When Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies first laid eyes on an old Labrador retriever named Sam, she was curled up next to her deceased owner.
Confusion and sorrow crossed the dog’s face as authorities watched her try to nudge Arthur, her beloved owner, awake.
With nobody left to care for her, authorities called local animal rescue organization 1 Day Ranch to take Sam while they examined Arthur’s body.
Ranch staff told KOCO-TV that Sam was visibly upset when she left the home, even after they gave her time to say goodbye. “She whined and howled the whole way back to the Ranch,” staff said.
On March 8, ranch staff took Sam to Arthur’s funeral so she could say goodbye one final time.
“We allowed her to see Arthur one last time when they opened the casket,” staff wrote on Facebook. “She was interested at first, she definitely recognized his face — but it was different from before, she knew that he was no longer there.”
Back at the ranch, Sam has mostly been sleeping, exhausted from grief and battling medical conditions of her own.
“She has been grieving, she is still grieving,” 1 Day Ranch founder Maeghan Olsen told KWTV. “The first five days that she was with us she did not want to eat, she pretty much slept the whole time.”
Arthur’s friend Phillip Gordon said Arthur had heart problems and had recently checked himself out of the hospital against the advice of his doctors because he wanted to get home to be with Sam.
“They were best of friends,” Gordon said. “Anywhere Art would go Sam would wait in the house on him, look out the window. And as soon as he came home, she was all over him, just excited to see him.”
Gordon said Arthur had hoped to outlive Sam, but he knows that Arthur absolutely would have wanted Sam to attend his funeral.
In a moving photo, Sam is seen laying near Arthur’s casket, which was wrapped in an American flag. She seemed to understand her owner is gone, and is grieving the loss alongside caring staff at the ranch.
Ranch staff are undecided if Sam should go to a new home or if she would be better served living out her senior days at the ranch. For now, they are letting her grieve and honoring the bond she shared with her owner.
“It’s a testament to these two and their life together, and how much they loved each other,” said Olsen.
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