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My Dog Sam: A Shelter to Home

Since the moment I held a pencil I've been creating with drawings and words. I believe paintings enlighten and poems entice our thoughts.

When you're ready to add a furry friend to your family, please remember the shelters are full of many great dogs and cats that need good homes. Pets give more to us than we give back to them.

Sam and His Friend Frankie


My Dog Sam: A Shelter to Home

There he sat little and quiet in his cage along with two other Chihuahua’s who were loud and barking, but he was different. When I went to the shelter that day, with the hope of finding a small friend, I had no idea that he would be just that, small. In his cage there were two bigger Chihuahua mixes barking at the top of their lungs, while he sat in the back of the cage looking up at me with a smile. He was staring at me as if he knew I was going to take him home. Sometimes, I do believe he had insight into his future and he was right.

He was a dapper fellow with a wagging tail and a peaceful sense seemed to surround him. His eyes were filled with deep swirls of browns that bore a hole into the corners of my heart, I sank into them and knew right away he was the one for me.

I walked over to the shelter keeper and asked about his availability and if I could visit with him outside of his cage. She told me he was ready to be adopted and took him out of the cage so that I could play with him. Mr. 782 is what I called him, at first, because he was a very small Chihuahua mix, unlike his other two cellmates, and he had this huge circular dog tag hanging around his neck with the number 782 written on it in bold, large letters. Mr. 782 walked over to me and rolled on his back for a tummy tickle while wagging his tail. He knew his craft well. He was a smart little guy that wanted to get out of cell life as quickly as possible. I admired that trait.

After playing with him for a while, I told the shelter keeper I wanted to adopt him. She directed me to the office where all the paperwork took place and off I went, while promising my new friend that I would be back to take him home. The paperwork was easy but I did get some disappointing news, I would have to wait to pick him up in a couple of days so he could be neutered. Yikes, I bet he wasn’t going to be thrilled about that idea. So I left the shelter with a promise they would call me when Mr. 782 was ready to be picked up. Meantime, I could go to the store and buy all the doggie paraphernalia possible to get the house ready for my new friend.

Two days later they called me and said I could pick up Mr. 782. I was told they weren’t able to neuter him because he had a cold and couldn’t be put under anesthesia. They were going to reimburse the money I paid to have him neutered but I told them to keep the money as a donation. I promised to have him neutered once he recovered from his cold. I jumped in my car and drove over to the shelter. My little guy that I had bonded with needed some care and I was ready to deliver it.

As soon as I got to the shelter I finished the rest of the paperwork and was handed my bundle of joy to take home. He was smiling at me as if he knew life was going to be better now. We went to my car where I had a nice snuggly blanket for him to sit on because he was mighty stinky from being in the shelter. They told me he was found on the streets of Escondido and had come to the North County Shelter as a last resort for finding a home. Sometimes, I think they say that to everyone as an incentive to get you to adopt but, in this case, I was going to adopt him anyway.

My first stop was Petco to get Mr. 782 cleaned up and I wanted him to pick out another toy to add to the many I had at home waiting for him. When I was driving to the pet store I knew he needed a name and Sam kept on coming to mind so when they asked me his name at the doggie salon I made a quick decision that Sam fit him just fine. It was an easy name with a sense of distinction for such a small guy.

Sam and I went home after his salon treatment, while he sported a cute bandana around his neck. He smelled like an angel and I could see the hallo surrounding the top of his head. When we got home he was, at first, a bit timid but he seemed to melt into his environment fairly quickly. I knew he had a cold so I had made some homemade chicken soup for him, which he ate with grand gusto. I also had a vet appointment for him late that afternoon so we went, he got checked out, and I took home a prescription of antibiotics to help him fully recover.

It was the best thing I did because he was with me for sixteen years and I wouldn’t have exchanged one of those years for anything else in the world. From the first day he came home with me at six months old, Sam was with me through all the trials in my life and his. When it came time for Sam’s end-of-life care, I spent every moment I could with him. I savored every minute his tail wagged until it was his last. I never cried harder than I did when I lost my little boy Sam but there wasn’t one moment I would give up with him for the sadness I had to grieve through when he was gone. He was a joy from the first day I saw him at the shelter to the last day I held him while he took his last breath. He still lives with me in many picture books and memories. I smile every time I think of him because he always had a way of bringing joy to my life even in its crumbling moments.

Life is meant to be shared and there are many ways to do that, so please remember a shelter dog when you’re thinking of a new friend. You don’t save them, believe me they save you.

Our Grand Dog Otis


© 2020 Mary Borges

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