Through the years since the death of my first Ginger,
I had a number of dogs in my life.  I loved them all in
my own way but could never really bond with them
the way I had with Ginger.  When Samantha was
born, something inside of me came to life again.  
Samantha had the power to awaken something within
me that I believed had died with Ginger.

One night I woke up feeling that something was
wrong.  To this day I believe it was God that woke
me up and told me I needed to go to the basement and
check on Bonnie and the pups.  I went downstairs and
found that Bonnie had somehow changed position and
was lying on Samantha, who was less than a week old
and didn't have the strength to get out from under
Bonnie.  She had stopped breathing by the time I
found her.  At first all I felt was panic.  Then I
knew I had to do something to try and save this pup.  
I really believed she was already dead, but I thought
I would try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  I didn't
really know what I was doing, but I knew I had to
try something.  I opened her mouth and blew into it.  
Then I blew into her nose.  I did this for probably at
least a minute before she gasped for breath.  When
she finally started breathing on her own, I took her
upstairs and wrapped her tiny, cold body in a warm
towel.  She recovered nicely and grew into a
beautiful, shiny black Doberman puppy.

Because of Bonnie's heartworm disease, the puppies
had a lot to overcome.  Their father, Satan, helped a
lot to raise them to the age where they could finally
go to homes of their own.  Samantha stayed with us.

Once again I was introduced to another canine
disease just becoming known at that time -- Parvo.  
Samantha became sick when she was about 3 months
old.  We took her to the vet where tests were done.  
The diagnosis came back as Parvo, a disease much like
distemper in the 50's that took Skippy's life.  Most
puppies with Parvo didn't live more than a few days.

The vet said we should put her to sleep.  I just
couldn't accept that after the close bond I had with
her.  Jeff and Shelly were also very upset by the
diagnosis and I couldn't even console them.  Then I
just happened to get a phone call from someone who
had taken one of the other puppies.  He told me about
a vet he had used that had some success in helping
puppies with Parvo.  We contacted the vet who told
us to bring Samantha right over.  He checked her
over and immediately started giving her fluids.  He
said she would have to receive fluids by way of an IV
every 4 hours if she were going to pull through.  He
didn't want to leave her at the clinic alone because it
was Sunday, but told us that if we would bring her to
the clinic every 4 hours, he would meet us there and
take care of her.  After about 3 days she started to
show some improvement.  All her ribs were showing
and she had lost a lot of weight, but she bounced
back quickly.  For the second time in her young life
she had defeated death.

Samantha flourished and grew into a beautiful adult
Doberman.  She was very protective of her family,
much the same way that Ginger protected me as a
child.  Her devotion and unconditional love was
unmatched.  At the time I believed there would never
be another dog like her.

During Samantha's early years we lost Dusty and
Bambi.  Samantha was then our only dog until 1987
when a new pup we named Sandy came into our lives.  
(See Sandy's story later).  Samantha immediately
adopted Sandy and later also adopted a rabbit named
Thumper.  She really seemed to love and want to
protect small animals.  In 1988 we brought the third
Ginger into our home.  Ginger was an 8-week-old
Doxie pup.  Again Samantha immediately accepted
her as one of the family.

In late 1988 Samantha seemed to change-- very
slowly at first.  The vet couldn't find anything
wrong, but her condition continued to deteriorate.  
She would get up at night and just wander around the
house.  Then she would start bumping into things.  The
worst part came when she started to attack Sandy
for no reason when she used to always be so close to
Sandy.  She left Ginger alone but we had to keep her
and Sandy separated.  This went on for about 6
weeks when the vet was finally able to diagnose her
condition.  Samantha had liver cancer and probably
also a brain tumor.  There was no cure and she would
only suffer more and more as the days went by.  So
Samantha began her journey to Rainbow Bridge in
February of 1989.

The entire family was basically in shock after
Samantha died.  To me it was like losing Ginger all
over again.  The best lesson that Samantha taught me
was that I could open my heart to other dogs.  From
that point on, every dog that came into my life had
its own, very special place in my heart.