November 2023

Boi is a neutered male, about 4 years old, and incredibly sweet. He loves people, other dogs (large and small), and even cats. He’s house trained, crate trained, and knows quite few tricks. Boi seems particularly quick to win the hearts of those who spend time with him (that includes dogs and people). On his path to rescue, everyone was quite concerned that we be sure to not forget his favorite stuffie.

Boi has had almost no training and it shows. He’s pushy, impatient, and demand barks a lot. He’ll jump up on people to ensure his demands aren’t missed. He has some clear separation anxiety, but we’ve seen it lessen within just a couple weeks within a foster environment. The best fit for Boi would likely be an adopter that works from home or is retired so that they can help him work through the separation anxiety. Experience with Samoyeds is also a plus, as Boi will need someone who can handle his barky/stubborn Samoyed personality and give him the guidance he’ll need to truly thrive.

We had an app from Eugene that looked excellent, and we tried for over a week to find someone in the area to do a home visit for us, without success. Finally we decided to ask for a virtual visit with Zoom, and Kathleen handled that, since she is fostering Boi. A meeting is planned soon.

Every so often, someone who wants to surrender a dog also insists on making the decision who gets it. That’s the case now with a dog named Lorek. We agreed to publish him on our website and send interested people directly to the woman who still has him. She can meet the people and make her own decision, and Lorek will get a home with someone going through the rescue process. He looks like a very nice dog, and we hope for the best.

Chalky is a wonderful dog who appears to have some sort of skin infection. Or perhaps it’s an allergy, Or it might be something serious. At this point, we just don’t know. A week ago he had oil rubbed into the bad spots (mostly his belly), followed up with a medicated shampoo bath. Afterward he looked remarkably better, and his skin was actually soft instead of rough and scabby. We are going to work on getting a referral to a veterinary dermatologist. Fortunately there is one fairly close.

We have been asked to help with a Samoyed at the Jackson County shelter in Phoenix, Oregon. That’s a very long way from any of us, and we had to ask if they can help with transportation. If there is anyone driving north from that area, we would very much like to hear from you.

There is a “Husky/Samoyed” in the Portland area, still with his owner. It’s difficult to tell if this is a Samoyed whose owner doesn’t know the difference, or indeed a mix. At the time of this writing we haven’t made contact yet.

October 2023

Chalky was found as a stray in the Sultan area in early July, and was taken in by a woman in the area. She took him to her vet, where they found a microchip, but the vet reported not being able to connect with the owner of the chip, either by phone or email. He was in bad shape, with hair loss all over his body and a belly that was licked to the point the skin had turned almost black. Her vet ran a lot of tests, and determined the urgent problem was a staph infection. He went on an antibiotic, plus a thyroid supplement, but he was slow to respond. We contacted her then, but she wasn’t ready to surrender him. She wrote to us again at the end of August, asking about sending him here, and we started looking for a possible foster home. We knew it would be a hospice-type foster and he likely wouldn’t move again. Although we told our team we probably wouldn’t be able to take more dogs, Chalky ended up coming here. We have, unfortunately, a lot of experience with senior and hospice dogs in rescue.

Chalky, soon after arriving

On September 17, Tom and Erin transported Chalky south to us. He is a sweet old man who didn’t deserve being abandoned by his owner. The woman who found him tried very hard, but without Samoyed experience she didn’t know what to expect. Since coming here he has been able to live inside, and spends most of his time snoozing close to one of us. By luck, we had a vet appointment scheduled for the day after he got here, originally for Balto, who had been adopted. They ran more tests, without many new results, and we scheduled a follow-up two weeks later. His antibiotic was changed, and they cultured his skin to determine the best antibiotic. In the meantime, we put a cone on him so he couldn’t lick, and his skin began getting better. The culture came back showing Doxycycline would work best, so we switched to it, along with a Gentamycin spray to work on the fungal problem. Chalky is improving but probably has a way to go before his skin is better and his poor tail has hair. He has a lot of life left in him. When he comes out in the morning, he is literally prancing. The day of this writing, we added Prednisone to his meds and we’ll see how much it helps.

Quinn is still with Melissa and Terry. He is such a delightful dog that she says she would keep him there except for one problem. He just hates other males. Quinn and their boy Boomer have been in at least five fights, with each prompting new measures to keep them apart. Quinn is spending more time in a crate than anyone likes, and there is a door between them most of the time. It’s not easy to live that way. We have been trying to schedule home visits for applicants who don’t have other male dogs, but it’s slow going. Quinn would fit in wonderfully as an only dog or if there is only a female already there.

Quinn, after grooming
Quinn, paws crossed

Tessa and Sophie have been here more than five and a half years. Kathy is able to approach them, and they seem to enjoy being petted by her, but only by her. In all this time, the only way I can get close is when they are confined. Their “safe place” is a shower in our bathroom. When they need sometime and I need to be close, we wait until they are there and close the door. Sophie accepts it, but Tessa shakes when I am too close. Kathy and I will have to downsize in the coming years, and we don’t have an option for the two girls. They need a home with no men, plus a super-secure yard. After they got here, we poured a concrete curb under our fence in the vulnerable spots, and we have an electric fence we can turn on if they begin testing things. If anyone knows a home that meets the necessities, we would sure love to hear from them.

Tessa, who turns 8 this month

September 2023

It’s been another busy month, beginning with Mia’s adoption August 19. She came from the Humane Society of Skagit County, where she was living with four puppies about six months old. The people who found her tried calling the owner, but with no response, so they went to the shelter. The shelter tried again, and the owner came and reclaimed the two male pups, leaving Mia and two female pups there. The puppies were adopted quickly, leaving only Mia, and they transferred her to us. They thought she was about two years old, but beyond that we know almost nothing. She preferred to be with people, but got along with dogs and cats, and loved to go on walks. We found the right home, and Mia lives now with Angela and Nathaniel in Hillsboro, where she is the center of attention and happy as can be.


Balto has been waiting for a home with people who are prepared to have a jumper. We were told he could jump a six foot fence, but during the time since he came, he didn’t tried to jump over a fence once, and never even tested a baby gate in the house. We have to assume he needed more attention, and he is definitely a people oriented dog. Even when there wasn’t food involved, he stayed at the feet of one or the other of us, wanting attention. He loves to be scratched, and he even enjoys grooming. We contacted his breeder, but did not get an answer.

We said many times that if Balto was our last foster we’d be going out on top. We had a call a week and a half ago from Jen and Rick, past adopters who have come to us for Sammies in the past. It’s been a year since they lost Jinju, and they wanted to talk about dogs. We told them about his history of jumping, and they weren’t concerned. On September 10 they came to meet him, bringing along their dog Logan. Balto immediately went to them, and that’s what we always look for. He thought they were great people, and after a couple hours with him, Balto hopped in their car to begin his new life in Troutdale.

Balto and his new family.

Quinn came from Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, one of two Samoyeds who needed new homes. The female was placed by the owner. Darlene picked up Quinn and met Melissa in Hermiston, and she drove him home to foster with her. He is an exceptionally nice boy with one problem. He absolutely doesn’t like other boy dogs, and Melissa has to keep him separate from her male, Boomer. He is great with females, but he wants to be alpha male. In a home with no other dogs, or with just a female, he would be a perfect addition to a family. He came to Melissa looking like a dog who liked to roll in dirt, so Quinn went to a groomer and is clean and handsome again. He will soon be neutered and then he can move to his forever home.

Quinn before grooming.
Quinn after grooming.

In July we heard of a “young Samoyed” in the Index area. Kathleen corresponded with Jessie, the woman who found him, and was told he had a chip. The owner was contacted but didn’t answer after multiple attempts, so Jessie took care of him. His name is Chalkie. At the end of August, she wrote that she isn’t able to keep him because her landlord said no, and he is actually 12 years old. She sent photos that show a senior dog with serious skin problems. We haven’t taken him into rescue yet; for now we’re talking about where he would go.


For a while, at the beginning of the pandemic, we heard from a lot of people trying to find a Samoyed. Things have changed. We have lots of people who want us to help, and apps aren’t arriving as fast. I heard elsewhere that groups aren’t getting applications as fast as before, so apparently rescue work has shifted again. As long as we can find homes, we will be okay, but it points out our need for good foster homes. If you have room for an extra dog for a few weeks at a time, we would love to hear from you. It’s one of the most rewarding things you can ever do.

Balto after an afternoon of hard play.

August 2023

When we tell people we almost never have puppies, that’s true. But every once in a while, out of the blue, we get one dropped in our lap. That happened at the end of July when we were contacted about an 8-week old puppy who was advertised as a giveaway. The woman who told us went immediately to pick him up, not knowing what to expect, and found a family that got him from a friend and simply didn’t want a puppy. When she got home she contacted us again to let us know she was turning him over to rescue. We have been posting recently that we needed more applications, and one of those we received was a great match. Only three days later, Yeti went to his fur-ever home. We are grateful to Alysha, the friend of rescue who jumped in to get him for us.


Balto has been on our radar for four or five months. His family told us he can jump a six foot fence, so they had to keep him on a long rope all the time. They have a toddler and a baby on the way in the next couple weeks, and they were worried the rope would eventually snag and injure a child. Balto visited us a month ago so we could meet him, and early this month he came to be fostered. We spent some time refreshing the electric fence line around the top of our dog yard, so if he jumps up he will be discouraged from doing it again. What we found was that Balto isn’t all that interested in jumping when he has people who want him indoors. We have been either walking him on a leash or monitoring him closely when out in the yard. The day of this report, he went through a gate that wasn’t chained tightly, and ran for our chickens. Fortunately for them, we have enough experience with Samoyeds that the chicken yard has three fences. They kept him busy while Kathy got a leash. I followed with another, and the two of us got him into the house again. He is a very strong boy with no training. We will be looking for a home that has a VERY strong fence. Balto is mellow with people and other dogs, and as loving as can be. We are trying to get time to bathe him because he is still brown with dirt. Someone is going to be lucky to get him.


Polar was with Melissa until two weeks ago. He has a back story you can read about in last month’s report. Melissa visited a family in Clatskanie, Oregon, and they came to meet Polar. They decided on the spot they didn’t need to visit any other dogs, and after Polar healed from his neuter surgery he went to his new home. He now has his own family and even his own human boy to play with.

Polar with his new family

Mia came from the Skagit Humane Society. She was there with puppies, who were adopted out by the shelter. She didn’t have a name, and Kathleen decided Mia sounded right for her. She is still at Kathleen’s home being fostered, with a potential home on the horizon. She is a timid girl, but really sweet. Someone is going to get a wonderful dog.

Mia with her foster brother and sister.

A month ago we heard of a dog in the Index area. This month there are two dogs in Snohomish, and one looks the same. We think they are repeat escapees whose owner isn’t able to contain them. We’ll keep on top of the reports and may eventually need to take them into rescue.

This month Cheri is handling rescue inquiries and dogs who need help. She is being helped by Darlene, who recently visited a pair of Sammies in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. It looks at this writing like they have made arrangements for the female, but we will probably get the male. Time will tell. If we get him, he will be sent to Melissa to be fostered. Her husband recently said he misses having seven dogs. We think he had his tongue planted in his cheek when he said that.

Bonner’s Ferry dogs

More than a year ago the Secretary of State made a mistake and our rescue was officially dissolved. We have been fighting for reinstatement since then, and both Erin and I did battle with them unsuccessfully. Recently Hans took the baton in hand and we are now reinstated. Our team is growing and we are heading in the right direction to help as many Samoyeds as we can find. Last month, new board member Kathleen successfully handled the single busiest month we had in the last 23 years. In addition to our board members, our volunteer community is also robust and helps us find dogs who need us. Most shelters around the northwest know who we are, and that makes it easier to do our job. These are not the parts of rescue we usually write about, but they are real tasks that keep things going. Thanks to everyone!

Balto, after his first session with the blower.

July 2023

Polar was on Craigslist early in June. The owner said he got him from a friend, and was rehoming him because he had too many dogs. Melissa called and wrote, and after a few emails back and forth, he brought Polar to Melissa’s home, where he has been fostered since. Polar was still intact, and will be neutered soon. He was born in 2019, so he is a wonderful age. We had a good app from someone in Clatskanie, Oregon, so Melissa took care of the home visit and reported they were a good home. After meeting him they decided not to visit Balto, the other dog we are trying to place, and as soon as Polar is neutered he will move in with them. He is a very mellow boy who loves people, and this looks like an excellent match.


We have been working with Balto off and on since January. His family seems to want him, but Balto is a jumper who can get over their five and a half foot fence. Because of that they have to keep him on a long line, and they recognize he needs a place to run. They recently brough him to us to meet, and he did well with our whole pack, as well as our fairly low fence. We believe a little judicious use of electric fencing would keep him contained, but so far we haven’t found anyone with an adequate fence. Fortunately, the owners are patient. Balto is a big guy whose ears didn’t come all the way up. He walked in the door and immediately joined our pack without problem, so we know he will make a great addition to the right home. Balto will be three years old in October.


In the past few days we heard of a Samoyed with four pups in Burlington. This month, Kathleen is on call so she is handling the contacts with the shelter. It’s her first month as “first responder,” and there is nothing like learning while under fire. When she reached the shelter, they indicated they would work with us. Melissa offered to foster them, which would be a heroic feat. We will see what happens. There was also a young Samoyed (we think) found in the Index area. We don’t know what his status is yet.

Dogs we heard about or saw online this month.

Sophie and Tessa go through spells where they won’t come inside, and when that happens we limit them to a small cross-fenced area of the back yard, where we can herd them toward the door. After many months of that, they seem to be coming in reliably now, and recently we gave them the whole yard. It helps that we are giving them high-value treats after they are in and the door is shut.

Sophie and Tessa

June 2023

Meet Polar! He is 6 years old, new in rescue and is being fostered by Melissa. He has quite a back story. Polar was originally from Serbia and bought by a woman in northern California in 2017. She also bought Pearl, a female from Kabeara. We know she had at least one litter. Eventually, Polar and Pearl were sold to a woman in Lebanon, Oregon. She planned to use them to produce puppies, but she said Polar was sterile. He also killed several chickens and one goat, and the neighbors were threatening to shoot him. In July last year the woman’s daughter contacted us to take the two dogs. After going back and forth over two days, we arranged for her to drop off the dogs as she was heading toward Seattle for an event. That morning, a couple hours before meeting us, she called it off, saying her mother had a “nervous breakdown” and refused to let the dogs leave. That was the last time we heard from her.

This month we heard from a man in Salem who had a dog named Polar who used to live with a Sammy named Pearl. It took most of a day to put the pieces together, during which we learned that the woman in Lebanon had elected to give Polar away. Since then, he has been living in an apartment with a bunch of other dogs. Melissa talked to him and he said he needed to find Polar a new home; he had too many dogs dogs, most of whom he was also rehoming. On the 8th, he delivered Polar to Melissa’s door.

Polar, before his previous home.

Polar seems to be enjoying life now. He had been forced to be an outside dog before he moved to the apartment, and then while in the apartment he didn’t have a yard. Now he has a good-sized yard and people who want him around. We think he has a bit of separation anxiety and won’t tolerate a crate (we learned he had destroyed crates in his former home). It only took a few hours to settle in and begin showing his affectionate side. Melissa says he gets up on the bed a couple times a night for a few minutes and wants a snuggle.

Polar, showing he is comfortable at Melissa’s house.

Polar needs to be groomed correctly and have a bath. He was trimmed because he was dirty, but after he gets cleaned up he will be handsome again. He already has an appointment to be neutered, and after that he will be available for adoption. He is almost a perfect age, well past the puppy stage with many years of love left.

Polar, showing how much he needs a bath and grooming.

On the same day we heard about Polar, we heard about two other dogs on Craigslist. One was a puppy and the other was an adult. Melissa wrote and called both, with no answer.

May 2023

For the most part, rescue has been slow the past month. We have been nursing Sophie after her diagnosis of a perianal fistula. She gets strong drugs once a day that will help it heal; twice a day she gets a stool softener and twice a day she gets a laxative. The goal is to keep things soft so the fistula will heal. The vet tells us we have to treat her for five or six weeks. This is better than the first week, when we had to give her a liquid laxative twice a day; she is still fearful and had to be trapped first. We have cross-fenced the back yard again because the girls are not coming in willingly. Now, even in the small yard, they still seem afraid of coming inside. Consequently, Kathy has been walking them many times a day, more often right now because we just started Sophie on Amoxicillin for a possible UTI and it’s better than mopping.

Sophie and Tessa

Holley alerted us to a dog in the Salem area, a 5 year old who needs a new home. We wrote to the address in the Craigslist ad, but as of this report we have not heard back.

We found Harmony last August in the SpokAnimal shelter in Spokane. She had been seized along with six other dogs from a hoarding situation. Her tail and other spots had been shaved because they were coated with feces; she was lucky compared to the other Sammy, a young male who was almost completely clipped (we took them both, and placed him in a great home). Harmony’s notes said she had a mammary tumor, so we left her with friends Tom and Erin in SeaTac, who got her to their vet for surgery right away. We fostered her since because she was listed as 12, and Kathy and I take the seniors. It was hard to believe she was that old because of her energy level. She ran around the yard like a young dog and loved to play.

In March I was petting her and found a lump that was suspicious. Our vet found not one, but two lumps that were a recurrence of mammary cancer. We scheduled surgery but asked for x-rays first, which showed it had probably metasticized into one lung, so we decided against surgery. She also had a slight cough. Two weeks later we took her to the vet again because she was crying out when she lowered her head. More x-rays showed the vertebrae in her neck were out of alignment, but they couldn’t tell if cancer was present there. We started her on Prednisone and almost immediately she seemed better again. The last few days of March she slowed down, and we gave her pain meds to keep her comfortable while we decided when to make that last trip.

March 4, Harmony was still excited to see her dinner, barking and diving in like normal. That night after bedtime, Kathy saw that Harmony was breathing heavily and decided to sit with her. She stayed and comforted her until Harmony lost her fight and stopped breathing. Rest in peace, Harmony. You were a good girl.


April 2023

In last month’s report Harmony had just been diagnosed with two more mammary tumors. We were waiting until early this month to have them removed because there wasn’t a great rush with relatively low grade tumors. She went in on April 5, and because she had a previous tumor removed, we wanted a good set of x-rays first. Unfortunately, there as enough question that our vet sent them to a radiologist, who said there is someone concerning in one lung. There is a good chance the cancer metasticized. She also has a bit of a cough, so the surgery was cancelled. In a month we will take Harmony back for another set of x-rays and will make a decision how to proceed. According to what we were told when she was picked up at the shelter, she is 12 years old, and we have to consider age. Meanwhile we will continue spoiling her.


We recently started Tessa and Sophie on a CBD product that worked well on Fena (Sophie’s litter sister). We couldn’t see much difference, but we’ll continue trying everything we can to make our Iowa puppy mill girls more comfortable. Once in a while we experiment by letting them outdoors off-leash, but they still aren’t comfortable coming back inside until bedtime. It’s odd, because when I let them out after dinner, Tessa (the more timid of the two) always comes back to the door to lick my hand. With the recent rainy weather we don’t dare take a chance too early in the day. Something happened to them when they were young, and after five years we don’t expect they will ever be “normal” dogs.

Our transition to a new generation of rescuers is going well. Each board member is taking alternating months as “first responder,” meaning they handle all inquiries for dogs for that month. We communicate with the other board members as things happen, so everyone has input and keeps current on events. Some months will be busy; some won’t, but we “old timers” can relate what has happened in the past and how we handled it. Speaking as an old timer, I have confidence Samoyed Rescue will be around a long time after I’m gone.

March 2023

Kahlil, the big bundle of Samoyed Melissa was fostering, has moved on to his forever home. A wonderful couple from Tacoma meet him last month and decided he would be a good fit. He came from Seattle Animal Control, who told us he had been abandoned in a dog park. His life is going to be great from now on. Kahlil’s new name is Otis.

Kahlil, now Otis, watched the Super Bowl with foster dad Terry.

When we got Harmony from the SpokAnimal shelter last year, they told us she had a mammary tumor. Erin and Tom fostered her through surgery, and Harmony has been living with us since. We have always taken the senior dogs here, and the shelter said she was either 10 or 12 years old (they had it listed differently in two places). A week and a half ago I was scratching her and found a lump. Since September we have been waiting for our favorite vets, who quit Tumwater Vet Hospital then, to open their own new clinic. When I found the lump on Harmony, I used one of their personal emails to ask when they would be opening. Officially the clinic opens on March 13, but they told us to bring her on the 9th, the first day of their “soft opening.”

Unfortunately, the diagnosis is for not just one, but two mammary tumors, one on each side. They are likely low grade tumors, so we elected to wait until April 5 for surgery. We drew blood for a senior panel to be sure everything else is OK, and the results should be back by the time you read this. We need to give her a dental cleaning, and they will do that at the time of surgery. They will also do x-rays to see if it has spread. Harmony has cataracts in both eyes, but heart and lungs are fine, a big deal when cancer is involved.


While Tessa is still too scared to get close to me, Sophie is finally beginning to make progress. I started keeping some graham crackers in the office, and when I’m at my computer Sophie will frequently walk up and remind me she knows about them. She takes little pieces from my hand. Someday I’m convinced she will allow me touch her.

(left) Tessa and Sophie, getting rinsed off in the shower after digging in the yard.
(right) Sophie, waiting for her treats.

We welcome a new board member this month. Kathleen Guinee adopted Banjo, and offered to help where she could. We think this is a really positive step forward for the future of Northwest Samoyed Rescue. Thanks, Kathleen!

February 2023

Our newest dog, Kahlil, came from the Seattle Animal Control. Ryann let us know he was there, and she called to say we were interested. Since we worked with them before (Winston and others), they said we could pick him up. They neutered him the next morning and said he would be available in the afternoon. Hans and Holley picked him up and brought him here. Melissa arrived the next morning, and she will foster him at her home.

Kahlil is one of the biggest Samoyeds we have seen, and his head is immense. They say he is only nine months old, so we wonder how big he will eventually be. The story we heard was that he was found in a dog park, and they were able to find his owner, who said he has cancer and left Kahlil there out of desperation. He is a big goofball, not well trained but willing to listen. We need to wait for him to recover from his neuter surgery, but in the meantime we will be searching for the right home for him.


Five years ago this week, we took in three Samoyeds from a backyard breeder, Prairieland, in the Vancouver area. He had leased five pregnant bitches from White Fire, already pregnant. You may recall White Fire as the Iowa breeder that got in trouble for terrible conditions not long after that; the dogs were seized and given to the ASPCA. By the time all had been placed, the total number of dogs was over 300. Prairieland’s arrangement was to return all five to White Fire after they had their puppies, and split the money he made from selling the puppies. We were never told why, but he called us to take three of the girls, and delivered them to Melissa’s home. The next day she met Kathy and transferred them to us. Sophie and Fena were litter sisters, and cousin Tessa was a few months older. They were practically feral.

The three Iowa girls, just after they arrived. The colors on their foreheads were for identification.

We emptied our garage and gave them a place in one corner for beds, with pee pads on the other side of the garage. Kathy and I took turns sitting in the garage getting them used to us. We added a large x-pen so we could sit inside it with them. After a few months, we opened the door to our laundry room and let them come inside as they wanted. With a little more time they began coming into the kitchen. Eventually we closed the garage door and they lived inside.

Sophie and Tessa chilling in the dog yard.

Although we wanted to place these dogs, we decided any adopter much have a double fence so an escapee would still be contained. A friend and previous adopter, Kathy Bacon, came to visit and meet the girls. Together we decided Fena was the best candidate to adopt, and she has done spectacularly well there.

Sometime in the past a man must have treated them badly. They eventually accepted Kathy getting close, and petting and scratching them, but the only time I can touch them is when they are in their crates getting bedtime treats, or when they are in their “safe place,” a shower in the bathroom. Sophie has begun coming into the office when I am at my computer and taking treats from my hand. Tessa still hangs back. From time to time they wouldn’t come indoors after being in the yard, then just as abruptly would begin coming inside. Currently they currently refuse to enter; if they get outside they won’t come in, even for their dinner. Kathy has to walk them on a leash several times a day.

When they are nervous, Tessa and Sophie hide in the shower.

We need to find homes for them. They feed off each other’s fear, and we are sure if we split them they might do as well as Fena. The right home must have great security, so if a dog escapes through a door they are still secure. Because they are afraid of men, we also need a home where there are no men. Most of all, their adopters must have patience.

We are getting old and facing the fact we will need to move in the next few years, maybe sooner. If the two girls are still here, the only current option we have is to ship them to a sanctuary where they will live without people. If anyone has ideas, we would very much like to hear them.

Tessa (left) and Sophie

We still think Harmony is younger than the 12 we were told by the shelter. The only evidence of age we can point to is her eyes, which are cloudy. Still, we have seen younger dogs with similar eyes. She has boundless energy, which she uses up by barking. She runs circles around the other dogs. She is the smallest purebred Samoyed we have had. Because of her age, or at least what we were told about her, she stays with us because we foster seniors. It’s very difficult to place a 12 year old dog. There is a new DNA test that promises to give nearly exact age, but as of February 10 it was taken off the market because it wasn’t working as well as promoted. The company, Embark, promises an update next month.


Bella was listed on the Beaverton Craigslist in 2014, and went to a family in Seattle. In August 2021 she was listed again, and we heard about her. She lived in an apartment and had to be walked, and her family had a new baby and no time for the walks. They said she was 11, based on what they were told when they got her, but we know info on Craigslist is often optimistic. She may have been older.

Bella, on the day she arrived.

A few months later we had her at the vet for a check-up when they found a lump on her neck. An ultrasound showed it was probably a thyroid tumor, so we took her to a veterinary oncologist. The tumor was confirmed and they suggested a high dose of thyroid meds. There was no other treatment. Since then we watched the tumor get bigger, though her behavior didn’t change. Until recently it didn’t bother her. Her breathing got progressively louder, but she continued to be active and enjoying life. Last month it got worse and we waited for her to tell us it was time.

Bella could usually be found close to one of us.

Wednesday morning she let us know. She didn’t want to eat, and her energy was gone. Kathy carried her in from the yard while I tried to reach our vet. I couldn’t get them to answer, but I called a vet who does home calls, and she said she would come the next morning. Bella slept well and even rallied a bit. She asked to go into the living room, where we helped her up on the sofa, her favorite place in the world. She stayed there, quietly, until the vet arrived. The end came peacefully.

Bella, on her last morning, in her favorite place.

Over 22 years of rescue we’ve been through this many times, almost once a year, because we foster the senior dogs. This one hit us hard. Bella was special. She loved people and everyone who met her loved her. Every night after dinner I went to my room to read for a half hour, and Bella always joined me. We really feel her loss.

Like the other dogs, Bella loved the snow.
Beautiful Bella.