Samantha was a pound puppy, part beagle, part poodle.
This is her story:
I went to the local animal shelter one day, just on a whim. We had recently lost one of our brood of Cardigan Corgis and the last, Penny, was looking rather lonely. She had grown up in a house full of dogs and children and lately it was too darn quiet. My daughter was insistant that it was just plain unnatural to have only one dog in the house so here I was... just looking. She was there in a cage, looking rather neglected. Not because she was, in fact she was receiving the best of care, rather we learned later this was a very practiced look used to get cookies and special privileges. She wasn't exactly the type of dog I pictured moving into our family but I brought her home to see if she would fit in. Penny had the ultimate say and she didn't seem too concerned as long as this new dog knew her place things would be just fine.
Sam had been surrendered to the shelter because she was "not good with children". It was not a problem for us as our children were all grown and off on their own. We were expecting our first grandchild any day though, but we were confidant that with a little training this child could learn to live with dogs. (It's not the dog you know as much as it's the child, children need to learn that dogs can't say "ouch !" and even the most tolerant dog does have its limits). When Gordon was born he visited our house almost daily. Samantha was intrigued with this little squeaking bit of something and wanted to sniff and lick it every chance she got.
How many times have you heard someone say that their pound puppy turned out to be the best dog they ever owned. Well the truth is that mutts and previously unloved animals typically turn into the very best companions. Samantha was no different. She was a dear sweet dog with a mischievous streak that got her into trouble sometimes, but one thing she was definably not, was bad with children. As our brood of grandchildren grew she had more and more opportunities to play and snuggle. She loved children, when going for walks if she saw a child she would wiggle and dance in anticipation of a pat and a giggle.
She loved to travel and to visit new places. Smells intrigued her, the beagle in her often took over and she could be seen nose to the ground tracking some elusive scent. She was almost totally blind the last year of her life but that nose could smell a cookie from across the room and it served her well. She never knew that she was just a little dog, she felt big and powerful, the protector of the family. When Denali came to live with us she was a patient sister. Denali was young and rambunctious and Sam tolerated her with dignity. They became fast friends and traveling companions. Life to Sam was a series of naps, and food, and naps, and rides in the car, running and smells, and just one more cookie and well, one more nap.
When Samantha passed away it left a huge hole in our hearts. Denali slept in her bed, and I knew she missed her too. Every dog touches our heart and lives in our memories. We love them all and as hard as it is to lose them I wouldn't trade our time with them for anything.
Next time you are looking for a dog, don't forget to go to your local Animal Shelter. Somewhere there is a Samantha for you, who needs you. You will be doing a good thing and just might find the best friend you've ever had.