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Francine Larson

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Where Are You Sammy?
by Francine Larson   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, July 17, 2006
Posted: Monday, July 17, 2006

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If you are a dog lover. you will totally understand why I keep wondering "Where Are You, Sunny?"

I can’t tell this story. It is just too sad and yet I must. I simply must tell you because if I tell you, maybe you won’t ever do what I did… Sammy.

As far as I know, Sammy never did anything wrong or sinful in his life. He was not mean-spirited and loved everyone. He didn’t ask for any favors or anything special. He was loyal. He never ever did wrong to me or to Jim, my husband. And yet…and yet…how did it happen that I did something so wrong to Sammy.

You see, Sammy is a dog….a loving, faithful dog……a beautiful apricot Shih Tzu.

It all started one day when Jim and I decided it was time to get another pet. Our dog, Tiffiany died at the age of 16 about two years previous to this. Yes, it was time to have a little fur ball jump in our lap and we would watch him grow and thrive.

We found a very dog-loving lady that I will call Patti. Patti raises Shih Tzus and knows so much about their personality traits. The thing that sticks in my mind is what Patti said about Shih Tzus. She said that some dogs are put on this earth for certain things like hunting, helping blind people, sniffing out drugs, etc. but Shih Tzus only want to make you happy and that is considered their “job.” Patti said more than once, “they only want to make you happy.”

We found Patti was so right. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

We went to Patti’s house one Sunday afternoon and watched four little fur balls chase each other while curiously sniffing out Jim and I. Patti told us about each one’s personality. After a few moments, a little male Apricot and White puppy shyly approached Jim and I. In his own quite manner, he seemed to say, “I’m the one. The others may be more “showy” and aggressive but I’ll be your loyal companion always.: I scooped him up in my arms and held his fast-beating heart next to mine. He wanted to go with us but he would be the first to leave his brothers and sisters. I held him close, reassuring him that we would try to fill those pockets of emptiness and homesickness.

When we left with Sammy, all his brothers and sisters and mother just silently stared at us. They had such a helpless, pitiful look that Jim and I will never forget. If they could speak, they would probably say. “OK, Sammy can come with you, but you darn sure better treat him right.!” Their eyes pleaded with Sammy to please not go away…..we will miss you….we’ll never see you again….My heart was breaking. I had a flash thought…can’t we just take the whole family? No one breaks up my family. Help! Those eyes staring at me…lets just get out of here.

Jim named his Sammy. The name appeared in Jim’s mind and it just fit. He just looked like “Sammy.”;

I held Sammy in my arms with his tummy resting on my chest. I stroked him and assured him that he would not regret going home with us. He didn’t make a sound. His big brown eyes shyly stole a look at me once in a while.

Patti gave us all his health papers and everything looked fine but we wanted our own assurances, so we stopped by Pets Mart. We bought the special kind of food that Patti recommended and all the other essentials and of course some toys. Everyone in Pets Mart was ooowing and ahhhhing over Sammy. He just clung to me. We took him to the back of Pets Mart where the animal clinic is located. They fell in love with Sammy and the vet looked him over. Everything was fine. Sammy was healthy just like Patti said.

Sammy was easy to potty-train. We did it by the crate method. Soon he was happily running around and begging for Jim and I to play with him or pick him up. He would jump in our lap almost every time we sat down. Only once is a while did I see the far- away look in his eyes that probably meant he was thinking about his mother and sisters and brothers. When I noted these times, I would pick him up and play with him or try to distract him. (I know you are probably saying, “Is she nuts?”….”dogs don’t miss their families…..” ..but don’t mess with me when I am talking about Sammy. He was “love” all dressed up in apricot and white fur.)

The weeks went by. I was taking care of my baby granddaughter, Alayna. When I would take Alayna for a walk in the neighborhood, I would put Sammy in the stroller right in front of her. She would naturally put her arms around Sammy and off we would go. No, he wasn’t jealous of the baby. He had fallen in love with her and although he was still a puppy himself, he wanted to protect her. I don’t know how he knew this but he never would touch her toys, only his. Some of his toys seemed rubbery and soft like Alayna’s but he knew the difference and absolutely never tried to play with her toys. (Sometimes the toys would be all together on the floor.)

Sammy fit in our life and we considered him a God-send. So much so, that I got a bright idea…”why not get another dog, a companion for Sammy?” Jim said he didn’t think that was a good idea, but after much prodding, he finally agreed to check it out.

At this time, Sammy was about a year old. He had given up his puppy ways and was loving, loyal and good-mannered. He was also well trained, potty-wise. He enjoyed his role as entertainer and friend to little Alayna. He was always sniffing around her tiny little feet to make sure she was ok.

Now, back to my bright idea about getting another puppy for Sammy. So, anyway, Jim and I found ourselves back at Patti’s house. She had a puppy left from a litter that was oh, soooo cute. This little female was brown and white and unlike Sunny very spunky. She paraded around Jim and I with confidence and a touch of “sneakiness.”
She certainly did not have Sammy’s shy ways.

We thought the two dogs would compliment each other since they seemed so opposite, so we brought her home and named her Sophie.
Sammy seemed annoyed with Sophie most of the time. In the beginning, he just flat stayed away from her. She would try every thing to get his attention and annoy him. There was no peace for Sammy but he just tried to stay on board with us.

We did all the beginning things that we had done for Sammy. We took her to the vet regularly and gave her the same kind of healthy food. We bought her toys and began to potty train her.

This is where my story takes a turn….a turn for the worse. This is when my nerves became frayed and I began asking myself “what have I done?”

Sophie began eating her “poop.” As if that wasn’t enough, she liked to bring it in the house and show us, “Ill not only eat my poop, but I’ll bring it in the house and eat it in front of you, thank you very much!” We tried all the methods we could think of…things you put in food to make the dog NOT like their “poop.” Sophie liked it anyway, anytime, all the time!

Frantically, I called Patti. Patti said that unfortunately, “eating poop” was a trait of this breed and that Sophie would out-grow it. She also told us to be much more stern with Sophie for this on-going event.

Things went from bad to worse, Soon,Sophie had convinced Sammy that this “eating poop” and brining it in the house was just the thing to do. You may be asking by now, “how does this happen, can’t you see them when they come in from a walk?”

Here’s the thing. Jim had invented a “doggie out-house, “ which I am going to write a book about. (It is a wonderful invention and has worked well with our present dog, Sunny.) Anyway, Sammy and Sophie went on the back porch, down a ramp and into a beautiful screened-in doggie out-house. They did what they were supposed to do and either dined in the out-house or brought in back in the house to eat.

Sophie, although being female and was smaller, had self-proclaimed herself as “boss and leader” and in so doing, had also convinced Sammy that this “dine on doo-doo” was quite OK.

The thing is, I wasn’t OK, Jim wasn’t OK. And, to top it off, suddenly we were in the midst of trying to sell our house. We tried even harder to teach our dogs how to overcome this habitual feat every day. I worried that the baby could pick up some “poop” that I overlooked…Oh, that would be just horrible!

My mind was racing…watch, the poop....someone is coming to look at the house…watch the baby……clean up the poop……watch the dogs poop…..catch them in the act….the baby is crying…..someone is coming to look at the house……clean the carpet….poop in the carpet…..what is Sophie doing……..HELP!

“What did you say, honey? Did you say that maybe we should find a home for Sophie and Sunny?” In my temporarily frantic and slightly insane state of mind, those words were music to my ears. We were at our wits end and saw to answer in sight. I took a deep breath and knew what we had to do.

Jim was pale when he got back from Patti’s.

“She’ll find them a good home, she promised.”

Even though Alayna was cooing and the television was going, the deafening silence from that day forward is just that….a silence…a little part of my heart still has a hole in it, especially for Sammy. Sophie we loved, but Sophie really didn’t need our love and approval like Sammy did. Sammy was good. He loved us unconditionally. We probably would have eventually worked the problem out, but it was a frantic moment of slight insanity.

Please don’t write me and tell me what an awful thing we did. I know that. Even though I am sure Patti found them a good home, I let them down, especially Sammy.

So, Sammy, wherever you are, please forgive us. Please be happy and know that you are the world’s greatest lover of human souls. When I mention your name, Jim gets a far-away look in his eyes and I feel sick.

Where are you Sammy? ,,,,,,,I just keep wondering…..where you are………….

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