September 2022

When Cooper and Harmony came into rescue, we were told he was seven or eight months old, and she was between ten and a half and twelve. We questioned both those ages at first because Cooper seemed older and Harmony seemed younger. Now, a month later, we think those ages may be pretty close.


Cooper is full of energy, but as loving as a dog who is older. He follows Melissa around the house, then runs out in the yard with her other dogs. Just like a puppy, when he crashes he really crashes. For now we have elected not to neuter him until he is older. His coat, which was shaved to the skin by the shelter because he was so dirty, is beginning to grow back nicely.


The clues to Harmony’s age are her eyes, which are slightly cloudy, and her rear legs, which seem quite stiff. Her face and size both remind us very much of our girl Sasha, the crippled dog we had so long. Pictures of their faces are remarkably similar. Since Harmony was a seizure from a hoarder we won’t ever know where she came from. She loves to follow us around. We took her along to a home visit and she was great in the car. The good news about her surgery is when the pathology report came back, it showed clear margins and a very low risk of recurrence. The bad news is that Harmony was able to lick the stitches out and had to return to Erin and Tom for a few days so she could get re-stitched by their vet. She is terribly itchy and wants to scratch and dig at herself. We switched her to a salmon-based kibble, but so far without change. She is on Benadryl several times daily and it helps. The itching and scratching mean she will continue to wear a cone until we figure things out. Without a local vet that’s difficult.


Bella is beginning to fade a little and her tumor is definitely growing. Our vet is leaving the clinic, and we have one more brief visit scheduled in a week. She is such a great old girl we are sorry to watch her decline. We tried to make the last year as good as possible for her.

Tessa & Sophie

There is little change in behavior for Sophie and Tessa. They have spells they won’t come indoors, and at other times they hop right in the door. Fortunately they always seem to come in at bedtime. In January we will have fostered them for five years.

August 2022

Harmony and Ghost were seized from a hoarder in the Spokane area, along with five dogs of other breeds. We were tagged in a Facebook group about them and I called the shelter right away. They said Ghost had been adopted by an older couple already, but Harmony was still there. Their records show she will be eleven years old later this year. Cheri and Darlene went to look at her, and we told the shelter we would take Harmony despite a mammary tumor. It was a Saturday and they said nobody who could make that decision would be in until Tuesday, August 2, so we waited. When they called us they said the shelter was at twice their capacity and they really wanted to transfer Harmony as soon as possible. Cheri and Darlene picked her up, and as they left they called to say Ghost had come back so they had him too. He was too active for the couple who took him. They each fostered the two, first Darlene and then Cheri, so the dogs would be closer as our daughter Kristina picked them up to bring to us. On August 7 they headed west.

Our vet has a wait of two months to see a dog, far too long for a dog with a tumor. We know two of their four vets are quitting at the end of this month, so we are, practically speaking, without vet care. Fortunately, Erin and Tom have a vet who could see them two days later, so Kristina met them on the way and transferred Harmony while Ghost came here. Two days later, Melissa picked him up and took him to her home to foster.

Harmony not only saw the vet, she had surgery to remove the mammary tumor and spay her. She is back for a short stay with Tom and Erin. We are waiting for the biopsy results, which should be ready in a few days. When she has healed enough to travel, we hope to take her here to foster.


Meanwhile, Ghost has been renamed Cooper and is awaiting his neuter surgery in about a month. He was described as seven or eight months old, but after having him a few days between us, we think is between one and two years old. Still young and puppy-like, but old enough to neuter. Cooper is a really sweet dog, but complete untrained. He counter-surfs, gets into everything, and isn’t housetrained yet. Knowing Melissa, he will be soon.

Cooper, formerly Ghost

Luna is a Sibe/Sam/Mal mix who has been with Melissa since early March. She had a broken leg that wasn’t healed when she first was taken to a vet clinic after being found running. After several vets saw her, all of whom said her leg should be amputated, the surgery was delayed because of a UTI. When she finally went in again, they determined the scar tissue was holding things together so well she could keep her leg. As one of the vets said, she may not have full use of it, but three and a half legs are better than three. The woman who first tried to take her couldn’t handle her, so she came to rescue. In the intervening months, Luna has healed and runs and plays without problems. We also did a DNA test on her, and she is roughly half Siberian Husky and a quarter each Samoyed and Alaskan Malamute. We have been waiting for just the right home, and recently she went “on trial” to a previous adopter. So far, so good.


Bella celebrated her twelfth birthday last month. She recently went back to the vet for a re-check, and although her thyroid tumor is slightly larger, it is not growing very fast. The high dose of thyroid meds is working, and she will continue on them indefinitely. Her breathing has become a bit more raspy, but she seems to enjoy life and is running and playing with the other dogs. Time will tell what happens.


Tessa and Sophie have their ups and downs. For quite a while they would come back in the house whenever we let them out, but we had company recently and it spooked them somehow. On the day of this writing, we let them out in the morning and they wouldn’t even come in for their dinner. We hope they will come in at bedtime. We don’t know what is going on in those minds.

Sophie and Tessa

July 2022

Banjo, one of the young dogs Melissa has been fostering, has a new home. She brought him to Ron and Kathy’s house on June 11 to meet a couple in Lynnwood who already had a young female. They also have several cats, so Melissa checked him with a friend’s cat and he passed the test. When they arrived, Banjo went straight to them, and that’s what we always hope happens. From all reports, Banjo is happy in his new home.

Banjo and his happy new family

Shadah, the eight year old girl also at Melissa’s house, has a new home now with a previous adopter in Portland. Our applicant had been waiting for another Samoyed for four years, and this was the right match. Shadah even looks remarkably like the first Samoyed she adopted from us many years ago. Placing an eight year old dog can be problematic, so this was an especially gratifying match.


Niko’s owner first contacted us because he didn’t get along with their cat. He agreed to keep Niko home in Kent until we found a new home, but it took a very long time, partly because of his age (six years old). We thought we had a good home lined up several times, but each of them fell through for one reason or another. We finally called a recent adopter in Albany who had recently lost another dog, and they met Niko halfway, in Vancouver. Niko is now a happy pup living in Oregon.


Bella is still doing well, despite her cancer, and she will be visiting our vet for a re-check on the 19th. She celebrated her 12th birthday on July 7, but with the thyroid medicine she is taking she acts more like a two-year-old. We wish Bella had been here for a lot longer, because she is a delightful old girl.

Is Bella sticking her tongue out at the camera?

After more than 20 years, we decided to change the way we promote our foster dogs. In the past few months, it seemed like everybody on the waiting list had some reason not to adopt. Some already adopted a dog, some wanted to wait, and some just wouldn’t respond to our emails and calls. Our best luck recently has been with the newest applicants. That makes sense in a way, because the most recent people are actively looking for a dog right now. We decided to post each dog online, on our Facebook page and on Petfinder, and ask for applications for that dog. This is a new way of doing things and we will see what happens. Our first will be Luna, who has been with Melissa for several months. Because her primary breed is Siberian Husky, we think using Petfinder will be the most efficient way to get out the word. Although we haven’t used Petfinder for a dozen years, we kept the account active. If we haven’t seen good apps soon, we will also post her on other Facebook groups.


Tessa and Sophie have been enjoying the better weather, and since they have recently been more willing to come in the house when invited, we’re letting them out more. They do well when it’s just Kathy around them, and she has been able to work on grooming them recently.

Tessa (front) and Sophie

June 2022

Rescue continues to be busy. We have as many dogs in foster homes right now as we’ve ever had, but fortunately it looks like at least two will be moving to new homes soon.

Banjo, who has been with Melissa since March, is going to meet a family about the time you read this, and we hope it means he will find a forever home. He was recently neutered and is ready for a new life.

Luna is also with Melissa, and has apparently recovered completely from a badly broken leg that was injured before we got her. The doctors decided to let the scar tissue hold things in place, and now Luna is running around the yard, playing hard with other dogs, and seemingly in no pain at all.

Shadah, who is about 8 years old, will hopefully meet one of our old friends and move to northeastern Oregon. We’re still in the process of setting up the meeting, but we think it will be in the next two weeks.

Niko is a four year old male still with his owner in Kent. We had two families strongly interested in him, but neither worked out. Now we’re talking to a great family in western Oregon and hoping he will find a home with them.

Tessa and Sophie are finally coming inside at times other than bedtime, even if only occasionally, although they are frightened of nearly everything. We are continuing to search for a trainer who is able to take one into their home and work with her.

Bella’s thyroid cancer is growing slowly, but she is still happy and acts young. When she first arrived, she was every bit of her twelve years of age, but the heavy dose of thyroid medicine has brought her back. We don’t know how long she has, but we’re enjoying every minute of our time together.

We had news of two dogs in the Arlington area who were caught and taken to the humane society there, but it turned out the animal control officer caught them and returned them to their owner. That’s the best news possible.

For the first time since we combined forces with Melissa and because Northwest Samoyed Rescue, we think we have adequate foster space. There are a number of people we can call on now, and that means when the founders retire, our successors can continue rescue.

Over the last two months we have encountered more and more applicants who are slow answering or who say they already have a dog. We decided this month to drop many of the names that have been on our waiting list for years, and will begin posting dogs online and asking for applications. Naturally, we will still keep names of previous adopters and people we have known over the years, but we have to change with the times.

May 2022

Last month our new foster home had just taken Yeti, a young Samoyed surrendered because his family had a baby. Yeti has Ukrainian dogs in his pedigree, and came from a backyard breeder in Utah. We received continuous positive reports on him, and now Yeti has a new home in the Portland area. He will live with a Beagle in a great home with Samoyed experience, and we know his life will continue to be wonderful. We are indebted to Kris and Paul in Albany for fostering him at a time we truly needed some help.

Yeti (center) poses with his new friends in his foster home

The new kid on the block this month is Niko. Quite a few years ago, Ryann saw that Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue (SPDR) had no Samoyed representative, and asked if we would like her to volunteer so she could let us know about Samoyeds in need. Recently someone wrote that he has a Samoyed who didn’t get along with cats, and asked if SPDR could take him. Ryann went to visit Niko, and his owner is willing to keep him until we find the right home. We’re sorry to say he was recently shaved because he didn’t like being groomed, but he will be a great addition to a family without cats.

Niko, after he was shaved
Niko, before shaving

Bella is still with us, and doing very well. Her treatment for thyroid cancer is apparently working, and the thyroid meds have her acting like a puppy at times. We were told she is eleven, though we think she is slightly older, and is the age we love to foster. The senior dogs are something special.

Bella seems to enjoy grooming

Banjo is the nine-month-old boy we got from a Lake Stevens man a couple months ago, who is one of three dogs being fostered by Melissa. He was from the Mennonite puppy mill family in northern Idaho and is about nine months old. His hormones have begun kicking in, more than we have seen with other young dogs, so the decision was made to have him neutered. That will happen later this month, and then he will be available for adoption.


Luna is also with Melissa. She is the young pup whose leg was broken badly before we got her. Several vets have concurred that the break can’t be repaired, and the options were to either amputate a rear leg or let the scar tissue hold things in place. By the time Luna got to us, her leg was already stable. As one vet said, having three and a half legs is better than three, and since Luna is getting along fine this way, jumping up on the bed with ease, she will continue as she is. Luna is not a purebred Samoyed, but her personality and temperament are. She was just spayed and will be ready in a week or two.

Luna models her post-spay t-shirt

Shadah came to us earlier this year. She has a food allergy, and it has taken Melissa some time to get it controlled, and now we know the right kind of food to keep her healthy. Recently she was spayed because we wanted to lessen the chances of mammary cancer, and during the spay the vet called to say they found a tumor. It was removed, and was benign. Shadah is a wonderful eight year old and will be available to just the right home.


Sophie and Tessa are still with us, and continue to be a challenge. Once outdoors, they prefer to stay there. The only two times we know they will come in is just before breakfast and just before bedtime. Kathy lets them out for a run when they wake up, and after they have breakfast they only go out on leashes until evening. After our dinner they go out again for a few hours, and come back in at bedtime. There was something in their past that scared them so badly that only women can get close. They have been here well past four years, and will likely be here the rest of their lives.

The past month has been a challenge because I spent 10 days in the hospital. It’s nothing serious, but it meant others had to step up – and they did. Erin has been handling Niko, the new boy, and working with Ryann. Hans stepped up to help with other rescue duties. Part of the eventual transition to new rescue management has begun, and we are confident NWSR will be in good hands.

Leilani is obviously comfortable in her new home

April 2022

We have begun to make some small changes at Northwest Samoyed Rescue. At Melissa’s suggestion, we have been searching for some outside foster homes. For 20 years, almost all our dogs have been fostered by Melissa and Terry or Ron and Kathy. Right now Melissa and Terry have three fosters plus their own dogs (they had four!), and Ron and Kathy also have three fosters. Our newer board members, who will eventually run the show, don’t have space for foster dogs, so recently we posted on the Facebook group Northwest Samoyeds. We told them we needed experienced Samoyed homes with people who know the breed. Several families wrote to ask more, and we think this was a good move.

One of our new foster homes, in Albany, already has a foster boy. Yeti joined Kris and Paul March 26, and has fit well into their pack. Yeti’s family had a baby and they realized a young Samoyed wasn’t working out for them. They contacted rescue and we agreed to take him. He came from a one-time breeder in Utah, and his pedigree shows mostly Ukrainian dogs. He is going to be a great addition to someone’s family.

Yeti is waiting for his new home

For several months we worked with a woman in Salem. Her daughter was a tech at an area vet who was asked to take in two stray dogs. She called her mother, who offered to care for them. Eventually the owner was found, and they didn’t want the dogs back. Unfortunately, one of the dogs, a girl named Luna, had a broken leg. After many trips to vets in the area they decided the break was so bad they needed to amputate the leg. When she took Luna to the vet, she had a UTI, so they postponed it. Later, when she took Luna back, the vet said scar tissue was holding things in place and they recommended doing nothing. As they said, 50% use of one rear leg was better than losing that leg.

As time went on, the woman realized her health challenges made it too difficult to care for a dog who needed to be lifted frequently, so she called us to take Luna. Melissa said she could take her, and Luna moved there on March 21. Luna has since seen Melissa’s vet, who concurs the right treatment is to leave things alone. We don’t know the date of her leg injury, but Luna seems not to be in any pain. Melissa says she gets up on the bed easily every night. Luna is a Samoyed mix, not purebred, but seems to have the Sammy personality. She is around 9 months old.

Luna is doing well despite a broken leg

Our third young dog is Banjo. His owner’s daughter-in-law contacted us the first week of March. She said he had COPD and wasn’t able to walk a puppy, so Banjo had been loose in the house since he got there. Erin and Tom picked him up from a family member on March 10 and brought him here, and the following day Melissa came to get him. Banjo is obviously a social dog, happy and playful, and his house training came quickly as he spent time with the other dogs there. Banjo came from Whispering Pines, the Mennonite family in Idaho.

Banjo is a happy-go-lucky pup

In early February we heard from a woman in Alaska who hoped we could help her find a good home for an eight-year-old girl named Elune. She is on the small side, and we thought she might be just right for our friend Terry. After many phone calls, the woman brought Elune south to spent time with Terry so she could decide whether it was a good match. It was, and now Elune has a great forever home with Terry in Lynden.

Elune has a home!

Kona has been adopted after spending four months with Melissa. She is now Layla and lives with Anita and Howard in the Salem area. They are the ones who adopted Freya, the girl with entropion, years ago. They lost Freya earlier this year and it was the right time for Kona, who came from northern Idaho. We think she might be from Whispering Pines, but we don’t know because the people who left her at the shelter said only that they wanted a different dog. Layla is a shy girl, but a sweetheart.

Kona, now Layla, is on the right. She is joined by her new brother Timber.

Shadah, at this writing, is with Melissa and Terry. If you’re counting dogs, you can see Melissa will soon be nominated for sainthood. Shadah came from a man in Salem who didn’t want her anymore because she wet on his expensive rugs. We told him to get her to the vet first, and of course she had a UTI. She also had a food allergy which caused a problem with her coat, but after the vet visit he still didn’t want her. So Shadah came to the Hopper Bed and Bark-fest where she will be seen by a potential adopter about the time you read this. She is a wonderfully mellow girl who should be a great companion. Shadah is eight years old and deserves to have a caring home.

Shadah, mellowing out with Melissa.

Sophie and Tessa are still having issues coming indoors, so during the day they have to be walked. We generally let them out to run off-leash after dinner, because they always come back inside at bedtime. That’s when they get their bedtime kibble, and routine is their friend. We know after four years that both would benefit if we could split them up, but finding a home for a flight risk who is nearly feral, as both are, is close to impossible. There is only one like that, and Fena (the third girl from Iowa), is already there. If only we could clone Kathi!

Bella continues to surprise us. Since she was put on thyroid supplements her activity level is so much higher she sometimes acts like a puppy. We know her thyroid cancer will eventually take her, but she is such a happy-go-lucky girl we are having a great time fostering her. Her only real problem is a small bladder, which means she usually has to go out at night.

Bella, relaxing in the office.

During March we heard of two more Samoyeds in southern Oregon, but as we were working on getting them, someone in Rogue River took them. Of course we would like to have had the chance to place them, but it was honestly two more dogs we don’t have room for. Are all these dogs part of the pandemic problem? Have they come from people who got dogs because they would be home, not understanding the work a Samoyed takes? Probably yes, but we don’t know for sure.

Because we have so many dogs, we have been working through our list of applications and trying to schedule home visits. It takes special homes for young dogs, so we’re being picky. As you might imagine, people who have been on a waiting list for months or years have often found dogs elsewhere. Each one takes time to contact and schedule a visit if they say they are ready. So far about two out of three no longer want a dog, so we don’t know how long this will take. Are you willing to take a foster dog? Rescue could use some more help.

Fifteen years ago we took in a mix named Katie. She seemed to be gaining weight, so we consulted Bobbie, a breeder who lives close by. Her opinion was that we were less than a week away from a litter, and she loaned us all her whelping supplies. She was right. Katie had four puppies, of which three survived, and the last two were by c-section. Those were such mixed breed puppies we usually said they were half Katie and half traveling salesman. Two were placed in a great home in Portland, and Sue adopted the other. The Portland pups grew up and lived a good life with a growing family until they passed a couple years ago. The third, Sadie, was adopted by Sue. We got this photo from her recently on Sadie’s 15th birthday. Sadie has always been one of our favorites. She is shy, but has always been tail-wagging happy to see us. Happy Birthday, Sadie.

Sadie at 15.

March 2022

Brand new in rescue is Banjo, a 7-month-old male. He was purchased by a man in the Everett area who was unable to cope with the energy level of a Samoyed puppy. His family contacted us and asked for help, and on March 11th, Erin and Tom met one of the family and brought Banjo to us. He spent the night and moved on to Melissa on the 12th. She will foster him for the time it will take to find a home, which shouldn’t be long. Banjo came from Whispering Pines Mastiffs in Idaho, the family that has been responsible for many of the Samoyeds in rescue or on Craigslist. They don’t do health testing, they sell to anyone with the money, and the pedigrees would be laughable if they weren’t so sad. The man who had him has significant health issues and Banjo is completely untrained, hasn’t been outdoors often, and is not housetrained. Fortunately, he is unusually mellow for his age and gets along with other dogs. We are going through our list of applicants and expect he will be in a new home soon.


About the time Banjo left here, we received an email from a breeder in Oregon alerting us to a Craigslist post about a 6-month-old male in the Medford. He was listed as “free to a good home,” so she contacted the woman who has him and suggested she email us, which she did a few minutes afterward. We emailed her contact information and the link to nineteen of our applicants, all of whom marked “purebred or mix” on their app. There is a difference of opinion within rescue as the whether he is a gangly adolescent or a mix, so we are calling him a mix for now. Recently we referred a family to a Samoyed in Port Angeles; they wondered if the dog they adopted was purebred, so they did a DNA test and found he is a purebred – a purebred Siberian Husky.

Medford mix

Kona and Shadah are also with Melissa, and both are doing better. Kona came from a shelter in Idaho, and although we don’t have the back story, we believe she might also have come from Whispering Pines. Shadah is an older girl Melissa says is no trouble at all. Now that Shadah is on a special diet, her skin problems are clearing up. All of us appreciate the easygoing senior dogs.

Luna is a puppy in the Salem area. We were asked to help because she had a broken leg and a ruptured ACL. The woman who wrote us got her from a bad situation, and her leg was already broken. Initially her vet recommended amputation because of the severity. She is in love with Luna, but her own health challenges make it difficult to care for her. We were willing to take Luna, or even help out financially. As of now, Luna is with the woman’s daughter and doing better. The vet suggests leaving the leg and allowing scar tissue to hold things together. No matter how much we would like to consult our own vets, Luna isn’t in rescue and all we can do is try to support her.


Bella’s cancer has slowed, now that she is on thyroid meds, but her breathing is getting raspy and we know it’s a matter of time. When she leaves us she will leave a giant hole in our hearts. Meanwhile the meds have increased her energy and she is running easily around the yard. When Banjo was here she played like a puppy. She seems to be enjoying life.


Sophie and Tessa will be fearful as long as they live together, because they feed off each other’s fear. They are going through a lengthy spell now where they won’t come in the house except at bedtime. It means Kathy has to walk them several times a day, which is something they really don’t like. If we could split them up we know they would be better, but they are a tremendous flight risk and nobody has stepped forward offering to take one. We would require a home with an absolutely secure fence with no way a dog could escape out a door to an unfenced area. If either of them got loose, we would never see them again. We are appealing to everyone to consider whether they would be able to help.

Tessa and Sophie

Terry, one of our previous adopters, is planning to go to Alaska to meet a Samoyed named Elune we told her about. As of now, the trip is scheduled for early next month.


As you can tell, this has been a busy month. It points out the dilemma we are in now. Our four principals in Northwest Samoyed Rescue are getting old, and we need relief. The two couples we added to our board a few years ago are unable to take over the day-to-day running of the rescue, which requires immediate action when necessary. We don’t have enough foster homes; at this time we have six foster dogs split equally between our two homes. When we are gone, the rescue may go with us, and it would mean no Samoyed Rescue in the Pacific Northwest. That would especially impact the senior dogs we foster as hospice dogs, who have no other options.

February 2022

This marks the four-year anniversary of Tessa and Sophie being here. They were nearly feral when they arrived, and began living in our garage with Sophie’s sister Fena. The three girls eventually moved into the house, and got used to having us around, though they were still fearful. Fena improved the most, and we were able to find her a terrific home. We believe Sophie and Tessa would each do much better if separated, because they feed on each other’s fear. Two months ago, they stopped coming back into the house from the yard, so a few days ago we cross-fenced it and gave them a much smaller area, with an entrance only in our laundry room. While they are still slow to return, it’s a small enough yard we can go out and herd them toward the door.


We are actively searching for a qualified trainer who can take a dog into their home and work with her. We would like to place either Tessa or Sophie into that kind of training, and switch dogs after a period of time. We think we would be able to work with a single fearful dog much more successfully. Otherwise, these dogs will live out their lives here in fear. It’s certainly not what we expected four years ago when we agreed to take puppy mill dogs.


Back in November, we placed Laddie in a home as a trial adoption. They have a cat, and Laddie has a strong prey drive. We didn’t think it would work well, but they wanted to try. They tried many ways to train him not to chase, but none were successful. They eventuallly called in a trainer, who said he could work with Laddie to get him to accept the cat, but it would cost $3,000. They told us we should take him back, and as we began lining up alternatives the husband decided Laddie had to go immediately. On short notice, Darlene said she would pick up Laddie and take him to Ellensburg to meet his new adopters, who said they would take him home. We think this will be a much better place for him. They have a pre-planned trip next week, so Laddie will come to live with us for several days. If they decide he is the right dog for them they will pick him up at the end of their trip, and if not we’ll find a different home, but we’re not worried about it. They are previous adopters who gave their boy a wonderful home. After they got Laddie they stopped at the pass to play in the snow, and the pic they sent looks like everybody is happy. As you can see from this photo, the people who had him took him to a groomer who gave him a lion cut. We were unhappy, but it was done before we knew so we couldn’t do anything about it. Our foster agreement will be adjusted accordingly.

Laddie, looking embarrased in his lion cut

We were contacted about a seven year old girl named Elune, who is with a breeder in Alaska. She was purchased five years ago as a retired show dog who had some aggression issues, partly because she was attacked as a puppy. This breeder says Elune has recovered completely and is a wonderful dog now, although she can’t be trusted around cats (a familiar story). We contacted Terry, who is waiting for an older female, and she is planning to fly to Alaska to visit this girl for a few days in March. If this works out, it’s going to be perfect for both Elune and Terry.


The people who have Laddie now were looking at Kona, one of the girls Melissa has been fostering. They originally wanted a male, but agreed to look at Kona when no males were available. We talked to Melissa when Laddie became available and we decided to tell them about him. We think it was a good move, even though it means a little longer that Kona will be where she is. Melissa says that is fine since Kona is doing so well with her.


Shadah has a skin problem that was diagnosed as a food allergy, so Melissa found an alternative kibble that Shadah is on now. It looks like her skin is improving. She fits in well with Melissa’s pack.


Bella is on a strong dose of thyroid meds to keep her thyroid cancer from growing. We thought at first it might be reducing in size, but it is still growing, so we have transferred her care back from the oncologist to our regular vet. Bella is one of the sweetest old girls we have fostered, and that’s saying something. Fortunately, this kind of tumor doesn’t seem to cause pain, so we plan to keep her comfortable and happy as long as possible.

Bella, snoozing on the big pillow

January 2022

On the verge of their fourth anniversary with us, Tessa and Sophie have regressed. Over the years they have occasionally had spells when they were more afraid, or spooked by something, but for two months we haven’t been able to get them inside except first thing in the morning (for breakfast) and bedtime (for a small meal). They don’t even come inside for their regular dinner in the late afternoon. It means Kathy has to walk them multiple times each day, although they won’t take advantage of it, and they go out in the yard off-leash only after we have dinner. At least that gives them time to run, do their business, and get time to themselves. We are looking into a trainer, since what we’re doing doesn’t work well.

Tessa and Sophie

Shadah is with Melissa and Terry, and just had a good check-up with her vet. She has some sort of skin problem, which we were concerned might be sebaceous adenitis. Although it can’t be ruled out completely, the vet is fairly confident it is because of food allergies. Melissa is trying some alternatives to the usual meat products, like duck and moose, and we’ll have to see what happens. Shadah is a good girl, really smart, and not a problem to foster.


Kona is also still with Melissa and Terry. She doesn’t like commotion, and doesn’t do well when unexpected things happen. This is common among puppy mill dogs, which she was, and we’re going to need a quiet home where she can be comfortable.

After Bella was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we began giving her a large dose of thyroid meds on the advice of her oncologist. She recently went back for a check and it looks like the tumor has shrunk slightly. We don’t know if that means the cancer treatment is working or if it’s really something as simple as a goiter. In either event, we have transferred her care back to our regular vet after getting some less-than-great treatment at the oncologist’s office.

Bella, relaxing in the snow

Laddie is still on a “trial adoption” in northern Idaho. They are dealing with his prey drive because they have a cat, and we still don’t know if this will be a permanent new home. They really want him, and are now trying a trainer.

Our progress toward turning rescue over to others is not very fast, but we’re still trying.

December 2021

The last report of 2021 begins with a new dog in rescue. Her name is Shadah, and she came from a home in Eugene that didn’t want her anymore. She is eight years old and began peeing on the carpet, so the owner called us. We convinced him to take her to a vet first, where she was diagnosed with a UTI (big surprise) as well as a skin problem. After treatment he called and still wanted us to take her, so Shadah has moved in with Melissa. No matter how much we know her life will eventually be better, Shadah doesn’t understand that yet. Melissa said Shadah went out in the yard, over to where the car was that brought her, and sat and howled. When she went back inside, she sat by the window waiting. Things like that are difficult to watch. At eight years old, we’re undecided about getting her spayed. Melissa will talk that over with her vet and we’ll do what is best for Shadah.


Bella has been here since September, and we took her for a check-up to our vet. While she was there, the vet found a lump on her throat that he thought might be a goiter. We took her back for an ultrasound a few weeks ago, and it’s some kind of mass on her thyroid. Since first being diagnosed, the mass has grown noticeably and feels like half a baseball. Bella is going to see an oncologist next week and we’re crossing our fingers it will be good news, but we very much expect bad news. It’s growing too fast for something benign. If so, this will be a harder loss than most because Bella has become a real part of our family in a short time. She is friendly and loves attention, and it only takes a glance her way for her tail to wag. She is at least eleven years old, so the decision what to do will be a matter of balancing age, prognosis, and cost.


Tessa and Sophie have been going through a phase where they don’t want to come indoors. For days at a time they come in when called, and then they decide they are afraid of the door. Kathy has been walking them two or three times a day recently, and we only let them out off-leash after dinner because they always come inside at bedtime. It’s the kind of problem we have been fighting since they got here almost four years ago. When inside, they have been making little bits of progress. Both of them will take kibble from my hand sometimes, although Tessa hangs back. Sophie is more than happy to be next to me if food is imminent, but I still can’t touch her except when she is in her crate at bedtime or in the shower stall where they both hide. Kathy has much better luck getting close. It’s nearly a certainty that they will spend the rest of their lives with us. As you can see, Tessa’s new hobby is excavating holes in the yard.

Laddie has been placed on a “test drive” with a family in northern Idaho. Although he gets along with all the people very well, his prey drive is making things difficult with their cat. We’re waiting for a decision. Meanwhile, Kona has settled in with Melissa and Terry and we’ll see what happens.

Progress continues toward turning over rescue to Erin, Tom, Hans, and Holley. They get copies of emails I write about rescue, and Holley has been responding to online ads about dogs; she has checked most services for at least 15 years, sending listings to the Samfans rescue secretary to distribute to all the Samoyed Rescue groups. Tom and Erin have joined SCA so we can continue to be listed on the SCA and AKC website after Kathy, Melissa, and I are gone. It’s surprising how many details there are. I’m more than confident our dogs will continue to be cared for well into the future.

You might remember Freya, the dog who came from a backyard breeder’s daughter. Freya is the one who had entropion, a condition where the eyelashes grow inward, rubbing on the eyes. When Melissa saw her she called and we decided on the spot to break one of our firmest rules; we offered money for a dog, something never done before or after. She had surgery for the entropion and became a happy dog. Because of her first years she has always been timid, but the home we found was perfect. Anita, her mom, has been nursing her through a diagnosis of liver cancer, and it looked like surgery had caught it. Unfortunately, the cancer has returned, with new nodules that are inoperable. Anita and Freya have been some of our favorites over recent years, and we hope you’ll join us in sending all our best wishes and positive thoughts that Freya stays happy and comfortable as long as possible.