Some big shoes to fill

Published 11:14 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Sammy. (photo submitted)

It is inevitable that we all are subject to the loss of a family member, a good friend or a loving pet from time to time. We do not have control over the wheel of life, which is as certain as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

Mary Goyak, a church member and friend to many, recently lost her battle with cancer. One close friend, Pat Viera, visited Mary and told her, “Don’t worry, I will look after Samantha while you recover.”

When the sad news was learned, Pat asked if I would go to Landrum vet and advise Dr. Maiola not to foster Sammy, that she would adopt her into her family.

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Sammy is a darling 12-year-old, all black Cocker Spaniel, who has known nothing but love her entire life. I was more than pleased to know she would end up with Pat and her girls, all of which I have a personal bond.

I recently related the tale of “Lord Percival and his court.” Well, Mandy, Lexi and Isabel were his court and I was anxious to see how the girls would respond to Sammy, so I made a visit.

When I arrived, Sam was out in Pat’s large fenced-in yard with the rest of the girls. I was awestruck by the stately beauty of this sweet old lady, but first I had to pay due diligence to the rest of the team as they ganged up on me for attention.

Do not misunderstand, this was by no means an imposition. My routine with each visit is to greet them all first and then give them special one-on-one time in the order they arrived at Pat’s. First Mandy and then Lexi, as Isabel, the youngest, impatiently waits her turn trying to squeeze in for extra time.

When the girls were satisfied I went to greet Samantha as Pat came out to join us. As a matter of fact the girls actually led me over to Sammy as if to say, “Look what we have, Uncle Lennie.” Sammy, understandably so, was a little shy but very sweet.

I was amazed how the girls deferred and allowed my one-on-one time with her without interference.

Afterwards, inside the house with all the girls, Pat and I spoke, as I was curious how things were going. Pat, who often speaks for her dogs said, “the girls said that I took away Percy and I bring us this.”

They soon grasped that Sammy was older and was somewhat in the same position each of them had been through, be it at a younger age. They have begun to treat Sammy with the same reverence as they did Sir Percival, as Lexi (the mother hen) makes sure no one plays rough with her.

I will conclude with a message to two souls no longer with us.

“Mary, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know Sammy has wound up in the best possible home for her.”

“And to you, Lord Percival, you did your job well, I haven’t any doubt you’d be extremely proud of your court.”

Thanks for listening.