Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sampson settles in

It's been two weeks since I started fostering Sampson.  At first he was a timid, shy pup who followed me from room to room and had more than a couple anxious accidents in the house.  On the first night, I lifted something above my head (and thus his, since he was always at my feet).  The action made him cower to the ground. Even when I tried to bribe him to lay on the dog bed, he would prefer to lay on the hard wood floor.  The first few nights, he would wake up and stick his nose on my pillow every time I rolled over or moved in bed, just in case my movement meant that I was ready to pet him.   When I was moving around the house, he would lurk around a corner form the next room and watch me.

Now...  He hasn't had an accident in the house in a week (except for one slip up in his crate the other night when I left him alone too long after he drank a bowl of water)!!!!  He greets me from his crate with his tail wagging.  He still sleeps beside me on the floor, but I have to call his name to rouse him in the morning and, if I'm lucky, he'll get up and come to the side of the bed for some pets.  Tonight, I baked a cake in the kitchen and Sampson snoozed from the dog bed, two rooms away.  I am happy to report that he's adjusting well to home life! 

He's had two baths in the last two weeks.  He did well getting the baths.  The first night he just cowered (that was his only move for awhile!).  The second time he struggled a little more.  Now, he avoids my bathroom like it's a torture chamber!  This morning, I was getting ready in the bathroom and tried to entice him to come into see me.  No way would he fall for that trick!  He hid in my room.

I'm attributing his acclimation, in part, to his healthy dose of exercise.  He gets three walks a day.  As soon as I wake up, I let him in the back yard while I start my day.  I bring him in about 10 minutes later and feed him breakfast.  After breakfast, he and Toby go back into the back yard for a bit.  Just before I'm ready to leave, I'll walk him about a half mile and then immediately put him in his crate.  At lunch time, my friend, John, will come by and walk him into downtown Decatur (about 2 miles).  He returns to his crate for the afternoon.  I let him into the backyard when I get home at 6 and then I'll take him for another walk, usually 1-2 miles.  So maybe it's no wonder he's completely tuckered out this evening and seeking refuge on the dog bed! 

If you're interested in adopting Sampson or meeting him, we'll both be at the GRRA adoption event this Sunday.  for details or information about adopting Sam, see

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sampson's Big Day at the Vet

Sampson and I ventured up to Roswell to the vet yesterday for his last heart worm treatment.  He clearly trusts me more now than he did when I first got him.  When I picked him up the first day, I tried to encourage him to hop into the car.  He cowered.  When I tried to pick him up to put him in the car, he flattened himself to ground as if he were taking shelter in a tornado.  Fortunately, he only weighs 42 pounds and I managed to pick him up without too much of a struggle (even though he was dead weight!).  Yesterday, he didn't cower when I opened the car door--he hopped right in for our ride.  He rode in the back seat and enjoyed pushing his nose out of the window whenever he could.    

Yesterday, he stayed at the vet all day after his ivermectin shot to make sure he didn't have an adverse reaction.  A nice volunteer, Ken, from GRRA taxi'd him home. I'm told Sampson was a good boy at the vet all day and a great car companion on the ride back. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Monday, Sampson!

Sampson has not had an accident in the house for 2 days!  Today, for the first time, I came home from work to a puppy sitting quietly in his crate with no accidents.  I'm not sure if he's just getting more settled in our house, if the crate training that we worked on this weekend actually helped or if his midday walk made a difference.  Either way, I'll take it!  As soon as I came home, I opened his crate door without fanfare or telling him how much I missed him or what a good dog he was for NOT soiling his crate.  He wagged his tail with enthusiasm and then made a bee-line towards the back door.  He ran out the door and peed to much praise! Also, he's learning the trick to tricks.  As soon as I hold a cookie, he puts his rear on the floor in a good "sit".

I hope this trend continues.  Tomorrow, I'll take him to the vet for his last heartworm treatment.  He'll have to stay at the vet all day and then a stranger (to him) will pick him up in the afternoon and drive him home.  I'm worried that the disruption in our schedule may be enough to offset today's progress.  We shall see when Wednesday evening comes!  For tonight, I'm enjoying a super snugly Sampson.  He knows he's not allowed on the couch, so he lays on the hard wood floor, stretched out, and waiting for a belly rub or head scratch... just in case I feel so inclined.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sampson-- making progress

When Sampson first came to me, he was at my feet all the time when I was sitting and when I was up and about, he would settle around the nearest corner and watch me with intent.  As soon as I would look at him and smile, he would tentatively come out from around the corner and sit by my feet.  He had a little self esteem problem.  I think that comes naturally with a dog that was found as a stray who may have had a short supply of affection from his 2-legged companions.  He was desperate for affection.

Ten days later, I've seen so much progress.  He still loves affection and anytime I look at him, he'll sit at my feet with those adoring puppy eyes.  He gently nudges my hand or sets his chin on my knee.  But when I'm up and about, he'll settle in for a nap.  Tonight I baked a cake in the kitchen and he was settled on a rug in the living room, out of my sight. 

I am the first person to admit that Toby is extremely spoiled.  He has 9 dog beds.  Yes, 9!  Until this morning, Sampson hadn't ventured onto a single dog bed.  At night, he sleeps on the floor next to my bed.  During the day, he finds a cozy spot on the floor.  This morning, I pulled him onto a vacant bed, gave him some cookies and a few minutes of belly rubs. When I moved away, he followed.  I tried again.  And again.  Finally, I got him to stay on the bed. 

I also worked on crate-training today.  I crate Sampson when I leave the house.  With a couple cookies, he'll go into the crate.  But, as I back out of the driveway, I can hear him barking his head off.  More than once, he's peed in his crate.  Today, I put him in the crate with tasty treats and then would leave the house for 5, 10 or 20 minutes.  I ran short errands.  Each time I left and came home, I put him into his crate and let him out without any reassuring words.  I took him straight out to the fenced in yard when I got home, in case his stress agitated his bladder.  No accidents!  And, by the last time I put him in the crate this afternoon... he wasn't even barking when I came home.  Progress! 

We've also worked on his commands.  When he came to me, he didn't know any of the usual commands (sit, stay, down, off).  With the help of some peanut butter cookies and his desperate attempts to please me, he now kind-of knows "sit".  Since he could stand to gain 5 pounds or so, I'm being generous with our "training" sessions!

I've had a hiatus from fostering dogs these last few years as my work has taken me on travels around the world and a relocation from DC, where I fostered for Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, to Atlanta where I'm now fostering for Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta (GRRA).  That being said, thank you for finding me and these stories of dogs looking for their two-legged soul mate! Now... allow me to introduce Sampson!

He's freaking adorable.  He's the kind of dog that people on the street can't help but smile and coo at.  He's a distinguished gentleman of 8 years, but his spirit and size are puppy-ish.

Sampson (I call him Sam for short sometimes) was found as a stray in December.  He was micro-chipped, which told us that he was adopted from the Atlanta Human Society 8 years ago.  However, when GRRA tried to contact contact the folks who adopted him, they had no luck in finding his family.  After spending a few weeks being boarded at the vet while he was treated for heartworms, I picked him up and welcomed him into my family of Toby (my 14 year old rescued golden retriever-chow chow mix) and me. 

Sam's Stats
Age:  8 years
Size:  42 pounds
Color:  Chestnut red coat with black lowlights, blonde highlights and a white chest... gorgeous!  And he doesn't shed!!!
Children:  Hasn't met one he hasn't greeted with a wagging tail during walks
Dogs:  Like children, has met small and large, with wagging tails
Cats:  Unknown
Energy:  Moderately low.  He's always up for a walk, but when in the house, he prefers to nap

If you're interested in adopting Sampson or learning more about him (for now), please see his profile on