Sammie "Mr. Tiki Tiki Barber" Joannides
My best friend in this world
1995 - December 19, 2008
Today, December 19, 2008, my best friend Sammie passed away.
He was a 13 year old whippet that I've had since he was old enough to be away from his mom.
He is being cremated with his favorite toy, a black glove that I used to wear and wrestle with him.
Those who knew Sammie the best know that he was incredibly gentle. He never once bit anyone, and would be the first at the door to greet a total stranger with kisses.
Although it wasn't his best trait, especially when guests were around, he was notorious for humping my leg. I always assumed it was his way of hugging, as one of the times he would do it the most, is when I was hugging someone.
Sammie loved to sleep under blankets. Yes, I said UNDER blankets. I always assumed it was because his breed was really nothing more than muscle and bone. They didn't have any fat on their body to keep them warm. That, coupled with being a short haired breed, would make for a pretty cold dog.
Sammie was also very spoiled, because for the same reasons mentioned above, he was very uncomfortable on the floor. More times than I can count, I actually found myself sacrificing my comfort on a bed, chair, or couch, just to ensure that Sammie had enough space on that same piece of furniture, and could make himself comfortable.
Sammie has been the one constant in my adult life. He was there to say goodbye to me when I left for Marine Corps boot camp in 2001, and to say hello when I returned. Likewise, he also saw me off when I deployed to Kuwait in 2003, then again to Fallujah in 2005.
My mom threatened to get rid Sammie on numerous occasions when he was very young and we both still lived with her in Delaware. He had a very destructive "puppyhood", having torn up couches, knocked over the trash can on far too many occasions, and even managed to rip off the door trim on her front door. To this day, I still don't know how he managed that. Through all that though, I always convinced my mom not to make us get rid of him, and he became the dog that many of you have come to know.
Most recently, Sammie came to know and love his mommy, Ferris. Ferris has a big purple bathrobe that Sammie would actually try to lay under when she had it on. This was usually moments after he licked her legs dry of the water beads she after stepping out of the shower. He especially loved her at dinner time. Sammie was never allowed to have "people food", however, after we found out about his abdominal tumor this summer, Ferris talked me into letting him have it. That opened all sorts of doors. I kid you not, when I say that Sammie had his own piece of chicken cooked for his dinner when Ferris and I ate.
Sammie also acquired a step-sister from Ferris, in the form of an incredibly lovey cat named Bella. Sammie was never too playful with other animals, but Bella still made efforts to lay with him from time to time. In his healthier days, we played "Get that kitty!" and Sammie would pounce in her direction. As mentioned before though, he never harmed a fly, and Bella never REALLY had anything to be concerned with. And when I say Sammie would never hurt a fly, I can say that pretty literally. There was a time in North Carolina when Sammie actually played with a big grass hopper!!! I wactched him in the yard as he continuously took the grass hopper in his mouth, shook his head around, then threw him back to the ground. He did this over and over again for about 10 minutes, but was so gentle, that when it was time to come back inside, I watched the grass hopper take off!
Sammie was diagnosed with a grape fruit sized abdominal tumor (unknown if this was cancerous or not) in June of 2008, as well as having some abdominal bleeding of unknown origin, which led to a pretty bad case of anemia.
Sammie was in bad shape at that point for a couple months, but in early August of this year, he made a significant turn around, and was actually acting like his old self until a couple weeks ago. He began faiting occasionally, and we could also tell that his tumor was growing in size, and this made him very hesitant to eat.
Sammie died today of natural causes. He passed away in what came to be his favorite bed. Ferris and I spent his last hours today with him. I am incredibly fortunate to have been given the afternoon off, as Sammie actually passed around 2:45pm. Had my boss not have let us off early, I would have still been at work, and not had the privelage of spending his last hours at his side.
I am incredibly fortunate to have had Sammie in my life, and don't believe that I will ever have another dog as terrific as him.
Until we meet again in Heaven....