an easy one of course, but she had lost interest in eating and drinking and it was time.
I came up to LA from San Diego to take her to the vet. The next morning, we went down to Rustic Canyon park, where I brought her as a 7 week old pup. She was the runt of her litter, and the last to be given away. I bought her from a good friend for $185, but she would have been a deal at any price.
When we arrived at the park, she was moving slowly, but she recognized where she was. We went to the field where dogs and people would congregate in the mornings. She drank a little water from a hole in between second and third base on the field. At some point, she just kind of laid down and I joined her.
While we there just enjoing the view, a lady that was playing tennis came out and started up some conversation with me. After we got to talking, it turned she had a son that had died when he was 13. Turns out – I knew him. In fact, I had gone to elementary school with him, his name was Robert Bergman. He was a little smaller than the other kids, not quite as physical or involved with sports. He had a kidney problem. I remember being sad when I heard that he had died in Junior High. I was so young, I didn’t know how to deal with that kind of loss.
I remember Robert too, he had a good sense of humor and was very unimposing. I remember him and think of him from time to time. I was glad that his mom, Carol (my mom’s name) was there to talk. She got a little metaphysical on me, but I tolerated this as she was genuinely trying to lift my spirits. Samantha and Robert were very similar in a sense – it was so kind of her to come over and talk to me, even though at the time I really wanted to be left alone with Samantha.
I immediately hugged her and tried not to make a sobbing mess of myself. I also chatted with a guy named David Blanc, turns out he went to Palisades High and graduated the year before me (1986). They were both really nice to Samantha and it took my mind of the trip I was about to make out the VCA hospital.
I spoke with David for a little while and Sammy and I headed back up to the car. I rolled down the window and let her sit on the passenger seat with her head out the window. It was really great tearing down the 10 with her, it reminded me of going to gigs with her years ago – my little Honda civic crammed full of gear and her squeezing in between all the amps and instruments.
I should have gotten off at Centinela, I should have gotten off at Overland, I should have gotten of at National. I finally got off at Robertson and headed back down Venice to Sepulveda. The rest is really a personal experience, but it should suffice to say that she was totally at peace when the time came. I believe in my heart that she was ready. Samantha lived free as a puppy in Topanga, in Venice, in Culver City, the hills of Western North Carolina and back to the hills of Southern California where she was born. I tried to keep her free of leashes as her spirit simply did not lend itself to that. She was a bit of an escape artist.
My favorite story about Samantha was, as a puppy, that was able to climb up the other puppies backs to get out of the crib they were being held in. The dog had wings. I recall it was hard as hell trying to keep her holed up and at some point I stopped trying.
Samantha will live on as the greatest dog I have ever known. She was peaceful, patient and fun-loving. Her spirit lives on within me – thank you Samantha, may you find big fields to run and play on surrounded by intriguing things to smell and eat! We love you.