by Carolyn Byerly

© 2013

S a m a n t i c s

My first samoyed was named Babe, a large-sized female who had been abandoned by her family who moved away.  It was on a little harbor called "Boston Harbor," at the tip of Budd Inlet of Puget Sound just outside Olympia, Washington, in the late 1970s.  

Babe wandered around our neighborhood for about a year, living off the dead fish that washed ashore and getting handouts from the neighbors.  She especially liked my household and started hanging out there regularly.  My partner at the time and I were building a greenhouse and Babe started walking around and barking at us while we worked. 

We started calling her: "The Supervisor."

One spring day, I got tired of looking at her bedraggled, smelly coat and loaded her up and took her to a groomer.  When I picked her up, she had been transformed into a glistening white show-quality dog.  She was the talk of the little community!  I assumed her caretaking from then, feeding her regularly, letting her sleep inside, and going on walks with her. She was affectionate and loyal for the two years that followed.

Then, on a typical rainy Washington state day, I got a call at work that Babe had been taken to a vet's by a neighbor after a utility truck backed over her.  She had crawled under the truck during the rain storm.  The vet said her back was broken and she was in pain.

What I remember about her just before I had her put down was her sweetness.  She flashed me her sammy smile and licked my hand in a gesture of goodbye.  It was a heartwarming, heartwrenching moment that remains vivid even now.  

Sammies have been part of my life for all the years since.