Sammy was a good boy. He would snuff to get my attention and toss me a high-five to try and get a piece of my sandwich (it always worked). He'd also remind me when it was bedtime if I stayed up too late. He was also well-mannered and would patiently walk alongside my slower-than-dog self while sitting in my wheelchair. He even made sure to protect the entire family from whatever evil he imagined the squirrels that played in the yard had planned. He was the best dog, just like your dog is the best dog. Maybe they are all the best dogs.

Sammy unexpectedly died two days after Christmas, and all I have left are memories of the best dog ever.

I can be pretty particular when it comes to making backups and archiving my old data. I have full copies of hard drives that were in computers which have long since been sent to a recycling center, scans of "important" papers dating back more than 15 years, and even still have a full backup of the original iPhone I bought ages ago. What I don't have is all the data from all the phones I've gone through in the past five years. That's partially because I can get lazy and just wipe them clean and send them off to wherever they need to go next, and partially because it's too damn difficult to do with an Android phone. Photos are the one exception, though, and that's because Google did make it simple to keep them all backed up with Google Photos.

You'll never be as good as a computer when it comes to saving stuff. Let a computer do it for you.

You've read all sorts of articles about how you should use Google Photos because it automagically stores your pictures in your personal Google cloud. With the proper configuration, it will save photos you take with your phone's camera as well as any you're sent by other people and even photos you have downloaded from the internet. Sharing your photos with anyone else is incredibly easy, and pictures my family has taken and shared appear right in Google Photos beside my own. You can then look through them all from any device with a web browser and an internet connection. It all sounds good in theory, but seeing it in practice really hits home.

I can look through Google Photos and see pictures of Sammy, starting with the ones I was sent when we first got him right up to the ones where he was romping around on Christmas morning, excited because of all the paper and "stuff" on the floor to play with. Most of these photos I would have never saved manually — taking a pic of Sammy doing something silly to send to my wife meant nothing the day it was taken, but it means a lot right now. Even pictures of the night he sent my almost-new LG television crashing to the floor because there was some critter on the screen that needed chasing out of "his" living room seem special right now. Sammy loved David Attenborough's Nature series almost as much as he loved me, I think.

Sammy loved the Kong toy he got for Christmas, just like he loved the other 8 Kong toys he already had.

Any dog lover will tell you that dogs are people too. I'm just happy that Google Photos has pictures of my Sammy safely stored alongside pictures of the rest of my family and friends. Everything and everyone important to me is in one place, which makes it easy to make a back up of the backup so I'll never lose any memories again.

If you're not using Google Photos, stop being a dunderhead. Install it on your phone right now and set it up before it's too late.

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