Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Small Dog with a Big Personality

Someone's trash became my treasure! That is what I say to myself every October when I celebrate bringing Sammy, my Dachshund, into my life.

Having worked with the Morris Family for 12 years I have met and cared for dogs of every shape and size, personality and color. In 2007 I already had 2 rescues, our German Shepherd Andrew and Shepherd-Mix Livvy when I decided I wanted to add a third rescue dog to the family. I wanted it to be small dog with a big personality, enter the Dachshund! I combed petfinder for months until one Friday, Samson appeared on my screen at the Staten Island Animal Care and Control Center. I called the number provided and asked how old and if he had been temperament tested. The woman on the phone said he was 1.5 to 2 years old and was listed as "No concern". I immediately called my husband and told him, "I think we found our dog."
After my work shift ended at the Morris Animal Inn at 4:00pm, I hopped in my car, and drove to see if he still was there. I walked into the small office area surrounded by cages of kittens (I had to say hi to them all) and asked if I could see Samson. I immediately took him outside of his cage and went for a walk. I sat on the ground and without hesitation he jumped in my lap curled up in ball and stayed there while I made the call to my husband to bring our 2 other dogs down to meet, the re-named Sammy, and next addition to the family.

Over the course of the next few weeks we got to know him better. We discovered that he is not house trained, doesn't love strangers, can be quite loud, and LOVES food! Needless to say I was a little shocked at how much work I had ahead of me. Sammy wasn't going anywhere so we better have a plan. We prioritized what was most important (housetraining first) and devised a routine based on work schedules and budget.

Moving forward 5 years later I joined the staff at Morris K9 Campus and Sammy went through all the levels of pet training and currently does agility, which we both love, all driven by getting his favorite reward, TREATS!! I have accepted the fact that while he would never harm someone, he would rather not have attention from strangers and doesn't love every dog he meets, I work on this everyday with patience, love, and training. I feel like he knew when he met me, my husband and his canine brother Andrew and sister Livvy that this was his chance (or he just really wanted out of the shelter because he behaved like a saint during introductions!!) He is a product of not enough nurture, not nature. While I don't know what happened in his past, like where he came from, it is pretty obvious that he was not socialized with people or housetrained. I do know he lived with another dog so he at least has skills when it comes to communicating with his canines. He is one of the many reasons I come to work every day with the same passion I had 12 years ago when I decided I wanted a career with animals.
(left to right: Livvy, Sammy and Andrew relaxing on the couch.)

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month- whether you are looking for a puppy, purebred, or adult it may be just the best decision you could ever make! Please stop by our Fall Festival October 28th at Morris K9 Campus and visit with Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, Randolph Pound, Noah's Ark, and 11th Hour Rescue to see if your fur-ever friend is there waiting for you!

We are pleased to have Abbie, as a contributing writer for A Dog's Life. Abbie is the Dog Daycare Manager at Morris K9 Campus and is a passionate dog owner.

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