Clank. Clank. Clank.
A brass door-knocker, far too large and too heavy for weathered wood, shook the front of my tiny townhouse. A young Samoyed scampered through the front door followed by a robust man from the rescue league. This judge of lifestyle and character dropped the leash and plopped into the cream leather chair-and-a-half dominating the living room. The wee guest of honor immediately took off for the postage-stamp kitchen. My partner raced after him. I stared agape at this little so-not-what-I-was-expecting are-you-sure-he's-a-Samoyed marvel.
I know Sams. My mother is a bit of a Samoyed fanatic. Both sets of grandparents had had them, my sister had one, and I had had one as a teen. Sams are built for snow and cold. Thick, plush, double coats of glimmering white keep the Samoyed dogs warm in the frozen tundra. The Samoyed nomads who bred them used them as herding dogs and breathing blankets.
This fella had lost more than his mittens, he'd lost the whole damn coat.
Sams are skosh vain with the temperament akin to a teenager. They are by no means stupid. You only need to show them a trick twice, after that, it's, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Next?" They will gleefully romp through a bog, but they will sulk if not cleaned forthwith. They are proud of their dense coats, luxurious ruffs, and long fluffy tails. ~insert hair flip here~ Clearly, these coats keep the dog warm in winter, but blowing the undercoat creates an air pocket that allows them to keep cool in the heat. Any responsible Sam owner knows never, ever, shave a Sam.
Did I mention he was bald?
The lug from the league shrank exponentially in my esteem, until he rushed to explain this young dog had been so matted and his skin so raw from insect bites when they retrieved him that they had had no choice but to bring out the clippers. On the one hand, I was furious that someone would allow a dog, much less a Sam, to get to such a state.
On the other hand, he was awfully cute nekkid.
Typically, a rescue league rep pays a visit to your home with the potential adoptee, does an interview, takes a tour, and goes home with the wee-beastie to pass judgment on your worthiness as a pet owner. A very necessary part of the process that takes one to two weeks before you know if you've passed muster.
The man from the rescue league left.
My partner and I were insta-parents.
I didn't have a leash. Bowls. Bed. Food. It was late in the evening. The stores were all closed. Five seconds into being a parent and I had already FAILED!
My grand plan for "bringing home baby" had not involved immediate approval. After the initial inspection/introduction, the plan called for two weeks of nail biting followed by phoned-in approval. Then we'd schedule the pick-up. Then we'd acquire beastie necessities. Then, and only then, would we acquire said beastie.
Plans. I love them.
Plans, the first casualty.
Thank god my sister has a creepy sense of ESP. A bowl, a leash, and huge ziploc of dog food magically appeared from her car...along with her Samoyed. All hail the welcoming committee. My new child developed an immediate crush on my sister's Sam. His affections for us? Meh, not so much.
The next six months were spent gaining trust from a dog who had been horribly abused. The next ten years were rife with love, shedding, and devotion.
Two weeks ago, a mystery illness beset my now abundantly hairy beastie. It has been a rapid decline, leaving everyone who strove to aid him baffled.
Today, August 16, 2010, I made the heart-wrenching choice to end his suffering.
May he find joy in the next-life.