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Samson's Story

25th May 1993 to September 30th 1999

The story of Bernese Mountain Dog, Samson's brave fight
with T Cell 3 Canine Lymphosarcoma.
B-G Dog ID = 18963

Early days.

Samson was just eight weeks old when I got him and the most adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy ever. So naughty, but so much fun!

Samson, Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy.

We lived in London at that time. I had my beautiful almost 13 yr old Adoptee Berner Tinka, and she and Sam were just so beautiful together.
This photograph taken in Regent's park, when Sam was just 6 months old!

With Sam and Tinka in Regents Park

The move to the country.

In June 1994, we moved to the countryside. To Longlease in Hereford, UK. Me, Sam, Tinka and Pru were ready to move

to Animal and Human Heaven!


Life was just so good, and we were all so happy here. In December 1994 we added Sam's sister, Sunny, to the Gang and he adored her, He was always so good with babies, Human or Animal, a real gentle Giant!

Samson with Sunny, Bernese Mountain dog puppy.

The following years.

Over the following five years we went through many changes. My beautiful Tinka died, aged, fourteen. Pru Cat died aged twenty three, but Sam and Sunny were healthy happy dogs and had lots of new friends. The ponies, the sheep, the goats, three new cats. Life was exciting!

Happy Sam

In April 1999 all that was to change. We had been up in the woods for our usual morning stroll and something was not right! Sam was worrying at his rear end, thought at first he had caught himself a piece of bramble or something but no! When we got home I called the vet and we took him straight in there. She checked him over thoroughly, anal glands, etc. and could only find a small patch of dermatitus under his tail. Creams, antibiotics and for two days was fine. On the Sunday evening, he just wanted to be outside, in the end I left the door open and went to bed. On the Monday morning very early he finally came in. Much later when I called him to go for a walk, he couldn't stand. Took him straight to the vet, carried him and he was so heavy! Left him there for x-rays and we were fearing hip problems. When she phoned me, she was in tears and she feared it was so much more. She had discovered that all his lymph nodes were now totally enlarged, she had done a biopsy and feared it was Lymphosarcoma. This was the beginning of a whole new chapter in our lives!

Sam's biopsy was on the Monday morning From a seemingly healthy dog, he deteriorated so fast, by the Wednesday he was struggling to breathe. My vet, Ros, pulled out all the stops to get the results in fast and on the Thursday we started him on chemo, the COP system.

Brave Sam

The Fight for Life

He was so proud of his chemo bandage. Wouldn't let me take it off for at least two days, even though it had slipped down! He was just so wonderful during all this time, would jump up on the table as if he knew we were trying to help and would just lie there until the bandage went on and he knew it was all over, and then straight off the table and "Take me home, I'm hungry!" Only one time he ever moved on that table was when Ros needed a serious photo of "Dog Undergoing Chemo" for a medical magazine. Serious photo, oh no! Sam insisted on presenting his best side (without disturbing the drip) and I cracked up!

Samson undergoing chemotherapy.

During the second week of Sam's treatment with chemo, we had big problems. He started vomiting and refusing food and this a Bank Holiday weekend which is when all these things seem to happen. Thankfully, my vet, Ros, was at home and we rushed him over there for anti-nausea injection and came away with pills. Over the next few days he stabilised and was keeping food down but his appetite was so strange.He wouldn't eat his normal food at all, sometimes would eat heartily from a plate outside, sometimes would only take food if I hand fed him! But he was eating again and it was staying down.

In the meantime had been doing research on the Web! Found the AltVet Site, Marian Zacharias's Site, the Essiac Tea Site & just as important, if not more so, the Bernese Mountain Dog List and the Endless Love Site. Suddenly, I had support with all this and the prescriptions arriving! Sam almost naturally put himself on the cancer diet, high protein/high fat/low carbohydrate, downed the supplements and sat by my feet each night as I logged on!

We finished the first two months of chemo and he was in great shape! Lymph nodes down! We were rejoicing! We were having such fun with this boy who we had never thought to still be with us! He looked wonderful, was eating me out of house and home, his appetite was terrific! Sam was going for his usual long walks in the woods, all seemed well.

A few weeks later, he was back for more chemo, panting a lot and the tonsils were enlarged again! Two more months of chemo and again everything was looking good until those final weeks when it seemed we had the cancer barely on hold. (In the meantime he was still bouncing around and you wouldn't have known anything was wrong!) Took a desperate decision to remove his tonsils which were so enlarged it was difficult to get the pills down his throat! Here he is two hours after his tonsils op!

What! No tonsils.

Ups and downs.

Two weeks later, putting pills down his throat, I could see that the cancer in his throat was still growing! He still seemed so fit and healthy and his normal self, it was only when I gave him his pills I knew just how close to the edge we were! Made the decision that we would try him on a different chemo, doxorubicin. To do this we had to take him four hours drive away to a specialist clinic as he had to be monitored on ECG as the drug carried a risk of heart problems. Here's Sam the day before at the end of a long ramble through
the woods, waiting patiently by the greenhouse for me to catch up!

At this point Sam had had seven months of real quality time, way beyond all expectation, his initial prognosis was just a few short weeks even with chemo.

Sam's final day.

The final day.

Post to the Lists very late 30th Sept. '99....I dont't know how to tell you this! My beautiful Boy had a massive heart attack just before we were due to bring him home, they tried to save him, but he died in my arms. We have just brought him home, friends and neighbours are here and have prepared a grave. We are burying him tonight by torch, candle and moonlight!

Love, Jean, Sunny, the Gang and my new Angel Boy Sam


My post to the Lists the day after Sam died ....."I was just sitting down to write this and Sunny started barking. The Interflora van was at the gate. For us all a beautiful vase full of yellow roses. It's here by me as I start to write. And who is it who has the knack of such wonderful Transatlantic timing? My wonderful Karen and her Angels. You may remember her bouquet of flowers that arrived just as Sam came out of his tonsils op OK. They are still looking beautiful too and they are on his grave. As you know, Sam had two really glorious weeks after the tonsils came out and then, sadly, the tumour in his throat started to grow again very rapidly. We saw our vet on Tuesday and we knew that within a few days we were going to lose him. She pulled out big stops for us and arranged for him to have one last big guns treatment at the Cancer Specialist Clinic yesterday, it had to be done there as it was Doxorubicin which has to be monitored on an ECG machine as it can damage the heart. This clinic is way over the other side of England from here on the coast. We set off at 3.30 am, my neighbour, Chris was driving us down and his wife, Jo was keeping an ear open for Sunny. We made wonderful time and Sam thoroughly enjoyed his first really long drive since I moved here. Nose pressed to the back window, he was watching all the way. Knew when we passed Hungerford where he was born and London where he lived for his first year and then faced front as we were going somewhere new to the seaside. Arrived just before eight with half an hour to spare before the appointment and he had his first walk along a beach and wonderful new seaside sniffs. At the vets he headed straight for Mr Baker as if he had known him for years, (this was their first actual meeting, although he had advised on Sam's treatment all along) They were instantly the best of friends! And this my Sam who was normally highly suspicious of vets. They went off together quite happily for Sam's treatment. Chris and I went off to find breakfast and then spend the waiting time on the beach. I read a book and Chris slept. Late lunch and then back to the vets to collect Sam at 3 o'clock. He'd come through just fine and they let him into the garden for a pee before we took him home. Huge long pee against a tree and then very excited sniffing around. Suddenly, massive great heart attack! They tried to keep him going but it was no good! I went over just as he was starting to lose consciousness and cradled his head. Whispered in his ear "Promised you you would see the seaside, Sam! Wasn't that a wonderful walk?" His eyes turned to look at me, twinkling as they always did when he was happy. He gave one huge, huge sigh of contentment and died! We brought him home and he was buried under the apple tree alongside his pals, Tinka & Pru, late last night. (Torches, candles and moonlight for my Sam) All our friends and neighbours were here and he had the send off he deserved. When we phoned Jo, Chris's wife, to tell her, she already knew, Sunny from being quiet all day had suddenly started to howl! She was with us in spirit too. Karen's roses are wet with tears. Thank you all, with all our hearts for being there with us in spirit too! Such beautiful tributes I have received to my gentle giant Samson. My heart is so full of his presence, only the empty space to my right says he is gone, Sunny is curled up so close. "

With all Love, Jean, Sunny and the Gang and my ever constant Sam


In our hearts forever.

*For more pics of Sam and wonderful memories*

*Samson's Story *My Gang *Sunny,Simmy,Barney,Pixie,Herb *Friend's Gallery *In Loving Memory*
*Histio Roll Call *Berner Veterans *Bernese Art *Berner Fun Stuff *Berner Articles & Info*
*Berner Shop* Longlease Links. *Humour. *Guestbook. *Berner Fundraisers *LostandFound *

*Longlease Bernese Mountain Dogs Home Page*

I found much support and friendship here on these sites during my fight for Samson against canine lymphosarcoma.

Click here to join endlesslove
Click to join PetswithCancer/endlesslove group

Click to join Berner-l

For more information about cancer in animals:

In Loving Memory of

Berner Angel

Rainbow Bridge
Pet Loss Grief Support Web Site