I have mentioned Sam the dog, who belongs to neighbor John’s stepson, at least nominally. Sam is a very shy dog who will approach almost no one. Some time after John’s stepson said he wanted a dog, this one apparently became available. John’s helper Ron picked him up from someone who apparently kept him on a line. When he reached John’s house, he was afraid of everyone but Ron and, eventually, John’s stepson. He was a completely wild dog. He knew nothing of doghouses. John and his wife bought a nice, if somewhat large, doghouse for him but couldn’t get him to stay in it. John said that Sam slept in the woods, even when we had snow last winter.
And then, as I said in the earlier post, one day Zeke escaped and went down to John’s where he met Sam. They apparently became fast friends, because Sam soon began to stay at our house during the day, going home to eat his evening meal, spend the night under John’s bulldoze (he finally learned that), and eat breakfast, before coming back up here. He accompanied us around the house when I took Zeke and Lucy for their constitutionals, running around and roughhousing with Zeke. He went with us on our long morning walks.
Before long he was eating at John’s and sleeping in our yard.
Sam lets us pet him now. He even rolls over on his back so we can rub his belly. When we come outside he comes running to us. When I took the dogs for their walk Wednesday morning Sam was not around. I had gone only a few hundred yards down the road and around the corner when Leah called and said Sam was lying in our driveway. I shouted a few times for Sam and he came running.
Here’s the movie in another format.
Zeke won’t do that.
When cold weather was forecasted, I asked John to bring Sam’s doghouse (the one he wouldn’t use at John’s house) up and put it in our yard. That evening I half picked up, half led Sam to the dog house and put him in. He went to the end and curled up. I stuck my head and shoulder through the door and petted him for a while, telling him how comfortable he would be in the house. He remained in the house for a few minutes after I left, but ended up in the woods a few feet from it. That night I went through this routine three times, and he spent the night outside. The next night I did the same thing, and so did he. He was more willing to enter the doghouse, but he refused to stay inside after I left.
On the third night he slept in the doghouse.
Wednesday we drove over to Centre, Alabama, to meet someone Leah knows for lunch. It started raining shortly after we left and continues as I write this (around 8 pm). Sam has been in his doghouse all this time.
Sam’s only real fault is that he chases the cats, a sin that is, unfortunately, unforgivable in this household.
From the beginning we have intended to get Sam to a rescue group to be adopted by someone who will give him the training, attention and affection he needs. We have been in contact with a woman who works with a local rescue group (Animal Rescue Foundation), and she wants us to bring him to a vet’s office so she can get a video of him interacting with a human (me). Then, she says, they might be able to get him on a transport to an animal shelter (as opposed to a pound) that can adopt him out. This is typically in a northern or midwestern state where, apparently, dogs are not considered throwaway trash when they are no longer wanted.
We have adopted out a lot of dogs — a lot — and I know it can be successful. I know a lot of people foster dogs and cats until they can be adopted by a new owner. These people are animal lovers who may foster a dog for months, and then release it to a stranger. And I know that dogs can develop deep and strong attachments to strangers, given time; many of my own dogs are a testament to that. I know that we can’t keep a dog that chases cats. Besides, we already have two dogs and five cats, and I know that if anyone should get a new pet, it’s Leah, who needs a cat that can give and accept affection, unlike our current herd.
And still I feel guilty about this.