Sam boni by Anthony Kirkpatrick / Anthony James

My Sam & I were together for 8½ years.
I had been thinking about getting a dog for some time and then came a day when my girlfriend at the time and her two sons, accompanied me to the pet store. Our intent was to buy some fish. An acquaintance of mine, Jennifer, was working there and she introduced us to Sam. He came home with us that day. Sam was 9½ weeks of age.(We never did get the fish!) I will be forever grateful to Jennifer for bringing Sam into my life. A number of years later, Jennifer became my sister-in-law! My brother Mike and Jennifer have been blessed with two children, my niece Stephanie & my nephew Michael Jr.

In the year 2003, I began dating a lady I met, who frequented the same park with her dog, Cabot. It was the dogs that brought us together. Sam & Cabot became good buddies.Maxime and I were blessed with a child, Ayden Niall, who was born May 8th, 2004.

Sam & I had a good life together, we were always there for each other. He was by far, the greatest friend I’ve ever had. I would always rush home from work, to take care of him and spend our time together. We would always have a good outing upon my return. When we’d arrive home, I’d ask him “where’s my slippers?” as I took my boots off and he’d bring them, one at a time. Sometimes, he would bring them automatically, as soon as I started untying my boots. If I were away from home attending some type of social function, or for any other reason, it would only be for a limited time. At times and when necessary, I had my neighbor or a dog walker, take Sam out for an outing and then feed him. I would be thinking about him consciously or at the very least, subconsciously and I always looked forward to getting home, opening that door and calling his name. We were always happy to see each other.

Sam was always happy to greet other people too. He was quite exuberant about it and really was, a “people dog”. He would always look around for something to bring to them. A ball, toy, stick, a piece of litter, anything! Many times I would feign jealousy to the people, saying that I only occasionally, got that heightened level of an excited greeting. Sam also, most definitely, enjoyed playing with other dogs. He liked to wrestle or play “tug ‘o war” with the toy “kong-on-a-rope” or a stick.

I had “pet” names for Sam, some of them were:
“Mongo”, “Bongo”, “Mingi…Mingi” (“g” as in geese), “Big Fatty”,“ole geezer” (in his later years, jokingly),“Big Puppy…with the big ears, big eyes, big nose, big teeth, big head & big paws”
(as I would touch each one)….

“boni” was his middle name.

When Sam was young, I taught him to heel on and off leash, for walks and also when I rode my bicycle. I always let him set the pace. In all types of weather, we would be out with that bike or walking. Going to the park, the store, pretty much everywhere. He really enjoyed the off leash area in High Park. Lots of people & dogs. He was in his glory. Of course he would always stay aware of my location, whether it be standing or sitting on the park bench. Sometimes, when walking, I would let him get ahead of me and then I’d hide behind a tree or bush. He would trot on a ways and then realize I wasn’t behind him and he’d race back to look for me. That was quite enjoyable. All the training was enjoyable. He was so smart and although I had originally considered
formal obedience classes, it became unnecessary. Occasionally, I would take him to my workplace. He loved that, cavorting around in a hockey rink. He learned to retrieve, by searching for his toy or ball that I would throw up into the stands, into the rows of seats.

Sam was quite the “poser” for pictures. I took some shots that are absolutely precious. I’d had calendars made with his pictures, which I probably could have sold, but they were for my enjoyment as well as whomever I’d given one to.

Sam enjoyed the four seasons, although he didn’t like the rain or the hot humid days of summer. He liked to lay in the shade, out of the direct sunlight. The past 4 or maybe it was 5 years, we would go camping in the summer, which he loved, for sure. He would get to go swimming (I would never let him swim in Lake Ontario in Toronto). Sam also enjoyed wading around the shoreline, exploring. One game we played, I would tell him to wait on shore, then swim out a little ways. Then I would call him to “save me!” with a little bit of flailing around. And he would. He’d swim out to me, I’d latch onto him and he’d tow me to shore. We would go hiking, he would get his own barbequed steaks, we’d sit around the campfire and he would sleep peacefully in the tent with me, his “old man”. In the winter, Sam enjoyed sliding down a hill through the snow, on his tummy! He also liked to roll over & over in the snow, also on the grass in the warmer seasons.

Sam liked to dig a hole in the ground and would only do it in areas where I allowed it. I’d fill it up and let him start over again. At home he liked to sleep or lay down under the kitchen table. He had his comfy blanket there, with all of his small stuffed animal “sleeping buddies” (his moose, cow, bird, teddy bear & duck). Of course if I was in another room for a period of time, sure enough he’d come along to lie down near me. Wherever we were, he would watch my every move. Even if I weren’t moving, he’d lay there and just watch me. Whenever I had my supper or lunch, breakfast, he’d obviously be nearby. Sam never begged. He knew that eventually, there would “a little something for him”. At times, he’d start gazing at me eating and I would just give him a little growl and he’d look away.

Sam enjoyed hanging out in the garage, as I did various projects. Occasionally I‘d toss the ball for him or just go over and start petting or brushing him, which he really liked. Grooming him was enjoyable for both of us. He would show his teeth a bit when I cut his nails, but I was careful and patient, but persistent. I think he realized the benefit of it, as his nails would then not be tap tapping as he walked or ran.
Whenever Sam retrieved for me, he would always “pounce” on the ball, toy, or stick and then he’d bring it back to me, happily.

Sam was a fairly quiet dog, the only times he barked were when someone would knock on the door, or when I would tease him with the hose from the vacuum cleaner, also when he was trying to get another dog to play. As well, he’d bark at raccoons up in the trees. Oh no, Sam did not like raccoons at all. I made sure that he never got close to them as it would have been fatal for him. He did like to chase squirrels. He would “stalk them” and would only chase them, once they were going up a tree. He never did catch one, he probably wouldn’t know what to do if he did! Sam didn’t mind cats. He never chased them but he’d watch them. One thing is for sure, he liked to “roll” over on dead animals or fish in High Park or when camping. What a stink that was. Speaking of stink, sometimes life stinks. Sam was always there for me, to help me get through tough times. He was with me through thick & thin. We loved each other immensely.

My son Ayden Niall got to know Sam and he loved him too. Ayden is only 2½ years old and he loves & misses Sam. Even though he is young, he is a smart child and needs to know it’s okay to grieve. I’m being honest with Ayden and am helping him to deal with our loss.

I miss Sam a lot.
I’ll always Love him and
will remember him fondly.

He was and still is,
my faithful companion, my angel Sam.
Rest In Peace…


With Love,
Sam boni
Anthony Kirkpatrick