Playing Again Sams Home

This Page is Dedicated to the Two Tashas

Sadly Departed.......

......but never forgotten


TASHA:: 1988-April 21, 1999
Tasha leaves a special legacy of love

Tasha is the first rescue dog Playing Agains Sams has lost. But we are all comforted in knowing that she had 16 months of devotionin the Hanson family. As Alice once said, "We thought we were giving a gift of life to Tasha, but it is she who brought us so muchlife and joy and laughter every day." Regretfully, we had to put Tasha to sleep today. Here's her last story. I thought it was the big, organic, very expensive, portabello mushroom she ate. I knew she was the culprit, not onlybecause of her past history of grocery bag rummaging, but because of the telltale piece of kale hanging from hernose. And now she had a stomach ache no doubt. There was no bouncy flag tail and she couldn't make her usualwalk. Everyday we'd walk down the road a mile and a quarter and back, over 400 times we made that walk together.She'd poke and putz and sniff and prance and have the time of her life. She wasn't above shaving the mileage off abit as she knew we'd be coming back the same way, and she'd catch up with us then smiling and laughing at her ownlittle trick. A year ago we were taking care of another family member -- holding her, feeding her, stroking her face, letting herknow she was loved. It wasn't so different with Tasha. The first night we didn't think she'd make it through the night,she was so weak when Monica called and gave us the news...a bleeding tumor on her spleen. We slept on the flooron each side of her so she would know she wasn't alone. We could give her water and comfort her. I wondered if itreally gave her solace or if we were just needing to do something when there was absolutely nothing to be done. As Iwas thinking this she leaned over and cuddled up next to me and licked my face as she'd done a hundred times. I'dhave given anything at that moment to have just a few more weeks or months...anything but put her through oneminute of unnecessary pain. We weren't even tempted when Monica told us she'd had donor dog and with atransfusion could have operated that night. I was surprised the next morning when I looked up through the greenhouse window and saw her casually making herway down to the creek. Over the next week I watched as she wrung the most out of life. She'd look up at us withthose sparkly eyes and those heart warming smiles through her weakness. She even found a few moments ofstrength to enjoy Ollie's antics and growl at him when he got too close to her bowl. She helped me plant trays ofseeds and transplant seedlings into little pots. We shared popcorn, and hugs and tears. And when there were no moresmiles, we shared one last ride. Ollie in his captain's chair ready to pounce on speeding trucks, grandma in the frontand Barry driving. We sat on the floor of the van and I scratched her behind the ears and she gave me her lastsmiles. That afternoon, we buried her on the knoll by the creek in a grove of fir trees where she loved to explore and play.And now everyday when I look out over the creek from my kitchen window I'll remember the little white flag tail onthe sweetest little girl that filled our house with love. --Alice Hanson If you would like to talk to Alice about Tasha, please email her at:


TASHA: 1993-MARCH 7, 2000
You hardly had a chance


We took Tasha out of the humane society on February 15th, 2000. She hadbeen picked up as a stray and finally the family called and said they couldn't take her because they had too many dogs. They admitted Tasha had had pups along the way and they kept some of the pups instead I guess. Tasha was 7.5 years old. She was very despondent at the humane society and then she was despondent in the foster home or so we thought. We couldn't get her to eat anything and we kept thinking she was very depressed. We took her to the vet after several days - they did x-rays, they hydrated her, found an elevated white count, elevated temperature and some mucous in her nose. They ruled out pneumonia and pyometra and prescribed 2 weeks of clavamox - 3 times a day. I thought it was overkill for a non-specified problem. But I deferred to the vet on a couple of occasions despite a couple of discussions. The clavamox must have helped because she did begin eating finally several days after her initial vet visit. And all last week Brian reported "she's eating and pooping like a horse." She was even having words with Brian's dog. She was back in the land of the living. Or so we thought. Then Sunday she started vomiting a lot. It just did not seem normal. We had her at the vet's by Monday and they went back over the x-rays and must have seen some suspicious areas. They thought a liver or spleen tumor and suggested an ultrasound. We did that yesterday. They then thought pyometra again. We felt heartened. So we arranged an emergency spay/exploratory surgery for this morning but both Brian and I knew the possibilities of something worse were there, but as much as you think you prepare yourself, it makes no difference. I got the fateful call from the vet while they had her open on the table; it was not pyometra and it was much worse. her intestines were all mottled as though they had been wrapped by string though they didn't see anything at that point. they said they would have had to remove such a large portion of it, that it would have made food absorption very difficult. I asked that fateful question, "if it were your dog....." and he said he wouldn't do it. The other vet called a lithe later and they must have looked more closely through her intestines, and found some kind of fabric, and some hard plastic. They think maybe she ate it while out as a stray. The humane society she wasn't eating while they had her either. Both Brian and I had never come across such a depressed dog - she had no spark in her eyes. and now I realize that she must have been in so much pain the whole time. our beloved breed are so stoic and so often we have no idea how much pain they're in - that is their downfall sometimes. Its almost as though they just don't want to bother us with their ills. I know I did the right thing, I know she had 3 weeks of love before she died, I know I gave her the best vet care possible. but it doesn't lighten the weight of her death on me. Because Tasha represents what rescue is all about - even if only a dog gets a few days or weeks of unadulterated love and kindness, then that is all we ask for. For Tasha's special spirit, Tasha's ashes have joined Albert and Knika and stay close to me in their special places.
Tasha, you deserved so much better. Maria

Kelly: ??? 1993-June 3, 2000
She gave her heart completely

In 1998,, Playing Again Sams was contacted by Hap in his search for a samoyed. He said he wasn't quite ready to adopt because he was going through chemo for lymphoma caused by Agent Orange many years ago. He told me at that time that he had just lost his 6 year old girl, who had to be put down because of cancer the day he went in for his first cancer treatment. When Hap was ready, a stray showed up in PA and we were able to unite two wounded spirits. In those early days, Hap was inscrutable and I wasn't always sure how he felt about Kelly; he was a man of few words, and until I received a short note from him saying how Kelly had given him a renewed sense of life, I had no idea the impact Kelly had on him.In the past couple of years, Hap and ii became good friends. He loved to tell stories about Kelly. Slowly he wanted to start helping other samoyeds. And in less than a year, he and Karen fostered their first girl. And the magic he worked with this scared girl showed how much he could give back to other samoyeds what Kelly had given him. Before that first girl arrived at their house, hap worried that Kelly would not be too happy about sharing her daddy. But she also inherently understood the importance of welcoming these other lost souls. And she learned how to share and play nice most of the time. She grumbled but she always knew that she was daddy's best girl. The day after the new millennium began, and Karen got in a new foster that took up permanent residence. In retrospect it is easy to say there was a reason that they could not give up Kaisha. And even though Kelly could be crotchety with the young 'un, Kaisha too understood that Kelly came first and she knew how to respect her elders. About two weeks ago, a very worried Hap called me because Kelly had missed a couple of meals and was running a fever. It was very unlike her bec ause she used to prance for her dinner, scolding Hap if he was even 5 minutes late. She became less interested in the squirrels in the yard, and rather than sitting on the deck all day watching the world go by when not chasing and barking madly at the squirrels, she became increasingly lethargic and withdrawn. Hap has always used the same vet I have and I kept telling him that if anybody could figure out what was going on with Kelly, it was Dr. Sielicki.But in the end, nothing could be ascertained for sure. She kept running a fever that would not abate with antibiotics. She was tested for all the tickborne diseases, all her bloodwork was within normal ranges, but with x-rays they saw her heart was enlarged. With the echocardiogram, they then saw a mass in one of her ventricles, which was preventing the valve from closing all the way. Because of the location of the mass, no surgeries or even biopsies were attempted. We could only assume that the mass was cancerous. Getting Kelly too eat anything was such a struggle and she had no interest in going outside, laid in a corner, and slowly fought every medication Hap tried to give her. He and Karen decided that she had no quality of life anymore and decided today to release her. Hap and I both have mythical feelings about some things that these dogs do for us. And when Kelly first was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, we talked about how maybe somehow, she was absorbing some of the negative energies that exist in Hap's own body. As though she was brought in his life, not only to blow in new sense of optimism, but to also protect him physically by sucking in his cancer and to help mend his bad heart. If you saw The Green Mile, you'll understand what I'm trying to say. In the end, Hap understood that she was just hanging on for him, and when they took her in today, she slipped away so quickly it was as though on angels' wings. Because under all white fur, that's just what she was.....

MAWSON: 1991 (?)-November 3, 1999
What a gentle giant you were.

Mawson is no longer in pain, and now his legs work as he wishes. At about 8 PM., I eased Mawson over the Rainbow Bridge. When I came home from work today, he wasn't right -- his eyes were glassy, pupils dilated. He was breathing heavily & did not want any water. It was clear he was in at least discomfort, if not pain, so I took him off to the emergency vet we had visited a couple of times in the past month. He had a temp of 105 & the vet suspected aspiration pneumonia, something that's not uncommon when dogs are down/not moving much. Xrays confirmed this & while they could probably treat it, couple that with the pain & paralysis he's been experiencing lately, and it didn't make sense to put him through anymore. I had suspected this might be the outcome as I drove down, so I was ready with the one question that I knew might help me make the right decision: I asked the vet what she would do if he were her dog. She confirmed what I already knew in my heart. I asked her to do it outside because I wanted his last moments to be in the cool breeze and the soft grass. He and I spent a quiet 10 minutes alone, outside, with his head cradled in my hand, before she gave him something to help him relax & then we eased him over. It was peaceful & easy, and for that, I'm grateful. His body may have given out on him, but his heart never did. He was probably the bravest dog I've ever known, handling all of the curveballs that were thrown his way, with his trademark grin, and good spirits. I will miss his wonderful expressions probably more than anything else. There is an emptiness in my heart that I cannot express at the moment. He will be sorely missed, but I take comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain and that one day I will find him healthy & well, running to meet me at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you all for your support, your help, and your prayers over the last month. They have helped more than you could ever know. Please hug your furkids a little tighter tonight & give them a pet for me & for Mawson.

Teddy at the Samoyed National Rescue Parade - September 1999
#1 Rescue Dog

TEDDY June 4, 1998 - August 4, 2000
On July 16, 1999, our world was changed forever.

John and I first met you, Teddy ,(then Ben) by accident. We were playing cards at John’s parents house as we normally do every week. Their two dogs were barking up a storm, which they normally do when people or dogs walk by. This time was different, for some reason I decided to see what they were barking at. I saw a couple walking two beautiful white dogs. I told my in-laws to come look at these dogs and they told us the people walking the dogs were neighbors and friends of theirs. We immediately went outside and were greeted by these two white dogs. I asked what kind of dogs they were. Samoyed - never heard of that breed, but I knew they were the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. I assumed the dogs belonged to the people who were walking them until they told us one was theirs and you were their foster dog. This gentle, loving, beautiful dog was up for adoption?!? What could be wrong with you that someone decided they didn’t want you anymore!!! After hearing that and interacting with you, we went back into the house. You kept pulling on your leash trying to follow us. I told John you were breaking my heart.We went back to playing cards and I could not concentrate. We already had a 16 year old bichon frise and a new 1 year old collie so I really shouldn’t have thought of getting another dog but I couldn’t get you off my mind. Within a hour, my in-laws called their neighbors and I talked to them about taking you home to see if you and our other dogs would get along. My 16 year old bichon at 9 pounds was the queen of the house and did not like other dogs being too pushy around her. I wanted to see if there would be great upset with a feisty samoyed and a persnickety bichon. I figured if it was too upsetting for our other dogs or for you, it then wasn’t meant to be. We brought you home and you were so comfortable in our home and very gentle around our bichon and instantly became pals with our collie. We then knew it WAS meant to be. We adopted you and you adopted us. Kerry renamed you Teddy because you were like a big gentle teddy bear. .We learned your background: turned into a humane society by your owners at only 1 year old because they "just couldn’t control you." You were outside all of your young life. How terrible for you. But now you were part of our "pack" and we planned a great life for you.You were loved so much by Kelly and Kerry and the entire extended family. We cherished you and we felt so good that we could give you the life you and every other dog deserves. You made us realize the unthinkable, how people could get a pet and discard it for any reason whatsoever, but in many ways we were glad because otherwise we would never have had you. We had a wonderful first year together. You were my daily companion. I was so thrilled to be able to be your mom and take care of you. We loved you tons and you loved us back. I still smile when I think of when we went for a walk and the neighborhood kids would come out to pet you and you would lick and slobber them. It makes me laugh when I think of when I would give them some of your fur that was molting off you and they would say "Wow! Can we keep this!" We love you and miss you terribly. We think of you often and still shed tears for you and us because we could not save you.Teddy started to get sick in April of 2000. After two trips to our vet, who diagnosed him first with a food allergy and then an ulcer, we took him to the Director of Samoyed Rescue’s vet for a second opinion, who promptly diagnosed him with an obstruction. The vet immediately did surgery on him, but because we lost precious time in getting a correct diagnosis, Teddy’s body was destroying his own blood cells and also the cells of the synthetic blood that was given to him. We had him transferred to the Emergency animal hospital where they tried desperately to help save him. He passed the next day when we went out to get some lunch . My husband received a call from the hospital saying he was gone. I felt angry at first because I wanted to be with him as he crossed over - I didn’t want him to go without us there with him. But I realized he thought it would be too painful for us to see him go. I am so glad that he went on his own and we did not have to decide that for him, but we knew how desperately ill he was. I still feel extreme guilt for listening to and not questioning our first vet. The pain of that day is still with me and I can relive it over and over again. We are so sorry if we let you down Teddy..

KEIKO: 1988 (?) - 7/20/2000
Forever a smile on your face.

Keiko, the most wonderful example of a samoyed one could ever hope to see,and pet, was put to sleep at 2:20pm while Dad Rich cradled his aching head.While the pathologist didn't have proof that Keiko was suffering from cancer, after he slipped away, the vet looked inside his throat: a huge grey tumor was protubing from just below his eyes inside his throat. The poor guy was getting worst each day and Tuesday Keiko and Yogi both told me it was time. So while Keiko looked kindly at the vet, he joined the rest of theanimals at the Rainbow bridge .While we only had him for 27 months, he has changed everybody who has come into contact with him.I want to thank all who took the time to save this guy. And to all who helped get him over here.Yogi doesn't fully understand what has happened, but we're taking special care with the big guy. Keiko, you showed us how we should all treat each other. Always smiling, andalways ready to hug and be hugged by those we love and especially those we don't..
Rich Emil and a sad Yogi.
God Bless you all.

nd Daniel


Abert (Einstein) September 5, 1988 - August 26, 2000
You were the best dog that ever lived.

Albert had always been an incredible fighter when it came to dealing withone medical problem after another starting when he was about 8. He almostdied from the thrombocytopenia, and struggled with congestive heartfailure, but recently, the diabetes was the most difficult - mostly for myhusband who sacrificed a lot to dispense his insulin at 12 hour interval.but Albert continued slowing down and we thought it was everything workingagainst him.Two weeks before he died, he got a bite of some sort and tore a huge hot spot into his back end. Having dealt with this before, we dutifully shaved the area and immediately applied a steroidal drying agent. But the wound, thesize of a fist, though relatively superficial oozed and oozed and keptoozing. I guess diabetes does that.He went to the vet that Monday morning and we got antibiotics and they cleaned up the hot spot further. The e-collar came on. I thought that wasthe end of that. But the Thursday night I had Albie up on the couch with me petting him when I thought I snagged a matt. Upon turning on the light my fingers came away bloody and my heart sank. The next day he was at the vet and they shaved the area. They deemed it part of the staph infection though it appeared to be bruising under the skin. It was not my regular vet who might have recognized the possibility of the thrombocytopenia returning I kicked myself for not ordering a full panel anyway.The next day, he suffered 4 quasi seizures in a 12-hour period (I thinkfrom the benadryl), letting out a blood curdling scream. That scream echosstill. We stopped all medications but the insulin and heart medications.Monday he was back at the vet first thing and they kept him there duringthe morning running all sorts of tests. Unfortunately, the results weredire - his platelet count had dropped to 18,000 and he tested positive for hemolytic anemia, though mild. To me that was a death sentence and wedecided that we would do nothing intrusive. Daniel was ready to put himdown immediately and I knew I needed to spend the night with him and say goodbye more slowly. I was inconsolable during that time. I contacted afriend who does reiki and journeying, and she said that Albert was verytired. She also prepared him for what was to come.Tuesday, the vet offered the possibility of a medication that could help,though of course he couldn't promise anything except that we would know indays if it was helping. We decided to go for it. We both stayed home fromwork each day and on Thursday, though the blood tests came back quitepositive, Albert was like a zombie and we struggled and struggled with whatwe should do. We decided to give the medication a chance to work over theweekend and then we would decide whether we could put him through thisanymore.Friday he definitely perked up and though we didn't have to carry himeverywhere, he was still weak, and his appetite was leaving him. Saturday morning, I found him sleeping in the front room, and when I went to putmy arms around him, I found black stuff in his fur near his neck. I thought it was blood. But he had eliminated, and had somehow gotten some on-his ruff. His breathing was very labored and shallow. I took some time cleaning up my carpet and then went to get some shampoo to clean up hiscoat. When I went to pick him up he was completely limp in my arms. I put him down and tried again, and then realized that somehow he had simplyslipped away. Just like that - quietly, gently.Within minutes, Daniel came home and all I could say was, "he's gone." And like in a movie, a terrible storm broke out - thunder, lightning and driving rain. Knika was completely panicked, and we knew we couldn't leave her alone so I took Albert's body to the pet cemetery for cremation; even in death he was a beautiful angel and it took everything I had to leave him there. But he had his giant pink bunny to journey with him.Having worked with the communicator all week, one cannot imagine the comfort both Daniel and I received. We knew Albert was so, so tired - not hurting - but just so tired of the constant battles - though he NEVER complained. He always kept his happy spark lit but we knew it was fading. It just happened a lot faster than we expected. I prayed from the moment he came into our lives, that he would die peacefully at home. And I heard so many people say, "that is every pet owner's wish." But my beautiful, happy, and incredibly loving funny Valentine granted us that final wish. He left on his own terms, but he did it for us. Maria and Daniela

Neeko: 1995 (?) -March 26, 2001
Always "ctue as a button"

You will always in our minds be Neeko's guardian angel. You rescued him from a "life" which must have been terrible. You gave all of us a chance to rejoice in the goodness that he is. He brought out the best in all of the people who were lucky enough to meet him. Always a smile and a big ol' tail wagging in a big ol' circle. For a while there we thought that we had rescued him. In reality though HE rescued US! He showed us how to love in ways that we didn't know existed. We only had a few years with him but he has given us a lifetime of memories. We have not "given up" on him, rather, we have accepted that for some reason God must need him more than we do. We know that he is going to a better place. We expect that when our time comes, if God deems us worthy, we will be greeted by that same smile and big ol' tail wagging in a big ol' circle. Maria we know that you have prayed for his health and for him to stay with us. For that we thank you. We believe it is now time to let Neeko go and pray for his little dog soul to be joined with Jesus Christ. Tonights prayers are for an eternity of happiness not just a few days, weeks.
Our love and thanks will always be yours,
David, Donna, and Misty

Bear: August, 1996 - October 1, 2001

Bear didn't get much of a chance during his first few years, being a replacement for a pup of a different breed at a pet store. He quickly became right at home in his new home, though. Every day, he'd be there at the front door wagging his tail when I came home, and he'd watch out the glass door when I left. We had a great time going to various parks in the area, or even just walking around the neighborhood. Bear would also run along beside me when I'd go skatingon my Rollerblades. The squirrels in the back yard could keep himoccupied for a long time once he treed them. He seemed like he getting sick around 3 years old, which turned out to be hypothyroidism...once he started treatment, he was back to his oldself again. Unfortunately, chronic kidney failure set in and was finally diagnosed about a week before he left this world--that onewas too much for him to overcome. Being my first dog to go likethis, it was difficult to take...but he is in a better place now.

Knika: June 9, 1988-July 2, 200l
Knika is running free with Albert again

Knika and Maria saying goodbye - July 2, 2001

I miss you so much and I just wasn't ready, even though Daniel was beside himself with worry about you for the past 3 weeks. You never complained and only Daniel knew how sick you really were. Things have been rough for you for a couple years now. But you were always so quiet and stoic, so sweet and so unobtrusive. You were my little invulnerable girl for solong. I never understood the quiet mystery around you. I always wondered if you had a touch of melancholy or whether you just accepted life for what it was - peacefully and with resignation. You enjoyed being alone but were always there for your pets and hugs and tons and tons of kisses. I loved the way you would amble over right by my side soon as I would get on the computer. I loved sharing my cereal with you and my cough drops. Pizza bones were a special favorite too. I wish I understood your quiet ways better but you kept your heart close inside.You were a real queen from the moment you came to us eight years ago. You couldn't be bothered playing with toys or playing with Albert. You loved to sit on the stoop and survey your domain. Always watching out that wewere all safe inside. You were such a good girl. Ijust wasn't prepared for you to leave me. you'll be happy though with mother and daddy and Albert to keep you company. The house is so empty and quiet right now, and my head feels like it is going to burst. Boo Boo girl don't rush off too quickly yet. I'm just not ready for you to be gone. Maria and Daniel



Yogi: 1988-January 4, 2002

On January 4, 2002, at 2:45PM, Yogi left this world of crippling arthritis pain, heart pains and old age for the beautiful fields at the Rainbow bridge. I'm sure Keiko,( My third Sammy) pippin (my first) and Rosemary Rambo met him and are playing and running happily together. A thing he hasn't been able to do since late this summer. While Yogi held his favorite toy ( the green Godzilla) in his mouth, he closed his eyes on this world one last time. I'll always hold dear the image of Yogi prancing around my backyard for the very first time, as if he was marking his new home, to the time his girlfriend, Roxy ran away from home right to our front door and we three spent New Years eve together munching dog treats. ( Roxy is also at the rainbow bridge)I want to thank all of you, especially you Maria of "Playing again Sams", for matching Yogi and I together. I gave Yogi everything I could to give him the best life he could have.Now I'm waiting for Yogi to return here, and I'll put his ashes outside, under his favorite Butternut tree.Gosh, I miss you guy. till we meet again. Take care of everybody at the bridge. With Love, Richard Ranta

Jake, aka Icicle: March 28, 1993-February 7, 2002
A stupendous dog

Not a Samoyed according to AKC's standards but he was white with the most beautiful samoyed coat many of us have run our fingers through. He was much more laid back than the typical sammy temperament but ready to go at a moments notice, inches taller and longer with a magnificent tail that required the longest toothed comb in the basket and a smile like no other. A few referred to him as a white wolf, others a white German shepherd. We didn't care because he was Jake.Icicle, quickly renamed Jake came to us in 1999 after taking a tour of the state. It was determined he originated in Merrill, traveled to Appleton where he was owner surrendered, made his way to Maria in Milwaukee and then moved back north to be with us in Spencer (central) Wisconsin. Out of all of his brothers and sisters, eventually to number six, he loved to pal around with Lisa, an older petite sammy girl. He was a fairly good companion for the foster dogs that would come and go but would have preferred to keep the extra attention for himself. The grooming table was his favorite place. He wasn't agile enough to jump up by himself but eagerly awaited the boost up. Jake would quickly lay down, taking up most of the table, and then cross his front legs like a prince waiting to be lavished with attention. The daily walk and feeding time in our house, as you can imagine with six dogs, is loudly announced but you could always distinguish Jake from the rest of the chorus with his baritone ahroos. It never failed to raise a chuckle and a that-a-boy from his parents.Another distinguishing feature of Jake was his ice blue eyes and light pigment; not a typical sammy feature. We wouldn't go so far to say he was albino because he wasn't pink. Just very pale. Statistics would support that it was these fair features that lead to his early death. Over the past year he had developed auto immune problems which dramatically reduced his red blood cell count and the ability to deliver oxygen to the body. Thursday morning he quietly curled up in his favorite corner and went to sleep. Jake was born 3-28-1993 making him almost 8 years old when he left. We were blessed to have had him with us from March 27, 1999 to February 7, 2002.
Keith & Laurie LaSee and
Koke, Lisa, Cotton, Tazz and Teddy


Sweetpea: March 1997-April, 2002 Gentle...Mischievous...Loyal...With The Biggest Paws You Ever Saw!

There were many good times in the three short months that Sweetpea lived with us. Too many to sum up in this memorial, but her fuzzy face touched both of our hearts and we will never ever forget her and our lives and others lives that she touched have been forever changed.

Sweetpea was our first attempt at fostering a dog, she came from the Humane Society and we were her third home. She came to us on January 25th for one week before she was going to her new home in Michigan. Needless to say, Sweetpea never left us! She had not been exposed to toys too often in her past, but with a little time and practice she was out playing fetch like an old pro. Once we started her playing with toys she couldn't get enough of them, she had so many toys it was unbelievable and she loved to gather them all up and nap on them so Dino & Maizie (Our other dogs) could not take her stuff. She would only make the toys squeak by putting them on the ground and pushing them with her nose. She could play a whole symphony with her snout! We had a lot of adventures with that sweet little girl. She was a water dog and if I didn't keep my eye on her at the park she would inevitably find a creek or pond to get into. A week before she died, she was the hit of the "Doggie Easter Egg Hunt" in our community. Her charming Sammy smiles and clumsy tricks endeared her to everyone, so she was always getting more that her share of treats. She made lot's of friends and seemed to enjoy her time getting her belly scratched more than anything at all.

Everyone was settling in nicely, but we always knew there was something "off" about Sweetpea. About a month into her stay with us she had surgery to remove some mammary tumors that Ben had found while brushing her. Her recovery went well and she seemed to enjoy her pampering. We bought her some doggy t-shirts at Old Navy to help cover her incision so she couldn't get at it. These shirts said "Gorgeous," "Hot Stuff" and "Perfect Ten" no other words could describe that girl! Post recovery, she didn't seem to return to a healthy 5 year old dog. We assumed that years of abuse and neglect would take a while to counteract. What was the most disturbing though was the confusion that she had.

Sadly, Sweetpea's confusion was more serious and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and we had to have her put to sleep when the pain got to bad on April 6, 2002. We went outside and found a big tree and got her comfortable in my lap and asked her if she was ready to go. She was always kissing Ben on the face, but would only kiss my hand. I was always trying to get her to kiss my face but she wouldn't. While she was in my lap I asked her if she knew how much we loved her and she kissed my hand. Then I asked her if she was ready to go to heaven and she kissed my lips. So she told us she was ready to go. We sat and held her for a long time not ready to let go yet. We decided to have her cremated and keep her ashes with us. In life Sweetpea may have been a "throw away" pet, but now she is home with us. Her urn says:

"Sweetpea- Our angel knew love with us and has found her forever home."

We think of her often and miss and love her very much! Julia & Ben

Jan.6, 1991 - Aug. 15, 2002

Sebastian was an owner-surrender at the ripe old age of 11, when he came to my foster home. He�d been an outside dog for most of his life, and didn�t have much in the way of care, attention, or grooming. When he arrived at my house, he couldn�t believe he was actually allowed inside. He settled in very quickly, and behaved very well with my Samoyed, Audi, and my cats. He had a sweet, loving, gentle nature.

He had a lot to learn about being an inside dog, and it was an effort for both of us at first. But he worked so hard to be good, and to do what I wanted. He learned so many new things, including the big stuff like not to mark inside, and it was safe to go out because I�d always let him in again. But it was the little things that I so enjoyed watching him figure out; that he should go around - not under - an open door, that TV dogs weren�t real, how to ask for a tummy rub. He never quite figured out that a hockey puck wasn�t a dog toy. All he wanted was to be near me, and included. He was always where he could see me, and most often in easy reach. I loved seeing him become happier and more confident every day.

He came dirty, smelly, wearing a frayed collar without even an ID tag. I brushed, combed and bathed him, bought him a new collar and ID. But there was one problem I couldn�t fix. His teeth were rotting, his breath was foul, and his mouth hurt him. It was a tough decision, because of his age, but I decided he needed dental work. He went happily to the vet, with no fear or hesitation. He was happy and being petted when they administered the anesthetic. Unfortunately he had a bad reaction and his heart stopped, and he never woke up. It was peaceful and easy for him, but too soon.

I always knew I�d have to say goodbye to him someday. I expected it would be a bittersweet parting when he left me for a loving permanent home. 19 days of love and comfort doesn�t feel like enough to give him after all the time he waited for it.

1991 (?) - Aug. 2, 2003

Audi was my first Samoyed. I adopted him in June 2000. He'd already had a full life by then. His first official record was coming into the local shelter as a youngish stray in 1994. He was adopted by a couple who had several other dogs, and a number of cats. Six years later, they couldn't keep him, and so he came to rescue, and to me.

As his coat grew in and he gained weight, he started prancing and showing off more and more. He always knew people ought to be admiring him, and he was so pleased when the figured it out as well. He never quite got dog-play signals, but he certainly learned how to read people. As he became more confident, he figured out that he didn't have to be totally submissive, and could in fact be his fairly dominant self.

Audi welcomed foster dogs into his home, particularly the girls. He helped a number of older dogs get settled while waiting for their permanent homes. As long as they let him think he was in charge, they were happy together. He always took care of his cats and protected them from visitors, foster dogs, and the perils out the back yard – if only the cats had known that when Audi first moved in, it would have been a much easier move for them.

Arthritis started to slow Audi down in his last year, but he still enjoyed even the short walks, and visitors, and just hanging out. In the end, his kidneys failed. It was sudden, quick, and unresponsive to treatment. To the last, he was willing to stay and keep struggling until I was ready to let him go. As always, he looked out for his family and wanted what was best for us.

The first time I took him to the dog park, he'd get about 10 feet ahead, and then stop, look back, and wait for me to catch up. After a few months, he'd go running happily off down whichever path caught his attention. If I chose a different one, he'd just run back to where they split, and come charging towards me. When I think of him now, I see him running full speed towards me, with a big smile. Whatever he was running away from when he first ended up in the shelter, he was running for the sheer joy of it in his last years.

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