Say hello to Sammie, a 60 pound Lab / Siberian Husky / German Short-hair Pointer mix, according to genetic test results. Born in 2006, I pulled her from death row at The Humane Society of Williamson County in 2007 (this was before the shelter went no-kill). My intention was to foster her until her adoption by someone else. Instead, after several fruitless months of trying to find her a new home, I gave up and reluctantly adopted her. Make no mistake, I did and do love her but at the time I already had five dogs - now I have eight dogs - and I was not looking to add to the pack. Three years later, unfortunately, Sammie must move to a new home or else go back to the shelter where she faces a bleak and uncertain future.
Sammie is a sweet girl who wants just to hang around me (and you, too, I hope). A quiet dog, she hardly ever barks, unless a cat dares to trespass across the front lawn. When she sees the one she loves, she just bows down, wagging her whole body but making not a sound. Sammie is friendly to those she knows; meet her once and she is your friend forever. Affectionate, she is gentle with her kisses and will lean right into you. She loves - just LOVES - to go on walks, but is also content to curl up next to you doing nothing at all.
Speaking of walks, the longer the better. She can be quite the puller, however. Ideally, she ought to be trained to be a better walker - yes, I should have done that for you already, I apologize for neglecting that - but until or unless she gets that training, best to use a harness (not just any harness, though) or prong collar.
Sammie loves attention and thrives on it. I got home from work and while most of my pack is barking, she would silently come running up with one of her toys, inviting me to chase her around the house. What usually happened is that one or two of my other young dogs would start chasing her around, instead. Lots of fun to watch.
Ecstatic about car rides, there's nowhere she doesn't want to go. Open the door and she flies into her seat. Once in, she never bothers the driver and tries to climb into the front seat. No car sickness, either. She does like stick her nose out of the window, though, especially visiting her favorite place on earth, the drive-thru!
Sammie is trained. She knows sit, stay, come, down, leave it, take it. She is definitely house-trained, too. She is very much used to having a doggie door but she can hold it if need be for quite a while.
Of some of the things Sammie does not do, count digging in the yard, climbing the fence, and barking at nothing. No separation anxiety, either. You can leave home with assurance that it and she will be the same upon your return.
In her home life, Sammie lives inside most of the time. She came and went at all hours of the day but unless she was playing with the youngsters, she was - probably - inside out of the heat, cold, wet or whatever. Even so, it is obvious that this girl thrives on human company and should not be left to fend for herself in a backyard somewhere, endless nights after day. She wants to be where her her human is.
She is used to sleeping on the human bed, usually right at the foot; no snoring and no fidgeting, either. A light sleeper, she can definitely be quick to alert you about strange noises. For that very reason, door-to-door sales people will likely go right past your house.
Quite the lover, Sammie's favorite thing is doing whatever you are doing. She is not exactly needy but certainly not independent, she just wants to make sure that she isn't missing out on anything exciting. That is, she may follow you from room to room in your house. Just give her a little rub behind the ears from time to time or a belly rub when flops over on her back and she is content.
Her favorite toy is the one she happens to have. Fuzzy squeak toys are popular but don't last very long. Rubber bones stuffed with treats are better but best of all is this big plastic ball that spews treats as it rolls. She just loves that toy and plays with it quite intently.
Sammie has what is called a "soft mouth", in that she'll gently take food from your fingertips - no biting! She also takes her time eating, deliberately and carefully, with no racing to the bottom of the bowl. NO food aggression, either, at least not towards me; you can take her bowl away without fear. There's not much she won't eat, and she loves her occasional trips to that place that starts with a "What" and ends in "burger".
Bananas, carrots, broccoli, peas, bread, eggs, hummus, peanut butter and apples are all her favorite food. Plus, of course, any meat product. She also eats non-food items, like socks, used tissues, grass and - when she can get it - cat crap.
For someone so short, she is an accomplished kitchen-counter server, so if you don't want it on the floor or in her mouth, keep the counter clean.
So why must Sammie leave her home? Because, unfortunately, she has lately been attacking my much older female dogs. Dogs with whom she has lived in relative harmony for many years are now in danger. Were I not at home when it happened the last few times, I'd have three fewer dogs today. As a result, she is now confined to a 10' x 6' cage for about 23 hours per day, with severely limited dog contact, out of the cage for only for a few brief walks to pee and poop then go back in the cage. She is basically in prison now, with no chance for parole from me. Wanting my dog back the way she was, I took her to a well-regarded professional dog behaviorist for help. His advice was devastating; there is nothing he can do. He said my best option is to euthanize the dog.
At this point, you are probably thinking, "What? A professional told him to euthanize his dog so he put her on craigslist, instead? Who in their right mind would take this dog?" My hope is that you would, because in your right mind you'll keep on reading and decide to give Sammie the home she needs, because I really do not want to put her down. But you need all the facts to make that decision. She has other issues as well and they are these:
Sammie has bitten a child - a "stage 1 bite", which is an abrasion of the skin - and would very likely do so again. I am on constant guard to prevent that or worse from happening again.
Given a chance, she would bite a jogger or bike rider or other person quickly coming towards her. She lunges at certain cars, too, although it is a mystery to me why she does so. She usually gives no warning at all; she goes from 0 to bite in the blink of an eye.
On the upside, Sammie has never bitten me or any of my friends. Odd thing about Sammie; she barks at and - I am certain - would bite a stranger approaching the front door. Once the stranger gets past the front door, though, she is all smiles and you are her new BFF.
If your neighbor has a fence fighting dog, especially a female dog, then it would be better to consider a adopting a dog other than Sammie. She is a fierce fence fighter in her own right, and is not likely to submit to any other dog. On the other hand, she has made many trips to the dog park utterly without incident. She doesn't play with other strange dogs but she certainly doesn't attack any of them, either.
Could Sammie ever again live with another dog, though? Maybe but probably not. She loves my younger male Mastiff / Boxer / Lab mix - whom, by the way, can NOT visit the dog park anymore, because he's too aggressive - and loves my younger female Terrier mix. I'm sure they don't understand why they are separated from her. Even now, they spend most of their days sleeping on the floor right next to Sammie's cage, just to be near her. I always catch them touching noses through the wire mesh. But for all I know, she could turn on them someday, too.
It should go with saying that Sammie could never share her home with a cat or other small animal.
Gosh, what's not to like about Sammie here? Who wants this headache, not to mention the possibility of civil and/or criminal charges if the dog succeeds in biting someone? I sure wouldn't, but I hope you would. Her only chance at living to old age is to go to another home. A home with no kids, no cats and no dogs next door, and no joggers anywhere. She might be OK with horses but that's about it. A home with an owner on constant guard - which, actually, every dog owner ought to be, anyway. In return you'll get a dog who is very sweet and loving 99.9% of the time. If I had no other dogs, I'd keep her forever. But I do have other dogs, so she has to be sweet and loving 100% of the time.
Still with me? Please know that I don't make this decision lightly; I love Sammie very much and hate that one way or another, Sammie is leaving my home. Hopefully to go your home.
Should you elect to adopt Sammy, I am requesting a $95 donation to the HSWC in lieu of a "re-homing fee". I don't want your money, I just want to see that you are willing to make a modest investment. Free dogs never go to good homes.
Sammie is in excellent physical condition, heartworm negative, intestinal parasite negative, flea-free, spayed, microchipped and current on all vaccinations. Should you be of right mind, please call to arrange an interview.
After just 1 lesson and a few days of training:
I'm quite pleased with what I've seen so far in just a few days and look forward to our walks now - I really used to dread them. The concern now is finding more challenges! So now I'm taking her to the hike and bike trail that runs along Brushy Creek, a place I'd never dare take her before; too many joggers, too many dogs, too many opportunities for bad things to happen. How'd she do? Quite well after a few corrections and lots of praise. Certainly room for improvement but over all much better than I'd hoped.