Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snappin Sam

About 10 years ago when City Girl was 6, we discovered her lost hamster flattened under a pile of toys.  After a few tears, City Girl decided it was time for a dog. 

At that time, Shanna Banana lived down the street.  On our nightly walks, sometimes we'd stop by Shanna's house and walk with her and Chester, a Sckipperkee she had gotten from Schipperke Rescue.  Chester was so cool.  He listened to Shanna, was friendly, and of course very cute.  He even stopped at every intersection to wait for her. 

City Girl and I did some research on Schipperkes.  Headstrong?  No problem, look at Chester.  Some like to run away?  No problem, look at Chester, he always stays by Shanna's side.  They shed once a year?  Perfect.

RetroMan didn't want a dog right then, and certainly not such a sissy one.  His last dog was a 160 pound Mastiff named Blockhead.

But City Girl wrote out 101 reasons why we should get a dog.

And RetroMan caved.

When they say that life has twists and turns, it's situations like this they are talking about.  One decision can change your life forever and put you on a course you never expected.

We contacted the Schipperke Rescue lady, and she had the perfect dog for us!  His name was Sammie and he'd come in a few days ago.  He'd been with a family of children and he was very friendly.  Why did they give him up?  Because they just had a baby, and it was too much to take care of the dog.  

Awwwwwww, we thought, we're the perfect home for him.

The Rescue lady said she'd be by our town in about a week.  She was taking all of her dogs in her Winnebago and going to a Skipnic - a Schipperke picnic where Schipperke owners get together with their dogs.   But if we wanted, we could meet her at an exit on the Interstate and do the trade.  

The next day City Girl and RetroMan met the Schipperke Rescue lady at the Flyin' J off an exit on I-75 and got Sammie.   

As I pulled into the driveway that night, RetroMan came out of the house with the dog hanging out of his hands and said "Call the vet and have them stay open."  The dog had bitten City Girl and there was bloody diarrhea all over the house.

Thus started Sammie's life with us.

As it turned out, we were his 4th family in his 5 short years.  It appeared that the family with children had abused him, because any time children went to pet him, he shied away or nipped at them.  He also had severe food allergies.  He shed like nobody's business, and he ran away at every opportunity.

Fast forward to today, 10 years later.  He's adjusted to us - or rather we've adjusted to him.  He's been to obedience school, and listens to us when he feels like it most of the time.  He doesn't want to run away any more.  

We found one brand of dog food he can eat, but we can't give him anything else - not even bones or treats.  Unfortunately every winter he eats the acorns that fall on the ground and has diarrhea, so we have to wash him a lot.

He is an excellent watch dog.  He looks up and down the street through our wrought iron fence to see if anyone is daring to pass by 'his home'.  If the weather is nice and lot's of people are out, he'll bark like a madman until we sometimes have to muzzle him for an hour.   His vigilance has saved us from at least two attempted break-ins here in downtown that we know of.

We call him Snappy now, even though he hasn't bitten anyone in about 9 years. 

While he's at least 15, you'd never know it - except for a few gray hairs on his chin, he looks and acts just like a puppy.

He hates baths.

And when he's wet, you can see that underneath all that hair he's really not much bigger than some chihuahuas.

He loves riding in the car, even though the car doesn't like him, and his favorite place is Tree Ring.

Some days it's really a challenge to own Snappin Sam, but most times we are glad we have him, because we know nobody else would take care of him like we do.


  1. Is there anything more pitiful than a reluctant dog bath participant? Jack Sparrow, schnauzer kid at our house is the most pitiful of the pitiful when the word is mentioned...

  2. Hi~just out blog hopping....found my way here. I enjoyed reading through your blog....come say hi!

  3. What a wonderful family you are to give him a home, even when it didn't work out quite right at first.