Paul and I adopted Sam-the-Dog from the wonderful Human Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) in Decorah, on Saturday, December 2, 2017. He was named Sam at the Shelter, being a “found” dog no one claimed. So, we don’t know a lot about Sam’s past, other than he wasn’t neutered as a puppy. We’re guessing he had a spartan environment, as he had to warm up to soft things, for example, dog beds, the designated dog couch (we keep it covered), and carpet.
Sam (AKA Sam-o, Sammy, Little Bear, and Love Muffin) is estimated to be 18 months old. He looks like a mix of German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and some smaller breed (maybe Husky?), as he’s “just” 54 lbs. and is medium height. He has a thick, fluffy coat which will likely “blow” once or twice a year: that’s when he’ll do a massive shed for a week or two. Oh, boy.
Since a pet of ours is a pet of the Edison-Albrights and vice versa, everyone was involved in the decision. Paul and I met Sam, then Sean and Annie, then Hank-the-Dog had a meet, then all of us, including the kids. Dr. Auntie Audrey, the family friend and vet who brought Hank into our lives, studied the videos and liked what she saw. She generously has been our vet-on-call these past days as we learn how to live with each other. Me: Sam only pooped once today. [Auds: Most dogs do.] Me: Sam didn’t poop at all today. [Auds: That’s OK.] Me: Last night Sam peed on the bedroom carpet! [Auds: Sam hasn’t earned the right to roam at night.] Audrey was pleased to hear it only took my “No! Go!” disapproval after the pee incident for Sam to put himself in a time-out in the back entryway, which we block off with a baby gate. The next morning he was his usual wiggle-waggle “want to please you” self.
In Sam’s promotional description, the Shelter wrote, “Just when you think Sam is close, he finds a way to get closer.” Sam is a polite dog. He doesn’t bark, not even at the doorbell. “Mouthing,” the behavior we’re working on, is common to Shepherds. When Sam wants more petting, for example, he’ll gently put his mouth over your hand to nudge you into action. Already, the amount of mouthing is reduced, replaced by the preferred “nosing.” And, when there’s work to be done, with some intentional ignoring, Sam’s learning to give up the nose pokes, and relax in a comfy dog bed.
There are more challenges ahead. The top two are getting Hank and Sam acquainted on home turfs, and getting Sam used to being home alone. We’re scheduled for basic obedience classes at the Good Dog Center. And, no doubt we’ll be having more conversations with Dr. Auntie Audrey.
Find pictures and videos here.