Introducing Samuel, a yellow Labrador. In the photograph above he is sitting at the bow of a hire boat travelling up the Stratford Canal.
We first got Samuel on 9th November 1987, five days after I had had my German Shepherd put to sleep. Samuel arrived a 12 weeks old and completely took over our hearts; my heart in particular because unlike Fletcher and Floyd, Samuel was very much a Mummy's boy.
Samuel grew into a dog that was a bit baggy, just a tad too much skin. He had a line down his face, the Labrador honesty line, he was very vocal and would grumble and grunt away to anyone who spoke to him. 'What are you doing Sam?' was always met with a responding grunt. 'Are you sure?' yet another grunt; he ALWAYS had the last word (grunt).
When Joe was trying to fix a car, we had a project at the time of converting an ancient Mini into a smart convertible Mini , Samuel would poke his head under it and have a word/grunt with Joe.
The dog was incredibly inquisitive an observant and these traits, combined with his vocalising, meant that soon Samuel was being consulted about any number of things; his 'opinions' were sought and he was never shy about sharing his thoughts/grunts with us.This was dog that was clumsy, he fell in on every boat holiday we ever had. He rolled in gloopy mud at every opportunity, practised selective hearing, snuck bones into the house, snored incessantly and farted for Europe.
Yes, I know, if you are not a dog lover then I sound certifiable: It is ONLY a dog, get a life...
Well Samuel enriched our lives enormously and we very are grateful that he came into our lives. What we didn't realise was that our time with this incredible mutt was to be so short. At seven an a half years old we had to face the heart breaking decision to have Samuel put to sleep.
He has left an indelible mark on our lives and those who knew him. My two brothers are convinced that Floyd is Samuel reincarnated - they bear so many similar characteristics. But of course he isn't, Floyd is Floyd, Samuel was Samuel, a one off, a giant amongst dogs - My wonderful dog!