#39 Dog-iversary

by ana on September 28, 2010

Besides it being my sister’s birthday and my parents’ anniversary, it’s also when I took in Sam as a foster dog two years ago.

Sam Brown Couch

I wish I had a before picture for comparison purposes. He was in bad shape — heartworms, half bald because stress made his hair fall out, super itchy from allergies, infected ears, wobbly hind legs from being kicked in the back by a charming individual who was part of his old owner’s family. Add all of that to the depression over his owner’s death from cancer and Sam was a hot mess.

His old owner’s neighbor Gail kept him from being dropped at Town Lake Animal Center, where he faced almost certain euthanasia because of his advanced age (11 in people years) and condition. She covered his vet bills and found another neighbor willing to keep Sam at his house until she found a foster home. That’s where Owen and I came in.

Austin Pets Alive posted a referral ad for Sam, asking for a quiet home where he could recover from heartworm treatment, preferably with a small dog to keep him company. I’d been looking for a foster dog to keep Owen from thinking he was going to be an only dog forever and thought Sam would fit in perfectly. Owen had no idea what was coming.

Gail drove Sam over, along with his bed and some food, in case he and Owen got along and his temporary placement looked like it would work out. I brought Owen out on a leash and Gail opened her back window so they could get a whiff of each other. Sam perked up immediately and tried to climb out for a better look while Owen went nuts with joy at another dog coming for a visit (or so he thought). They played in the front yard for a little while before we brought them in. The only sticky situation came when Sam decided it would be a good idea to pick up Owen’s stuffed dog Buddy and play with him, too. Sam soon learned that only humans can touch Buddy. Otherwise, he’s all Owen’s.

Sam took a stroll around the back yard and poked his nose into every room in the house before circling back to the living room where Gail and I were talking. As he plopped down on Owen’s dog bed, I caught a glimpse of an expression that said “I like it — I’ll take it.”

Sam Guest Bed

He quickly got comfortable, but remained on his best behavior at all times. It was like he knew he had to earn the right to stay. I would never have turned him out, but I figured once he was healthy, someone might want to adopt a calm, friendly senior dog. Sam clearly had other ideas — and absolutely no intention of giving up his new home.

He found a champion in my friend Michael, who wouldn’t hear of me allowing Sam to go live with someone else. “He already has a home,” Michael insisted anytime I brought up Sam’s adoption prospects, which admittedly were not huge. I honestly thought I was giving Sam a nice place to live out his last few months. But he surprised everyone.

Sam cemented his position as my official dog when he scared away a mentally ill man who tried to get in the house as well as a home-invasion suspect who tried to worm his way inside. He’s old and not that big for a Lab mix, but he possesses a disproportionately loud bark and he’s not afraid to look mean in a threatening situation. Normally, though, he’s very sweet and happy and loves to nap. He’s the best.

Sam Old House

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