An excerpt from my book:
Soon after we moved to Newtown, Ma decided we should get a dog. We got Sam when he was just a puppy. He was an English Springer Spaniel with a pedigree, but he was no show dog — far from it. Too big for his breed, he was kind of a klutz and, as we were to find out, more than a little neurotic.
The day we bought him we put him the car to take him home, and he panicked and barfed all over everything, including me. I hadn’t been sure if I wanted a dog or not, but then I was pretty sure I didn’t. Eventually I got used to Sam, though, and even grew rather fond of him in spite of his infuriating ways.
He was terrified of thunderstorms, and used to run around the yard in circles barking his head off. Finally we’d give in and open the door. He’d come scrambling in, shaking all over and wagging the whole back end of his body. Sometimes to get attention, he’s put his ear in his mouth and walk up to each person in the room, waiting patiently for one of us to say, “Awwww, Sam, you’re so cute!”
Sam and Bertie shared the same birthday, so when it rolled around we’d always make a cupcake for Sam with a lighted candle stuck in the middle. He’d run around it and bark and sniff at it and always end up burning his nose.
Then of course there was the time he brought a dead woodchuck to the house and laid it near the front door as an offering. Pop kept throwing it back into the woods and Sam would drag it back. Then Pop would take it to the woods and bury it. Sam would disinter it and bring it back. Finally Pop burned the carcass, but Sam didn’t give up — he just kept bringing it back, a little smaller and more charred each time, until Pop gave up.
We always had a lot of cats around and Sam, instead of chasing them, seemed to like them. In fact, he’d sidle up to them and lick their heads affectionately. We thought it was adorable until we noticed that he would keep licking them until their fur wore off. We’d put Vaseline and hot pepper on the cats’ heads, but nothing would stop him. Once he licked all the fur off one of the cats, dragged it into his dog house and lay down on top of it. The next day we found the dead cat in Sam’s house, bald-headed and stiff as a board. The dark side of Sam.