A companion for years, memories for a lifetime

I wasn’t mourning for him; I was mourning for myself – Dr Sam says about the time when Oscar had crossed the rainbow bridge. A companion for years, memories for a lifetime – that was Oscar to Dr Sam.

For we will live a lifetime before we say goodbye

That moment when we bring a warm furball home, we sign up for heartbreak. But wait; when we weigh that heartbreak against the beautiful years spent with the dog, it all seems worth it. Don’t we all think of – some have experienced too – what when our loved ones are gone? It’s hard and its heart-breaking to see loved ones go, but remember that conversation between Snoopy and Charlie Brown – the Peanut cartoon characters?

Charlie Brown: One day, we will die Snoopy…

Snoopy: Yes, but every other day we will live…

Living in the moment

That’s exactly what Oscar did – he lived a truly rich life. He spent 17 years with Dr Sam, travelling across the world from the UK to Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia to Oman and the UAE. Boy, he was a well-travelled pup! From the mountains to the desert, from snow, sea to sand – both of them built a treasure trove full of memories. Dr Sam and Oscar were constant companions, always by each other’s side amid happiness and heartbreaks – as people came and went.

I still remember, back in December 2017, our little girl (turtle) Ned suddenly fell ill. She was perfectly fine at night, made some noise too; but in the morning, we found her all limp. We rushed her to the hospital, but got no answer. That’s when we reached out to our go-to person – Dr Sam. It was the last week of December – otherwise a very festive period – but both of us were distraught. Dr Sam had lost Oscar and Sid and I were going to lose Ned. We didn’t even know how to console Dr Sam nor ourselves.

Fast forward to July 2020, for the first time I mastered the courage to ask Dr Sam – can you ever be desensitised? Even if you have to see difficult cases and sometimes take that tough call to euthanise an animal, when it’s your pet – can you ever be desensitised?

“Every time we have to put an animal to sleep, it breaks us. The whole clinic feels beyond sad about the loss of a pet. Personally speaking, it’s that much more difficult when it’s your own pet. I knew Oscar needed to go with dignity. I could have asked another doctor to put him to sleep. But that wouldn’t have been the best way to honour our companionship. It was very hard and I cried, but I had to let him go and with full respect. Now Oscar rests in peace and his memories are with me in my heart and his remains in a beautiful case in my bedroom,” Dr Sam shares.

The connection

Our Ned does too – in our hearts and in a beautiful case. They are never really gone, you know.

“But for their sake, we have to take some difficult calls sometimes. Oscar was with me ever since he was a pup – so energetic and lively. He sat at the front seat with me when I brought him home as a pup in the UK. He accompanied me on many adventures. Towards the last couple of years of his life, he started getting sick. He lost his eyesight and hearing. What would be his last day was a bright morning in Al Ain and I took him out for a stroll. Despite trying to stay sure footed, he fell over. I knew it was time for him to go, however hard it would be for me…It took me a long time to start looking at his photos again; but now when I do, I always smile.”

Indeed, a companion for years, memories for a lifetime – as Oscar lives on in Dr Sam’s heart.

Like they say once you have a dog, you are usually broken for life. Now, Dr Samuel Westhead lives in Dubai with another beautiful companion, called Goli. Their adventures will be brought to you soon…

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