S a m a n t i c shttp://www.potomacvalleysams.com/Samantics.html

I kept looking at the Mid-Atlantic Samoyed Rescue website but at the time they only seemed to have old dogs, or pairs.  Since I already had two elderly dogs, I  wanted a dog that would survive my other two.  I also figured that taking on two at one time might be too much of an adjustment for my other dogs and me.

One day I was watching the news and saw the story of the rescue of a number of Sammies, Sammie mixes and Finnish Lapphunds from a hoarder in New Jersey.  Mid-Atlantic had taken on the responsibility for fostering and finding homes for some of the dogs.  I saw a photo of Wizzard and could tell he was a sweet dog.  I was advised that he was a Finnish Lapphund/Sammie mix.  I decided to postpone my search for a purebred Sammie, and contacted Mid-Atlantic Samoyed Rescue.  Danielle Buchheister, who runs the organization, thought Wizzard and I would be a good fit.  I went to his foster home to meet him.  

I have never seen a dog more terrified of everything.

Foolish me, I figured that my work with previous rescues, which basically involved a few months of stability, love, friendly dogs, routine, and good food, would be all that was needed to bring him around.  Boy was I wrong!  Wizzard had been so terribly abused.  My vet could not believe he was only 4 years old from his physical condition. He thought he seemed closer to ten years old.  

I learned that he had been kept in a cage his entire life.  He had never been walked on grass, fed decent food, been played with or been brushed.  His coat was so matted when rescued that he could not defecate except into the mat of fur on his rear end.  His nose was cracked and callused from scraping it on the wire of his cage.  Many of his teeth were broken from chewing on his cage and they were filthy from poor hygiene.  He was undernourished and his bones were so light I thought he had osteoporosis.  He obviously had suffered the worst abuse from males, because he would fear pee and try to hide whenever a man came into the house or near him.  He was only slightly less fearful of women.  He also had the worst nightmares.  He would cry and moan in his sleep and I would have to soothe him with petting and sweet words to keep him from panicking when he woke.    

He was the sweetest dog.  

I don't think he would ever bite, even in self-defense.  He overcame, and we accommodated, most of his fears.  We learned together what would make him happy and less stressed.  First thing I learned was that he would panic when put in a crate.  I think he hated it because it reminded him of his years of cruel confinement.  He loved a big, soft dog bed in the family room and so that became his spot.  My other dogs trained him to use the dog door and do his business outside.  He learned to go on walks with the other dogs to the park and came to love these outings.  But  he would hide behind me whenever a man approached.  That never changed  The only man that he would accept was my carpenter, and that took years to achieve.  

Sometimes he would lie on his pillow when other people were in the room, but most of the time I gave him a place to escape to in the bedroom.  If he was feeling insecure, he would go to his bed.  It took him 6 months before he came over on his own to me to be petted, even longer to come when called to have his leash put on, and a couple of years until most of the fear-induced urination disappeared.  I had learned to keep paper towels and cleaner ready at all times just in case.  His veterinarian and groomer understood and accommodated his issues.    

He came to accept inevitable visits to the vet and groomer but I always made sure that one of the other dogs accompanied him for comfort.  Needless to say, I took up my rugs in the family room, my biggest concession.  He never learned how to play with toys, but he loved his big knuckle bones, "greenies," treats, dinner time, his dog mates and me.  

As you can see from his picture, he came a long way and became a happy, beautiful, content dog.  His nightmares lessened over time but never went away totally.  I learned that dogs suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, too.  

When he died a few months ago of old age, I asked myself if I would do it again. You bet.  Wizzard made me a better, more patient person, which is certainly an advantage when you have Sammie puppies.  I have now raised two purebred Sammies: Harry and Irish.  They are happy, healthy, social, and playful.  Wizzard helped raise them both and is missed by all of us. 




by Jan Lynch

© 2011

My first Samoyed wasn't 100% Samoyed.  Because of my friends, Chris and Mike, and their wonderful Samoyeds, I had decided I wanted one as a replacement for one of my Husky/Shepherd rescues that had died at the age of 15. Because I worked, I figured a young adult Samoyed would probably be the best choice and I was certainly willing to take in a rescue.

Mid-Atlantic Samoyed Rescue
[ click ]http://www.samrescue.com/

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© 2011 Potomac Valley Samoyed Club, Inc.

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