May 2023 Rescue Report

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 Rescue Report

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.

February 2023 Rescue Report

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.

January 2023 Rescue Report

Last month, we said Rosie had an adoption pending. She is now living happily in Lake Stevens with a great family. She has two kids, 13 and 11, for her very own. We are grateful to Jenna for fostering Rosie while we found exactly the right home for her.


Niko didn’t work out for his first placement, because he and their other male were incompatible. They tried hard but it wasn’t going to happen, so we made it a high priority to find a new home. That came in the form of a previous adopter we know well, and now Niko lives on the Oregon coast with a very experienced Sammy owner.

Cooper has been with Melissa for quite a while. He was originally one of the Spokane hoarder’s dogs, named Ghost. We don’t believe the ages we got on him and Harmony, and we think he was a bit older than the 7 months they told us last Summer. His hormones kicked in, so he was neutered before finding his new home. That came last month when he went to a home in Tacoma with two kids, 3 and 5, plus an Eskie brother who will definitely be alpha. Because his name is so similar to the Eskie, he will probably be renamed to Mocha.


Bella’s breathing is getting noisier and her appetite is decreasing. Our vet cut back her Thyroid to help with her weight, and we are feeding her pretty much whatever she wants. She is still one of the most loving senior dogs we have hosted, and that’s a large number.

Sweet Bella

Harmony, when she is quiet, is a lovely dog to have around. When she barks without pausing, she isn’t quite as much fun. We’ve been trying to work on her vocalization, which seems to come (a) whenever we talk to each other, and (b) when we have a meal at the table. We tried a sedative and it only helps a little bit. Bark collars, from beepers to spray to electric, have no effect. We’ll keep working on the problem.

Tessa and Sophie continue to make very small improvements. Sophie is now willing to take food directly from me, while Tessa still hangs back. Kathy has to walk them in the yard a couple times a day because they won’t come inside on their own unless it’s first thing in the morning (after their first outing) or at bedtime. Next month will mark five years since they arrived.

Our Pack

December 2022 Rescue Report

Our transition to the new board continues. New ways of doing things have to be found, and it’s not easy, considering how many dogs we worked with in the past few months. For some reason we’re taking in more dogs than most other groups in the country. Recently I talked to a rescuer in the Midwest who told me they only had one dog this year. We don’t know why we are so “lucky.”

Harmony is a great dog, somewhat smaller than most Sammies we see, which makes us think she came originally from the east coast. We were given two ages when we got her, ten years seven months, and twelve years old. The shelter put 12 on the paperwork, so that’s what we went with. She has cloudiness in both eyes, but her teeth look quite young. We are fostering her with us because we have always taken seniors, but we seriously question whether she is an old dog. Time will tell.

Bella, on the other hand, is definitely twelve years old, and she looks every day of it. She is the kind of dog that makes us wish we had her for her entire life. She is mellow, loving, and easy to have in our house. She is also a hospice dog who has precious little time left. Her thyroid tumor grows noticeably each month and she has begun to breathe noisily and eat slowly. A combination of the tumor and high dose of thyroid meds has made her lose weight. Kathy gets up and takes Bella outside once or twice every night now because she is so thirsty. Her appetite is sometimes small, and we now add canned dog food on her kibble to persuade her to eat. She is down to 39 pounds and you can feel each rib. We will continue giving her everything she will take, and try to make her final months happy.

Cooper is with Melissa, and was neutered a few days ago. She reports that he is doing well, but feeling sorry for himself and might be a little unhappy with her. He is ready now for his furever home. Cooper is one of the two dogs who came from the SpokAnimal shelter in Spokane, along with Harmony. They were both taken from a hoarder, so we will never have exact information on either dog.

Last June we placed Niko, a dog from Kent, with a family in Albany, Oregon. They are one of the best homes, and greatest adopters, we have had. They adopted Pono a year ago, and since another of their dogs passed in the time since, we asked if they could take Niko. They had a bit of a problem with the two males, but with training it looked like they would be okay. Recently they contacted us to say it’s no longer going to work. The two boys have decided to hate each other, and want to fight almost on sight. We know how that goes, having had Charlie and Shadow here together for nearly ten years. Even with constant fences and gates and a lot of care, they got together a few times with some awful results. So now we are looking for a home for Niko again. He is fine with other dogs, including those at doggie day care, and it is only Pono he can’t live with. We made this our highest priority, and we hope to do a home visit in a few days on a home that sounds great. Please cross your fingers.

Rosie has been in a foster home with Jenna and her family for several months. We found a great home for her, and she is due to move in the next few days. We are incredibly grateful to Jenna for stepping up when she did, probably saving Rosie from going to a shelter. It takes a lot of love to take a dog, knowing she will leave soon. Jenna, thank you!

Earlier this year we were asked to find a home for Gogi, and as we were trying to find one, we learned she had been taken by the owner’s brother. Recently he said he couldn’t keep her because she barked while he was gone. We were again asked to find her a home, and we published her on our Facebook rescue page. There were dozens of shares and many comments and reactions, and we had a good application come in. As we were getting ready to check on the home, the owner wrote to tell us a friend’s parents took her. Oh, well. It’s part of the job to spend a great deal of time working on finding a home for a dog, only to find out they made other arrangements.

Ordinarily we would have taken Gogi into a foster home, then looked for a home. We couldn’t do that because we don’t have any foster space. We have six dogs here; two are ours and four are fosters. Six dogs is too many, and for health reasons Kathy and I have had to say we will not foster any more. It’s critical to have a place to put new dogs, and we simply don’t. Earlier this year we had several offers; two fostered dogs for a while, one adopted a dog and doesn’t have room now, and one couldn’t foster when we asked. If you can foster a dog, or you know someone who can, we need to hear from you.

Thank you very much to SCWS, who this month sent us a sizeable donation, a large share of the proceeds from a recent agility trial. We are privileged to say that, despite being a separate entity, we will always be a part of the Samoyed Club of Washington State.