“Thank you, my love. Thank you for being my best friend for my whole life. Thank you for staying with me always. Thank you for licking away my tears when I cry. Thank you for giving me more love than I could ever know. Thank you for everything. Now remember my baby, you will always be my best friend, the love of my life, my everything. I will miss you more than the world. I love you more than anything, my Sam.” I tried to contain my tears as I said my final goodbye to my best friend in the world. To the dog who has given me more love than I could ever dream of. To the dog who I don’t know life without. I gave him a long kiss on his beautifully furry head and in that moment, I prayed. I prayed that he would always know how much I love him, I prayed he would be kept safe, I prayed he was with my mom. I haven’t stopped praying since.

In all my years, I have never known life without my best friend. Without my puppy, my Sam. In fact, in my whole life, I have never known a love as pure and true as my Sammy’s love. That’s what the love of a dog gives you, the most beautiful type of love in the world. The most loyal bond ever known, and I was lucky enough to have known this bond during the past 12 years.

My Sammy passed away a few months ago, and I am still struggling to understand a world without him. How do I live without my best friend? How do I get by without his reassuring licks of pure love every day? How do I sleep without my tiny, 15 pound Havanese lying next to me, vowing to protect me each night? All these moments we shared have truly shaped my childhood. And so, I now present to you our story. The story of two best friends. The story of my BFFF (best, furry friend forever).

Sammy and I, 2009

My Sammy and I have always been bffs. When I was little, we’d play tug-o-war with his donut toy (his absolute favorite) until I surrendered. We’d play tag around the yard until I passed out, and he’d tackle me with kisses. And I’d refuse to go to sleep at night unless he was right beside me, protecting me while sleeping in my trundle bed. We have always had a close relationship, but it didn’t really start to take full form until my mom got sick.

At night, when I’d be alone, worrying about her, he could sense my nervousness and wouldn’t leave my side. He’d tried his best to keep me happy, and he succeeded.

When I’d cry every night, he would sit with me and lick away my tears until there were none left to shed. He would look me in the eyes, as if to say Everything’s going to be alright. I’m right here. Without him, I would not have been able to get through the toughest times in my life. Without him, I would not have the joy that I had when it seemed like there was no joy left, he was my joy, He is my joy.

When it seemed like I was in a world filled with darkness, he was my light. And I know you may ask, how could someone who doesn’t even speak be that significant?  Well, it was almost as if we understood each other. It’s like our souls were (are) connected. 

   As my aunt liked to say, he is your soul puppy. Not a soulmate, a soul puppy. The puppy you are destined to be with. And it’s true, he is my soul puppy.

If you ask anyone who knew me at all, they would tell you that I was constantly caring for Sam. Always wondering where he was, seeing if he needed anything or simply just always with him. But as much as he needed me, I needed him. When you go through something like losing your mother at a very young age, you often feel like your childhood has been taken away from you. Like your childhood has been lost. But he gave me more love, joy, and happiness than I could have ever asked for in childhood. He made me feel whole again. 

Everything about Sam radiated happiness. The moment anyone walked in the door, he’d scurry over to them and quickly jump to hug their leg and give them kisses. He always wanted to see what everyone was doing, always looking up at you when you talked, seeming to understand everything you say. He was just pure joy. 

He was also a protector. He truly believed he could protect the whole town with a single bark. But barking was just as far as Sam was willing to go with violence. He absolutely hated violence. There are so many times I remember when my dad and I would wrestle or someone would pretend to throw a punch, and Sam would spring up and stand in between my dad and I. He’d bark at him until he backed away from me, making sure nobody started any fights. Among many other things, he was a peacemaker as well.
He was a peacemaker, a protector, a lover and so much more. He was my everything. I’ve said it about 10 times, but there are no words to describe what he means to me.

I am lucky to have been somewhat eased into his passing, but of course, it was still no easier. When he first got sick, I did not grasp that within 2 months he would be gone. I didn’t accept it. But as time went by, it became more and more evident that he was in pain. Still, I didn’t accept it. When the time to talk about whether it would be best for him if we put him down, I didn’t want to hear it. There was no way anyone was going to take my Sammy from my hands. No chance. I was in such denial. I didn’t understand. How could I? I’ve spent my whole life protecting him, and now, in my mind, you’re saying to do the opposite? It just did not make sense. Until one night.

When he got so sick he couldn’t go upstairs, I slept with him in the kitchen for days. There was no way I would make him stay down there alone. Then one day, I realized I was starting high school in 2 days and should probably get a decent sleep, so I reluctantly went upstairs to my bed instead of the kitchen. It was 3 am when I heard him crying. We all heard him, so we rushed downstairs to be by his side. He sounded like he was in so much pain. He cried and cried and cried. With tears in my eyes, I gently took his face and said My Sammy, is it time to go? Are you ready? Do you want to leave now? He looked at me, straight in my eyes and with a single, soft, but urgent whimper, I knew. I knew that he had just told me that he was ready to leave. With uncontrollable tears running down my face, I held him there and cried. Maybe I had been too focused on the selfish thought of keeping him here, to see that he was ready to go. That he had been asking me for permission to leave. And a few days later, we brought him to the vet so that he could go in peace. And he was gone. 
Adjusting to a life without him has not been easy. I always think to myself, Where is he? Where’s his bed? Why isn’t he at the door? I feel confused. I feel empty. I feel heartbreak. And I’m trying to accept it. But I know acceptance takes time, so I let myself feel what I’m feeling. And I think of my Sammy telling me what he seemed to tell me all those years before. “Everything’s going to be alright. I’m right here”.

My Sammy Boy

Liv Mazz, aka The Lone Teen, is a suburban 13-year-old living with her father, brother and Havanese puppy. She is an eighth-grader who enjoys spending time with friends in downtown Westfield NJ.

When not hanging out with her friends, you can find her dancing up a storm at her longtime dance school, running lines to audition for her next show or singing a ballad on stage. Liv also loves to spend time with her giant Italian family by enjoying a Sunday dinner and great conversation. She cannot wait to begin sharing her story as a not-so-average teen and is super excited to be a brand new addition to The Daily Feels.

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