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Saying Goodbye to Sam

My mom called with some really sad news. My parents lost their golden retriever Sam.


I am heartbroken. My parents gave me my love for goldens when they rescued one when I was a teenager. Sam was their second golden rescue.


My parents adopted Sam in 2011 from the Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta. There was no way to know how old he was but he was probably somewhere between 5-7. He was a really big, solid boy.


Sam had a really sweet personality. Like most goldens, he just wanted to be near you all the time. When they first brought him home from the rescue, he would drive you crazy constantly nudging your hand for a pat and leaning against you just to have his body near yours.


He and Sullie loved each other and spent many holidays and visits home together.


When my parents moved to the beach, Sam embraced it with enthusiasm! His favorite things to do was climb in the chair with me when my dad would bring him down to visit me on the beach.

sam lizard

Last year my parents sent me this photo of Sam with a lizard in his mouth. After years of chasing them on walks, he finally caught one. They said they couldn’t pry it away from him!


Over the years, Sam developed a limp in one of his back legs that he couldn’t seem to get over no matter what treatment or medicines my parents tried. A few months ago my parents took him to a special orthopedic surgeon for a surgery to hopefully help him walk without pain. For the first 4-6 weeks after the surgery, Sam had to be confined to a crate or small area. Once he began moving again, he was still limping pretty badly. He was home for Christmas and it was really sad to see him in pain. My parents tried injections and laser treatments but nothing seemed to help. Yesterday the vet they discovered a large, fast growing, cancerous mass on his side that was making him sick, in pain and still unable to walk. My parents were there with him until the end.


I know this is a sad post to share but this seemed like the best way to remember him for myself and my parents, who read daily. My family has had dogs since I was a baby and they are an incredibly important part of my life…and I know many of you feel the same way and can relate to how emotionally painful it is to lose them. I remember each and every one of our dogs and they were all special in their own ways. It never gets easier to lose them…they are with us for such a short time. It doesn’t even seem fair. I am so grateful for every moment I was able to share with Sam and I hope he’s walking down the beach limp and pain-free in doggie heaven. I’m hugging my girls extra hard tonight.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • Cortney (crose307 on instagram) February 5, 2015, 8:28 pm

    Oh my gosh, I am so sorry for your family’s loss! My heart goes out to you.

    Dogs are incredible and bring so much wonderfulness to our lives. It sounds like he lived a loving, fun, fantastic life! The pictures in this post are beautiful and he looks oh so sweet! 🙂

    Thoughts and hugs with y’all as your grieve!

  • Chris February 5, 2015, 8:32 pm

    This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry, he was a lovely boy.

  • Erika White February 5, 2015, 8:33 pm
  • Erika White February 5, 2015, 8:34 pm
  • Melissa February 5, 2015, 8:53 pm

    We lost our 7 year old golden this fall to twisted bowel and I am still completely heartbroken. He was the BEST dog! I love seeing all your beautiful golden pictures makes me remember him and smile

  • She Rocks Fitness February 5, 2015, 9:03 pm

    Sending your family a big hug from Lucy and I in Houston! Sam will be welcomed into doggie heaven with open arms, lots of lizards to catch, and other fabulous dogs. Thanks for sharing this…XOXO

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt February 5, 2015, 9:04 pm

    Oh Jen. I am so sorry. I know it sounds cliché, but dogs are part of my family. It sounds like yours are the same way. I am so sorry for you and your parents loss.

  • JennyV February 5, 2015, 9:08 pm

    Dogs are such faithful companions, exercise and lounge buddies, and show us faithfulness through the good and the bad. I’m sorry for the loss of Sam but am happy that he was such a well loved family member! I lost my sweet 9 year old German shepherd in May. I’m now the proud mom of two GSDs who are such great girls, but I’ll never forget my first.

  • Ashley February 5, 2015, 9:12 pm

    so so sorry for your family’s loss. I remember reading when you first posted that your parents adopted Sam. He definitely had a very happy life with your family and is surely enjoying doggie heaven pain free. It’s always so hard to lose a pet-they are truly members of the family.

  • Christine February 5, 2015, 9:21 pm

    I am heartbroken for you and your family. We lost our golden suddenly last April and I can so relate. It doesn’t get easier, you just learn to deal with it better. It sounds so cliche, but Sam is healthy, happy, and pain free chasing lizards at the rainbow bridge. Clearly your family gave him all the love and happiness he could ever want. You guys will meet again someday!

  • Ella February 5, 2015, 9:25 pm

    Sorry for your loss!!

  • kaitlyn February 5, 2015, 9:28 pm

    So sorry for you and your family’s loss. I love reading your posts about all the golden’s in your life. Sending lots of love your way!

  • Cyndi February 5, 2015, 9:40 pm

    I am crying reading this. I’m so so sorry for your loss. I great up with golden’s in our house too and there is truly no love like a golden’s love. Losing a pet is losing a family member. Sam was so lucky to be rescued in to such an amazing home and was given such a good life, try to remember that when you’re down. Sending love your way.

  • Michelle February 5, 2015, 9:48 pm

    RIP sweet Sam. This is just heart wrenching. My heart goes out to you and your parents.

  • Aurora@Fitness is Sweet February 5, 2015, 9:56 pm

    I’m so sorry! My own childhood dog just passed away so I understand what you are going through!

  • Ally February 5, 2015, 10:04 pm

    Sending you and your family big love. I’m so sorry, Jen. It’s so hard to say goodbye to our animals, isn’t it? Sam was such sweet part of your family, and it’s special that you can honor that sweet pup here, too! You’re right, it doesn’t get easier, I still miss mine (so much lately since I moved and feel homesick, too), but it’s still so good to have those memories. hugs.

  • Jackie February 5, 2015, 10:10 pm

    oh Jen, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Goldens are the sweetest dogs ever. Sam was blessed to have found your family.

  • Emily February 5, 2015, 10:38 pm

    I am so sorry Jen! Dogs are definitely family and bring so much unconditional love and joy into our lives. As an owner of a golden retriever and a dog lover, my heart goes out to you all during this difficult time. Sending you hugs and prayers!

  • Chicago Jogger February 5, 2015, 10:40 pm

    I’m so terribly sorry for your family’s loss 🙁 🙁 Our pets are our family! Sending good thoughts.

  • Taca @ A Side Of Dessert February 5, 2015, 10:54 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss Jen. Sending you good thoughts!

  • cait @pieceofcait February 5, 2015, 11:03 pm

    so sorry for the loss of sam… my heart hurts for your family. two months ago, I lost my furbaby Duncan. One of the hardest days, thinking of you <3

  • Lyndsay February 5, 2015, 11:14 pm

    Hi Jen. I am sorry to hear of the sad news. There are truly no words to express when you lose your buddy. Thinking of you and your family.

  • Miki February 5, 2015, 11:45 pm

    So sorry to hear this news and thinking of you and your parents. I’m glad Sam was able spend these wonderful years with your family. He looks precious and the photo of him with the lizard is the cutest. I (unexpectedly) lost my pug in 2013 and it was beyond difficult. My heart goes out to your family.

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles February 6, 2015, 6:18 am

    Ugh I am so sorry. I know how difficult a loss of a pet can be. I lost my little poodle Cindy when she was just about 16 and I swear I am still not over it (she died in 2003).

  • Haley February 6, 2015, 7:52 am

    Oh Jen, I’m so sorry!!! We had to put both of our dogs down within 4 months of each other and it never gets easier. Hugs and love to all of you <3

  • kat February 6, 2015, 8:06 am

    Oh Jen, so sorry to hear this news. It is the most difficult thing in this world to say goodbye to our furry family. My thoughts are with you and your parents. Big hugs! xoxo

  • Lisa February 6, 2015, 8:07 am

    I am so very sorry. Run free Sam. He’s up in heaven right now smiling and pain free.

  • Joy February 6, 2015, 8:52 am

    I am so very sorry for your and your parents’ loss, Jen. What a sweet boy Sam was!

  • Paula February 6, 2015, 8:52 am

    Augh, so so sorry to hear about your and your parents’ loss. Dogs really are family.

  • Erin B. February 6, 2015, 9:19 am

    So sorry for your family’s loss!

  • Victoria February 6, 2015, 9:51 am

    I am so sorry and know the empty sad feeling we experience when losing a dog. I had a family golden who passed at the age of 15 in fall 2013. Not a day goes by that I don’t still think about her in some way. As sad as it is, we need to remember that we gave them such wonderful lives, and they also enhance our lives in so many beautiful, happy ways. I have so many memories from growing up with my dog- she too was such a water dog and loved our family lakefront cabin more than anyone.
    This year I’m transitioning into a career and moving into a place of my own very soon. My boyfriend and I are definitely ready to bring a dog (likely another golden!) back into our lives. 🙂

  • Michelle @ Fit. Flexible. Fabulous. February 6, 2015, 10:22 am

    Jen, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Your parents did a wonderful thing by rescuing Sam and I’m sure they gave him the best years of his life. I hope you find peace and comfort in the memories and the extraordinary love he was given.

    Rest in peace, Sam. Give Sullie and Zoey an extra long hug today 🙂

  • Jana February 6, 2015, 10:42 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Jen. Our yellow lab is such a huge part of our family, that I can’t even bare thinking of life without him. I hope your parents will find peace knowing they gave Sam a wonderful life. Sending lots of hugs to you and your Mom & Dad today.

  • Nicki February 6, 2015, 10:50 am

    It’s SO hard when a family dog passes away! We put down our family Bichon three years ago and it still hurts to this day, even though we had 16.5 amazing years with him. Definitely cuddle your girls extra! Sam looked like such a sweetheart and glad you had that time with him! 🙂

  • Hilary February 6, 2015, 11:32 am

    I am so sorry for your loss :(. I just got my first dog, a English Cream Retriever and I know exactly what you mean about their personalities of always wanting to be near you. Hopefully you can find peace in knowing he is in a better and pain free place now!

  • Amber February 6, 2015, 12:58 pm

    So sorry Jen. Losing a pet has to be one of the hardest things in life but the joy they bring is also so rewarding. Thinking of you and your family as you grieve Sam.

  • tara February 6, 2015, 1:55 pm

    i am so sorry for you and your parents. i lost my kitty of 15 years inaugust and i am still having a really hard time. my mom also recently lost a horse and its so sad. they are so part of your everyday life. and its such a difficult decision to make. i think its the hardest decision as a parent to know to let your fuzzy one go. i am still struggling with my decision and its been months. i feel for your parents. they should know they are not alone and if anyone tries to say stupid things like “its just a pet” or “just go get another” they should beat the daylights out of that @sshole person. well not exactly maybe but at least that’s what i picture myself doing when someone says that to me ! i find that the most insulting part of all of it. mostly i respond…well i guess if that happens to your kid you could just have another right ??? i digress…but seriously, i am sending all of you kind thoughts and sympathy.

  • Whitney February 6, 2015, 4:35 pm

    So sorry for your family’s loss. It is amazing how attached we become to our pets, and they truly do become part of the family. I had a lump in my throat reading this, and I know just how heartbreaking it is. Sending thoughts and prayers your way. Sam is definitely in doggie heaven.

  • Hannah February 6, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Oh my I am SO SORRY for you family’s loss. This post totally had me in tears. Our fur babies are so important and since I dont have any human children, my goldendoodle Quinzee is my EVERYTHING! I am sending positive thoughts to you and your parents during this hard time 🙁

  • Allyssa February 6, 2015, 6:01 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about you and your family’s loss!!! I can only imagine how hard it must be for all of you right now. I am glad you are able to remember the good times you had with Sam! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

  • nickee February 6, 2015, 9:07 pm

    I’m crying reading this most. I’m so sorry for your loss and your parents. I know they must miss him terribly since he was a part of their every day lives. You will all see him one day and he will be in perfect health then.

    • nickee February 6, 2015, 9:08 pm

      most = post

  • Meliss February 7, 2015, 8:11 am

    I am so sorry – dogs truly become members of the family and they are always there when we need them. Our labradoodle Baxter has been my baby for the last 3 years, and when I was having an incredibly rough and depressing time (my husband and I have infertility issues and went through a lot-including multiple rounds of IVF) he would always make me feel better. Dogs can truly sense when their humans need them and they are loyal with every ounce of their being. Sending your family healing vibes and prayers!

  • Halle February 7, 2015, 3:21 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Pets become part of the family, and the grief of losing them is so hard. Thinking of you and your parents!

  • Janice February 9, 2015, 4:13 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs are the best family members/friends anyone could ask for.

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