This is the month of our annual fundraiser, and this year we’re offering a new design by Holley called “Samflake.” We will take orders until at least the first week in January, so there’s lots of time left to get yours. We have had great success in our fundraisers in recent years. There are many other Samoyed Rescue groups around the country constantly scrambling to pay vet bills, and we have the privilege of not worrying whether we have to turn a dog away because he or she might be expensive to help. Your financial support is what makes it possible to save so many dogs.
We received e-mail from American Eskimo Rescue on August 14, saying they had picked up a Samoyed in Oregon and brought her back to Seatac. Erin Sitterley lives close, so she did a quick assessment and took pictures. Two days later she brought Lilly to us at the Specialty in Enumclaw. Opinions differed, but she appears to be a very tiny Samoyed, probably bred by a puppy mill that claims to breed “miniature Samoyeds.” She certainly has a sammy temperament. Nancy and Doug Fenty were waiting for another dog to add to their family, so Lilly and Genie were introduced and got along well. On September 4, Lilly went to her new home.
Cosmo first came to our attention in May when we received mail from a number of people about a blind dog in Spokane. Our daughter Kristina visited him, took pictures, and we said we would help. Cosmo’s owner had gone through a divorce and Cosmo was living temporarily with a family member. We’re thankful his owner saw the need to have him neutered so we could begin looking for his new home. It’s not always easy to place a disabled dog. It took four months before we had interest in him, but the end result was a home with an experienced Sammy owner in Montana. She has had sammies for 30 years, used to show, and has another blind dog. Margo Varberg met us in Post Falls and arranged to take Cosmo to her own veterinary ophthalmologist. He confirmed that Cosmo is congenitally blind and is a dwarf, but no other obvious health issues. Margo and Cosmo went back to Bozeman and will live happily ever after. As with most special needs dogs, all fees were waived.
One of our adopters, Sheila Springer, works in Centralia. One of her patients saw her Samoyed calendar on the wall and asked if she wanted another dog, so Sheila got in touch with us right away. Oakley was given to a family about five years ago, and when they found he chased chickens they tied him out in the yard. He has lived there since. It’s a home with a single father with two children, and he works long hours and recognized that Oakley needed a better place to live. Judy Gustafson did an assessment and found a love-starved sammy of unknown age who hasn’t been groomed for five years. She went back and picked him up and brought him to us, and Oakley has been getting to know all sorts of grooming tools. His owner was told he was nine years old when he got him, which would make Oakley 14 now — and that’s clearly not the case. We estimate him at 8-10 years, with the agility and movement of a young dog. He is less than 40 pounds, skin and bones, and because he loves to eat we think they simply forgot to feed him. His first vet visit is scheduled and he is on the road to a good future.
Last April we placed two dogs together. One was Sammy, a male about a year old who had been in two homes before we got him from the shelter. The other was Emily, who we first placed as a puppy and came back a year later. The two went to live in Gig Harbor together, despite our feelings that it might be too much for the family to handle. We need to listen to our experience, because they are coming back to us this week. Two dogs, active and under 2 years old, would be a handful for any sammy family, let alone a home where training isn’t a priority. We’ll look long and hard before we place two young dogs together in the future.
Annie is a dog in the Seattle area, bought 10 years ago as a puppy, who needs a new home now because she barks too much. Our first efforts are always to counsel, advise, and try to keep a dog in its current home, but this owner made up his mind before he called us. She is being boarded now, will be kept by a friend for a week, and then we will bring her here if a home isn’t found first.
We’re also in the process of getting information on a male Samoyed on Whidbey Island. He was given to friends when his owners went to Germany, and now they are getting transferred to Guam. There’s an applicant locally, and we will try to work something out so they can adopt directly.
As the ones at the rescue table at the National in Post Falls, we want to thank Van, Liz, and the rest of the committee for their support. Our location was great and we met a lot of people we knew only from e-mail. One of the greatest parts of participating was meeting other rescuers for the first time, like Dorinda from Utah and Beverley from San Francisco. Although there have been a lot of politics in rescue in recent years, we proved again that we can all work together for our dogs.
The Rescue Parade was Tuesday evening; ten dogs participated. Sunny Bear came with Christine Kiernan from California; Celine Cutler brought Makita and China; Jim and Doris Commons had Saskia and Suni; Tom and Erin Sitterley brought Piper and Dory; Karen Johnson and Sam came from Walla Walla, George Johnson and Louise Goodman accompanied Tramp; and our dog Shadow was there, escorted by Diane Dings of SamUrgency.
Sadly, we have to report that less than two weeks later, George and Louise lost Tramp after he bloated and died before they could get him to the vet. Tramp has always been one of our favorites because of his unique, gentle spirit. We met him first when he was being fostered by Steve Madsen, and he has been a faithful attendee of the rescue picnic every year. We always joked that he was the only dog we knew who could surf the picnic tables without ever taking his feet off the ground, but he was so polite we never worried about it. Tramp’s passing has been a blow to all of us, and we mourn the loss of such a wonderful dog.
Roxie was with us for three months after coming from eastern Oregon. She had a heart murmur, not serious but a definite obstacle to finding a home. Luckily, we had an application from a doctor who understood her problem and thought it was something she could live with. This is a woman who already has a paraplegic sammy with her own set of wheels, who is committed to giving her dogs the best possible lives. Roxie sensed right away that this would be a great new mom from the minute she walked in the door. Roxie met her new sister, everyone got along, and we’re thrilled that Roxie now lives in Portland.
We told you last month about Shasta, a six year old male in Shelton who needed a new home. While we were searching, his owner put an ad in the paper and placed him on his own. Although we had a signed release, there wasn’t anything we could do but hope for the best. As it happens we had done a home visit on Shasta’s new home several years ago and turned them down for lack of fence, but we can still hope it works out. Once again we had to look hard at our policy of leaving dogs with their owners while we look for new homes. The bottom line is until we get people to step forward and offer to foster, this is the way we have to do rescue.
Cosmo is a perfect example of a sammy who needs a foster home. He is with a woman who isn’t a dog person and would rather not have him there, but there is no place to put him. Cosmo is blind, and although 70-80 people each week look at his Petfinder listing we’ve only had one inquiry in over a month. We know well that a blind dog is no problem to live with, but of course it’s hard to convince people.
Last month we told you about Sadie, an older girl who went to a first-time dog owner. In the time we’ve done rescue, it was the most positive meeting we’ve ever seen; human and dog bonded instantly. Sadie’s new mom had just successfully completed chemo and celebrated by getting the dog she always wanted. She took two weeks off work to help Sadie settle in.
Well, sometimes life isn’t what you expect. Ten days after her placement, Sadie had blood in her urine and was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Her new mom had her to the vet for surgery immediately. Sadie recovered quickly but tests showed they weren’t able to get it all. Throughout this, her new mom has had an amazingly positive attitude, especially considering she is a cancer survivor herself. She has elected to keep Sadie with her and do everything possible to make her comfortable. They are taking walks, having great times together, and refusing to let this get to them. We think if we do rescue for a hundred years, we could never meet a more perfect adopter. We returned the adoption fee, plus a bit extra, to help Sadie with medical bills. If anybody else wants to offer assistance, we will pass it along and give you our gratitude.
Bear is another dog from the Mona, Utah puppy mill by way of eastern Oregon. He was one of their stud dogs for four years, then sold to a woman in the LaGrande area as a stud for her Malamute. After two years she got tired of him and gave him to Cathie Falck. Cathie found a foster home and had him neutered, then he came here. Officially we’re fostering him for Samoyed Rescue of Oregon while they repair their kennels, which gives us the experience of watching him blossom and come out of his shell. His coat was so matted he was shaved before he got here, so we’re also getting to watch how fast sammy hair really grows. We expect Bear to move to a forever home with an experienced sammy family very soon.
Sammy is now named Zuke, his third name in that many months and the most important he will have because it’s forever. He was at the Tacoma Humane Society in March and adopted out before we could get there. After escaping several times in a month from that home, he was picked up and taken there again, and this time they called us so we could get him in a home that understands the breed. His only problem was excess energy, and that was handled by his being adopted along with Emily.
Emily is a mix of Samoyed and collie, or golden, or something else that also has a great temperament. We first placed her as a puppy over a year ago into a home that didn’t understand she needed training. Emily is a tall girl they allowed to do as she pleased, and the family decided to send her back because they couldn’t handle her. We were fond of Emily when she first came as a puppy, even more when she stayed with us this time. She bonds quickly to humans and only wants to please and play! When she first got here this time, she had some scabs on her neck, but they didn’t seem to bother her and were healing well — or so we thought. After she got to her new home she became ill and a deep tissue infection was discovered. After a number of vet visits, a change of vets, and more than one course of antibiotics, we are pleased to tell you she is healthy and back to normal. Because this was a problem she evidently had before she was adopted, we decided to return the adoption fees for both dogs to help pay the bills.
Nikki was in the Everett shelter when we found him, and he was quickly sprung by Erin Sitterley and fostered by Lon & Mary. He is a terrific young dog and we had no trouble at all finding him a great new home. How great? Well, these are people who drove their motor home 250 miles each way so Nikki would have a comfortable ride home. He now lives in Kalama with his new mom and dad.
Roxie has been with us since early March. She has a heart murmur caused by a defective valve (pulmonic stenosis) but shows no symptoms and has no problems. She is less than two years old, very friendly and full of the energy you expect from a dog that young. She also has distichiasis, an eyelash growing in the wrong place and irritating her eye. Our vet wanted us to take her to a veterinary ophthalmologist, but we finally convinced him to do it for us to hold down the cost. When it actually came time for the surgery and they sedated her, they discovered it could be corrected with minor electro cautery. She has already healed, and very soon will have another visitor asking about adopting her.
Sadie came into our lives after a pretty rough life. She had a systemic yeast infection, bad skin, and her ear is bent over from damage done by an untreated infection and hematoma. Both ears had raging yeast infections, as did other parts that made her uncomfortable. When she first arrived she was fearful and aggressive to the other dogs, but quickly learned to be tolerant of the pack. We estimate her to be around 7-8 years old. She got baths every couple days for a while, then twice a week, until her fungus was under control. Despite her interaction with dogs, Sadie is a love sponge with people. We found an applicant in Redmond looking for her first dog, and when she visited we saw the strongest reaction between foster dog and human we’ve seen yet. Sadie went to her, sat with her, and within a minute was on her back getting a tummy scratch. Sadie is now ecstatic in her new home. Her new mom even took two weeks off from work to get her settled in.
We work frequently with Angie Brainard in northern Idaho, who does Coonhound Rescue and has been instrumental in getting several sammies to us. Angie found a dog with a couple in Athol who wanted to find their dog Ice a new home because he had been escaping and killing their ducks and geese. We sent them a release form, and Angie was following up when she learned Ice had escaped again and the husband shot him. We are deeply saddened that they chose not to call Angie, who would have picked him up within 5 minutes (and they knew that). It is forcing us to re-think our policy of leaving owner-surrender dogs with their owners while we look for new homes.
There’s another Bear in LaGrande, one more dog resulting from the wanna-be backyard breeder who bought dogs from a Utah puppy mill. Bear comes from the same people who gave us Roxie, and he was so badly matted he had to be shaved. The groomer said his coat came off like a sheep being sheared, almost all in one piece. In the middle of this month, Cathie Falck (without whom we could not save nearly as many dogs) will drive him as far as Kalama and we will arrange transport to foster. Bare Bear was just neutered and his coat will hopefully start growing back quickly.
Our second Shasta in a year is coming soon, this time a male about 6 years old. He was bred by Sue Roberts, whose dogs have been frequent fliers in Rescue. It appears he is a half brother to our own Charlie, and his owner is unemployed and looking for a good home as he moves to California. The owner and dog are tightly bonded and we’re sorry to see this happen, and it’s possible we may be able to work out a way to keep them together. Unfortunately he has not had vet care for a long time, and has a yeast infection and is badly matted. We may take him into Rescue to ensure he gets the care he needs. Time will tell.
Cosmo is six years old, and blind since he was four months old. He may also suffer slightly from dwarfism but we aren’t positive about that yet. His owner was divorced and placed him with her ex mother-in-law six months ago, but he now needs a new home. We have a signed release, but in this case we are comfortable leaving him where he is while we search for someone to adopt him. There is a possibility we may have found one in Vancouver, but it remains for them to meet. His owner says Cosmo gets around as easily as a sighted dog; having lived with Shadow for four years we can attest to a blind dog having very few problems in life.
Home visits are an important part of rescue and an easy thing to do. All of us who have sammies understand what to look for almost instinctively, and we have a form if you want to know what to look for. Whether or not you have ever done a rescue home visit, we could use your help. Right now we have a dozen or so people waiting for dogs, with most still needing home visits. We delay most until they move up the list, since many find dogs elsewhere while waiting, but a few could be done so they are ready to adopt when we find the right dog. We are also constantly looking for foster homes.
Thank you to Joy Ritter, who did a visit in Kalama, and to Erin Sitterley who has twice dropped everything to pull dogs from the Everett shelter (Nikki and Sadie). Cathie Falck has almost made a career of finding dogs in eastern Oregon who need help. Lon and Mary have been fostering rescue dogs for over a decade, always ready to take a dog with little or no notice, always giving them the love they need while awaiting new homes. We appreciate the time and effort given by so many to the dogs who need us!
Roxie, who arrived a month ago, was about to be spayed when she came into heat. We pushed back the spay appointment three weeks and took her instead for a quick checkup and shots. During the visit our vet told us she had a heart murmur, so an appointment was made with a cardiologist in Clackamas, and Roxie was diagnosed with a congenitally small pulmonary valve. Odds are she will have a completely normal life at least through middle age, and may never show symptoms. We’ve been working with a woman in Juneau, Alaska, who was in Portland on business and drove up to meet Roxie. We sent the reports to her vet and will find out soon if Roxie will be an Alaskan resident.
Honey, the beautiful honey-colored Samoyed mix, hitched a ride from Idaho and stayed with Lon & Mary while waiting for her new family to find her. We are delighted to say that happened late last month. Her new name is Akai, and we are getting wonderful results about how well she fits into the family.
Seven is an unusual name for a dog. He was first spotted in the Tacoma Humane Society a month ago, but was placed by the shelter as Kathy was en route to pick him up. A few days ago he was listed again, having been picked up as a stray. They have to send an official letter to the registered owner and wait five days, so we can’t get him out yet. By the time you receive this newsletter we hope we will have him here and he can be placed better by rescue than he was by the shelter.
You may remember Emily, the puppy we found in Coeur d’Alene in January last year, adopted by a Portland area family with small children. We received terrific reports since then, up until last week. Now we learn the family is having problems that will result in a move, and they feel Emily needs to find a new home. Emily is now about a year and a half old, just into the “teen” stage, and it sounds like they didn’t spend any time training her. She looked much more like a Samoyed as a puppy than she does now, but we placed her and we will take her back. If she isn’t in a new home by the end of the week, it looks like Emily will be moving back with us.
Abby was our queen, dropped from a car window in February, 2003. She was helped by a Tibetan Mastiff breeder and delivered to rescue. By the time she was ready to be adopted, we knew she was here forever. Despite severe arthritis and spondylosis, her constant cheer and huge smile brightened our lives beyond description. I’m sorry to say she has been declining, and last month she told us it was time to go. We consider ourselves fortunate beyond words to have been able to spend over three years with her beautiful spirit.
Rescue depends on volunteers all around the Northwest who help with transport, fostering, and especially home visits. Because each home has to be visited before they get to adopt, we really appreciate the time given by all those who want to help these special Sammies find forever homes. We are grateful to you all.
After working with a couple from Salem for several weeks, we decided together that Honey might be a bit timid for their active family, so we have moved on to another prospective home for her. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to find exactly the right new home, so we try not to rush the process.
Honey remains for now in her foster home with Lon & Mary, where she is charming everyone who meets her. We have a home visit planned for a couple who met Honey last weekend and fell for her.
A few years ago someone in eastern Oregon bought a male and two female Samoyeds from a Utah puppy mill, intending to get “into the business.” He apparently found it to be more work than he thought, and about a year ago he gave his male to SRO. That was Casper, who was placed in the Lake Stevens area. Cathie Falck is in LaGrande, and has been a tremendous help getting dogs from that area into rescue. A few weeks ago she heard about Roxie, who is probably one of Casper’s pups. Roxie was placed in a home where her owner let her stay inside unattended, and at nine months old she chewed on things she shouldn’t. Her owner beat her for chewing, and threatened to shoot her.
Fortunately he was persuaded to give her to a woman who took care of her, but that home was a chain attached to an outside doghouse. The woman knew this wasn’t the best thing, so after 11 months she called Cathie and arranged to get Roxie into rescue.
We talked with Melissa about whether SRO or SCWS would take Roxie. Because we were told she wasn’t housetrained, she came here where someone is home with time for the training. Roxie is still timid and a bit skittish, but has warmed up to humans and dogs alike. It turned out she was quite well housetrained, and she is coming along quickly learning to trust people. It’s a warm feeling to watch a dog like Roxie find out how a sammy should live. She will be spayed on the 14th, and after recovery we will look for the right home for her.
Each day we check Petfinder and other listings for newly listed dogs, and Holley checks Craigslist in every city across the country. Last week she forwarded the listing of a ten year old in Seattle named Aspen, and we wrote for more information. Consequently we will be listing Aspen while he stays with his family. He looks like a grand old boy with floppy ears. We checked with our rescue network, and the consensus is that he came from a Missouri puppy mill where many sammies have floppy ears and eyes rounder than usual.
Sadie was in the Moses Lake shelter, and we contacted them about getting her into rescue. They were willing, but before we could get someone there to pick her up, they placed her with a local sanctuary. When they listed her on Petfinder we called and have begun a good relationship with them. We added her to our website listing and will let adopters know about her, and in return they will assist us with dogs in Grant County and surrounding areas. This could be extremely helpful in an area where we haven’t had good coverage. Sadie is a neat older senior Sammy girl with lots of love left for her next home.
This month, in addition to Sadie, we found two other shelter dogs we couldn’t get to before they were adopted. The Moses Lake shelter also had Marshall, a young sammy boy, early in the month, and we were about an hour too late to get Seven, another young male at the Tacoma Humane Society. In both cases we cross our fingers they found good homes, and we always ask the shelters to pass our contact information along to the new homes.
Back in February 2003 we took in an older sammy girl surrendered by her family in Battle Ground. Mandy lived her life on a long rope with access to the garage, getting attention only when someone had time. There was a divorce and she needed a new home. When Mandy got in the car, she had to sit sideways because she was literally too large to sit facing forward. Because we didn’t have room, Melissa agreed to foster her, and Mandy began her diet.
She also found the love and freedom she hadn’t had before. During June we heard from someone in Seattle who wanted to meet her, and it was a perfect match. Esther is a third grade teacher, and over the years we heard stories about Mandy becoming the class mascot, even posing for the class picture.
With great sadness we learned recently that Mandy had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We hope you join us in celebrating the last three years of her life, when Mandy had a life that made up for all the years that came before.
Honey began the rescue month on January 12 when she was spotted in the Coeur d’Alene shelter. Barb Campbell checked her and reported that although she was a mix with a honey-colored coat, she was otherwise pure sammy in spirit and temperament. We asked Celine, who adopted Makita last year and was interested in adding another girl, if she would like to try Honey. Angie Brainerd, a fellow rescuer and groomer in CDA, pulled her from the shelter and groomed her. It turned out Honey was a bit much for Makita, so Lon’s friend Charlie picked her up and took her to “Camp LoMar.” She has been spayed and is just about ready for adoption. Everyone who meets Honey says she is the sweetest dog they have seen. We’ve had several serious inquiries already.
Next was Snowy, found as a stray and taken to the Tacoma Humane Society. Kathy Buckner went to the shelter and did the assessment, and when Snowy’s hold was up we brought her home. For the first time ever we found a microchip the shelter had missed, and were able to determine her name, age, and former owner. Unfortunately we can’t locate them due to a divorce and move. Our vet removed two growths from Snowy, and when she was healed we contacted Carey and Kaz, who lost Madison last October. Snowy is a plus size girl, 80 pounds, and is now happily dieting in Seattle in her new home.
China was turned in to the Missoula Humane Society along with four other dogs. At ten years old, China was the youngest of them. We were exploring ways to bring her west when we received an offer from Paws Across the Northwest, a group devoted to transporting rescue dogs around northwest states, who had a transport already scheduled and going through both Missoula and Coeur d’Alene. Again we called Celine, who jumped to take China. The transport went perfectly, and this time the placement also was perfect. China and Makita are new sisters, happily sharing Celine between them.
Cheri was contacted about an old sammy in Meridian, Idaho, close to Boise, and passed the word to us. That’s 500 miles away in an area with few volunteers, so we hit the phones and started sending e-mail messages to a lot of people. Lucky for us, Judie Lucas remembered someone in Meridian who called her last fall after her Samoyed passed away. We called and e-mailed, and she was interested. She went to the shelter, adopted the old girl, and had her at the vet that day. We think she is at least 12, deaf, and has such bad teeth she can’t eat solid food. She was scheduled for a dental appointment as this was written, and we’re waiting to hear how she is doing. It takes an Angel to adopt a dog like this, and we count our lucky stars that we keep finding such caring and loving people who want to help our dogs.
At this writing, we are working on getting a young (five months?) Samoyed mix from Moses Lake. He has someone scheduled to visit him soon, but we have transport lined up if he isn’t adopted directly from the shelter. We have a good working relationship with most shelters across the northwest because we ask first how we can help.
A quick count shows approximately 27 people were involved one way or another in the four dogs we placed or transported this month. It takes a large rescue community to do this job right, and we thank every one of you from the bottoms of our hearts.
We had a call from another rescuer in November telling us about someone who contacted them about a dog in need. We called him, and he took the dog to Mary so she could meet him. Mary took Teddy into rescue, and she and Lon fostered until early this month. They reported that he had received poor care with his former owner, and he was still learning to trust men. Teddy is not purebred, but is a wonderful dog. A couple living in Seattle, who had a positive home visit with Liz and Van, went to meet him and fell in love. They sent an update recently that said “It has been an absolute blessing for us and believe he was meant to be with us. I cannot believe anyone ever hurt this sweet, adorable dog.” Those are the messages that make rescue work rewarding.