Sammy was rescued by a very conscientious, generous young man in November from someone who kept Sammy in an outdoor kennel 24/7 without exercising him or controlling his food. Sammy did well at his new home where he had another dog and cat to play with, but his new owner realized that his work schedule would not give Sammy the attention and exercise required to help him lose his weight and asked RAGOM to help find Sammy a good home that could give him all he deserves and more. Sammy is a lucky boy to have someone care so much and now to be a RAGOM boy! Sammy has been with us for almost 2 weeks and he is as wonderful as he is cute!
As you can see, Sammy is a very well disguised, 3 year old, “GR Mix” who seems to be wearing a sort of a 96lb.,white lab-mix suit that is much too big for his little 3 yr. old frame. He has been to the vet and had all his shots. He has been neutered and is completely potty-trained. The vet pronounced him healthy except for his 96 lb. weight and suggested a healthier weight of 65-68 lbs. so a reduced diet and exercise plan is in place. Because Sammy was kept penned up with unlimited food and little exercise he is way too heavy; so we are already getting him out with our two adopted dogs with whom he gets along very well.
Sammy is extremely friendly around people and craves affection and returns it with lots of licks. Though he and our cats have not yet settled on a game they all equally enjoy, he has taken to them from the start. They see him mostly as an obstacle to their food dishes. Sammy did live in harmony with the Good Samaritan's cat and so we believe Sammy is trying overly hard to make friends with ours.
For the first three nights, one of us slept downstairs on the couch by his kennel, because he seemed to be very anxious to be close to us at all times. Since then he is quite content to sleep in it while all us, the other two and four legged folks retire to the upstairs. We have a spiral metal staircase that Sammy is not quite ready to attempt that would lead him upstairs with us, but in time, we believe he will figure it out as all our other fur friends have. He is really a cuddle bug!
Sammy is learning to obey some commands. He will sit occasionally when we ask him at the right time, and we are getting better at telling when that is. He almost always comes when called by name. Though we have kept him on a long 20’ rope attached to his tether, we really don’t have to tug on it to get his attention most of the time. He does not heel at all when we are walking him, but we’ll be working on that. Sammy loves his walks although he's not the best walker yet---he really was never leash-walked, so there is a bit of a learning curve here.
In making his transition to our home, Sammy did not eat for the first three days, but gradually took a little food from our hands, increasing the amount every day. Of course now, Sammy is eating just fine from his bowl---having now settled in.
Sammy LOVES to play fetch and could play for hours so we know there is a little young boy in that big body just dying to get out and play. Sammy was boundary trained at this last home (no fence) and could be trusted to play in the yard and do his business without worry. At his foster home, Sammy is tethered on a 20'-30' line for his safety and of course, does very well within a fenced area. Sammy is also crate-trained, but had free roam at his previous home without issue. He likes to go in his crate just for comfort...often with the door left open.
Sammy's only bad habit we've found is that when he sees an unknown doggie at the park, or on a walk, or at a distance from home, he starts barking like crazy until he can meet the dog. Once given the opportunity to meet his new friend and after a few rear-end sniffs, he's happy to settle down and carry on without a peep. Sammy enjoys other dogs very much and lived with a young female Lab at the Good Samaritan's home. We don't believe he has to have another dog in his home, but Sammy would be a perfect candidate for doggie daycares, dog parks, and lots of doggie friends to meet and greet and enjoy.
Granted--not the most flattering photo of Sammy (and we hope it doesn't go "viral") but felt it was a good "before" weight loss photo. This poor boy needs to drop his extra "girth" so he can really be all he's meant to be and we are here to help him start his transformation to "just right." We hope everyone in RAGOMland will help us cheer him on!
More to come as we continue to enjoy our new guest. If you are interested in meeting this sweet boy, please contact your placement advisor!
Sammy is continuing to make a way for himself in our household. His morning starts with a romp outside with his foster brother, Old Grrrshwin, and sister, Susie a RAGOM-rescued puppy mill mom, who are eager to show him how doggies get along.
While we fix breakfasts for everyone, he has a chance to continue his acquaintance with one of the resident cats, Chopin. The two are now getting along quite well, especially since Sammy has decided for the moment not to go up the winding staircase, leaving Chopin a place to R&R when Sammy wants to play more of the game than he does. It won’t be long, though before Sammy will be bounding up the stairs like the rest of the pack.
Sammy & Chopin
Time for a little rest
After a bit of a rest in his favorite indoor spot with his favorite indoor ball, Sammy is ready for some serious fun: his outdoor ball-chasing with his fitness coach, Susie. Sammy has had some experience with ball retrieving before he came to us and it seems to be an activity he craves almost as much as getting his tummy rubbed.
Susie is faster (for now), but Sammy can hold his own and will play the ball game for as long as our arms hold out to throw it – and then some. He races along a few steps behind Susie and snatches the ball almost as often as she does. Grrrshwin, on the other hand, thinks ball chasing should be left up to the younger generation.
Finally, a bit of down time for everyone.
So after a bit over a week we have taught Sammy that he’s welcome. He’s taught us that he is friendly to everyone who comes to the house, loving and cooperative, energetic and very playful. While playing on the lake he was at first apprehensive when a neighbor dog approached, but after a few sniffs all around he knew he had made a new friend. He loves to lie around and get petted and pampered, and is generous with licks in return. He also seems to be responding to the reduced diet he has, and will soon be able to give his mentor, Susie, a real run for her money (or ball.)
Sammy will be making his BIG RAGOM debut out at the Highland Park Chuck & Don's from 12:30-2:00. Come out and meet this special Golden Boy :) He is sure to charm you to death!
SAMMY’S WEEK 3/14/12
Sammy continues to make progress in his work. We introduced him to a neighbor’s dog, Boots. He barked a little at first but after a few sniffs, decided that Boots was acceptable – even enjoyable. We then went to a park with Sammy, Susie and Grrrshwin; Sammy and Susie on long ropes. Both of them did a bit of ball chasing and semi-retrieving, but were distracted by all the other dogs there. Sammy barked at most of them, but except for one instance, he seemed to make peace with them readily. He never gave any sign of aggression, just a bit of anxiety and eagerness to meet other potential friends. We were able to redirect his attention most of the time, and reward him with treats.
One thing Sammy discovered: he’s wild about lettuce and cabbage. Should help him in his quest to be less Sammy and more energy.
Sammy is still his loveable self. Lots of licks, smiles and hankering for petting and scratching. He loves to wrestle. We have discovered that he isn’t bothered by the vacuum (which he provides plenty of work for). He seems to have no negative or aggressive reactions about his food or toys around the other dogs. This morning we met two next door dogs out on a walk. Sammy did a bit of whimpering, but soon realized that he had nothing to fear from them and came up for a sniff. Then this evening, while walking with Grrrshwin and Susie, he met a neighbor dog, whom he had seen last week on the ice. This time, no barking; just a bit of a sniff and some tail wag. So he may be starting to realize that the outside dogs are more a chance for an adventure than a threat.
He has not yet realized that his ambition to be an ideal lap dog is still a few pounds and a few more miles of walks and runs and ball-chasing in the future.
Sammy has continued to meet the neighbor dogs with a bit of noise, but even more sniffs and tail wags. A few days ago during the thunder storm, he didn’t seem overly concerned.
Sammy has learned to share all the bones and toys
with Grrrshwin and Susie - just not now.
Sammy has a fondness for lettuce which should help his
fitness program. He even eats his salad first!
Sammy, Chopin, and some other guy getting
the crossword puzzle done.
Sammy and the whole gang in the car
for their daily great romp in the park.
As of today Sammy has been with us for five weeks, and has settled in with Susie and Grrrshwin, running with them to take his part in the greeting committee whenever anyone comes to the door. He’s come to an agreement with Chopin that he will continue to chase the cat whenever he sees him and Chopin will continue to act as though he’s outraged, run up the stairs hissing, only to return within moments to play it all out again. Neither of them seems to tire of the game. Midori, our female recluse cat, stays upstairs and thinks the boys are silly; she won’t have anything to do with our new foster – for now.
But everyone else thinks he’s adorable (except Grrrshwin who thinks Sammy is an oddly moveable piece of overstuffed furniture). In addition to his daily excursions to the park, Sammy has been to two events where he was able to meet people (big and little – two and four-legged) and seems to love them all. Both at Chuck and Don’s in Highland Park and at PetCo in Brooklyn Park he seemed enjoy sniffing and wagging at everyone, and getting scratched and petted by young and old – after barking to get their attention. Though he sometime startles when announcing his intention to befriend every dog he sees, he has shown zero tendencies to want to do anything but introduce himself.
Sammy has been making progress in several areas. When we weighed him a week ago he had dropped from 96 pounds to 86, a result of daily long romps and better food control. He still barks a lot at dogs we encounter, but not as much as he first did, and a few times not at all. After some griping about a gentle leader, he seems to have accepted it as a prelude to fun times (and treats) and has begun to at least consider the possibility of heeling now and then. He loves car rides, ignores vacuum cleaners and thunder and two days ago he learned that he could make it up our circular stairs. Not too crazy about the return trip, though.
Yesterday we found a tick on him. Today we got him some tick and heartworm meds.
So that’s Sammy: He’s “wormed” his way into our hearts - still lovable, energetic, enthusiastic, mostly cooperative, very gentle, eager to learn (when it’s learning time), always up for a new adventure.
Sammy at PetCo Greeting before Meeting
Sammy & Chopin Act III, Scene 12
Sammy waiting patiently for one of his servants to give tummy rubs
On Friday Sammy had a couple of triumphs. We went out early enough to a local park so that there were no other dogs around but Sammy and Our Gang. He got in an hour of running about (at the end of his 30’ rope) with his training partner, Susie. Then when a couple other dogs showed up, Sammy greeted them with the shortest of yaps, and then after a sniff and a wag, he went on about his romp. He has, however, discovered squirrels and has spent considerable effort to teach them Sammy-talk. They show no interest in the language lesson, and seem not inclined to give Sammy climbing lessons, so for now they’ll have to play together separately.
Toward the end of the day Sammy (whether he knew it or not) wanted to check to see how his fitness program was going. So he hopped into the back of the car and had us, his people, take him to the friendly scale of the friendly folks at Otter Lake Animal Clinic for a weigh-in. He is now 80 pounds! Over a third of the way to his goal! He met three dogs there and all had a few barks and sniffs (the dogs, that is. We foster folks were busy celebrating his progress.)
At the park, Sammy has begun to greet dogs he has met with a few yaps and goes immediately to wags and sniffs. It seems that he might be getting a bit more comfortable with the process of meeting other dogs. Squirrels are another matter, however. He keeps insisting on giving them vigorous lessons in “Sammy talk”. They do not seem to be getting the message, but that doesn’t seem to discourage him from insistent trying.
One thing we’re still perfecting is Sammy understands of the words “Sammy, COME.” While he is always on the end of his long rope when we’re out, it takes a bunch of tugs and vocal calls to get his attention. Then he’s glad to trot over for treats, unless he thinks a squirrel has a better offer.
On the weight front, he seems to continue to be satisfied with the reduced calories he’s getting. He still thinks carrots and lettuce are treats, so that part of it is going fine. This Friday, we’ll all go to the vet for Sammy’s bi-weekly weigh in. We’re keeping our respective fingers and paws crossed.
Sammy and Susie Greeting Guests at the front door
Sammy after his hard day in his favorite place with his favorite feet
What do we know so far about our friend? Sammy is wonderfully outgoing, gentle and playful. He enjoys greeting people at the door, and very much wants to be around us, following the fascinating things we do, and cuddling up immediately when we’re on the couch where he gets scratches under his chin, behind his ears and especially on his tummy. He gets along extremely well with our permanent resident dogs, Susie and Grrrshwin, and one of the cats, Chopin. He and the other cat, Midori have, so far, agreed to disagree about what constitutes fun games. He is to sum up, a joy to be around. He’s even taken to talking to us in the morning – a sort of “ROLROLLGRRROOROO”. When I “ROLR…” back, he just barks at me. He thinks I’m as hard to talk to as the squirrels.
He has taken to his new diet with calm acceptance, and seems to have no food aggression issues. We feed all three dogs at the same time and he takes minor delays in stride, while still holding his own in their speed-eating contests. His reduced caloric intake, including his fondness for lettuce, cabbage and carrot treats, has produced a leaner, more energetic Sammy. Even his way of walking has changed. One thing we’ve noticed lately is his reduced panting. When he first arrived he seemed to be always heavily panting, whether from excitement, anxiety or exertion. Now he pants after running, but seems to calm down more quickly.
Sammy still loves to approach and sniff dogs, but the past few days at parks, he doesn’t seem to bark at them as much or for as long as he was doing just two weeks ago. He seems to remember dogs he has met before, but even with new arrivals he is calmer than he was. He does remember every tree he has seen a squirrel in and runs to them when he can. He continues to let them know loudly that he’s ready to play when they are. They continue to think he’s definitely not part of the in-crowd.
Sammy playing squirrel games
We aren’t making a whole lot of progress with verbal commands except for “SIT”, though he does come when called in the house. Maybe he has a different understanding of what the word ‘command’ means. For us a tug on his rope and “Sammy, Come!” means “Get over here immediately and have a nice treat!” Sammy seems to hear something on the order of “those nice folks way over there seem to think that when I’m through sniffing the ground, chatting with my tree friends, more sniffing the ground, scratching myself, sniffing the air…etc. I may want to consider the possibility of trying to untangle my rope from these saplings, ambling over to somewhere near where they are and see if they are doing anything remotely more interesting than what I’m doing now.”
So, we’ll continue to see what we can come up with.
We had a bit of unintended consequences the other day. As we were getting the herd out of the car and playing out the long rope for Sammy to run with the squirrels, we noticed a distinct lack of Sammy on the other end of the leash. Since “Sammy, Come!” still has different meanings for him and us, we kind of freaked. Luckily Sammy went immediately to his favorite squirrel tree, where we got him back into what passes for control. Short story, shorter: Sammy minus 20 pounds = smaller neck. He neglected to tell us. Must have had other things on his mind.
Sammy says, "It's time for squirrel games!"
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SAMMY! Last week he hopped on the scale again, and then off, and then turned around, and then sniffed someone who came in, and then yipped at a fellow dog and finally, back on the on the scale: 78#! Good Boy!
Mellow Sammy is continuing to get mellower, at least where species of his persuasion are concerned. He continues to discover he can make more doggie friends with sniffs and tail wags than incessant barking. The other day we were late getting to the park and so several dogs came by whom he hadn’t met. He used his new skills and met them all with barely a yip. He also seems to be a bit more aware that if he comes back to us when we call before we tug on his long rope the result is often a treat. While this in no way takes precedent over his appointments with his squirrel buddies, we seem to be climbing a step or two on his scale of priorities.
With the advent of summer weather, we wondered how Sammy would take to the lake. So far he has been content to follow us down to the end of the dock, discover that he can’t quite get close enough to get a drink, and hop on the boat. We’ll see what he gets into once the ducks start making their visits.
A few days later, another day in the park. Another bunch of strange dogs. Another calm Sammy. Now if we could only figure out how to say, “Come over here to us and experience something more entertaining than squirrels” in Sammy-talk, a walk in the park would be, well, a walk in the park.
Sammy thinks he’s king; we’re still negotiating
Sammy running from one squirrel-klatch to another
Sammy, His Friends call him Slim(mer)
Sammy has been with us three months. He seems to be making steady progress in the few issues we noticed when he arrived and maintaining all the people-friendly, doggie-lovin’qualities we first noticed when he jumped into our car as we picked him up from his rescuer.
His major issue, of course, was his weight. He came to us weighing 96 pounds, but he and the vet and we agreed that if he followed the ”WeightMinders” program he would be a happier doggie. So Sammy has been eating a high quality lo cal dog food twice a day mixed half and half with veggies (lettuce, squash, cabbage, carrots, etc.). He has also been getting a romp outside for about an hour in the morning during which he can run at the end of his long rope, and tear around squirrel trees. Each morning he has his mental map of their locations and rushes to check if they have finally caught on to what a fine companion he would make. They remain noncommittal. But whether they know it or not, the squirrels have helped Sammy get down to 73 pounds!
Sammy’s other issue seemed to be excessive barking at other dogs. He has almost completely stopped that, content to sniff and wag. To paraphrase an old song, he’s “got dog class and he’s got dog style.”
We got him to try the water a bit by our dock. While he seemed to enjoy sloshing around in the shallow part around the dock, Sammy didn’t seem inclined to swim beyond that, and was glad to get back on the dock and share his wet fur with us.
Last Saturday we joined the hot but happy crowd at Chuck and Don’s in Blaine for a bit of sniffing and wagging. Sammy seemed to be content for the most part to bark a bit and then get to the real fun of checking out the other dogs. He got a bit more attention from the folks there, some of whom seemed to be interested in taking him home. We’ll see if anything develops.
Sammy's Weight Program
Yesterday, after a romp in the park with Susie, a good by yap at his squirrels, and a cool swim, Sammy jumped into the car of his adoptive folks and went to his new permanent home.
We’ll miss him, but our loss is their and his great gain.
Sammy “swimming off into the sunset”