Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SAMSON, OUR NEW DOG

As some of you know, just a week after I got home from Illinois we had to put our beloved dog Allie to sleep. It came as quite a shock to Deirdre and I we told ourselves that it would be a while before we got another dog. Allie was such a sweet and gentle animal who taught us all a lot about how to live and die with dignity. Well, last week, Dee heard about Samson (who was then named Danson) who was a rescue dog living at the West Michigan Regional Laboratory (WMRL). The WMRL is located on the Calvin College campus and it is a joint venture between Calvin College, Michigan State University and Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids. The lab will use dogs to simulate service animals and they will train first responders on what to do if their service dog is injured or incapacitated. One of Dee's co-workers told her about Danson, who is a German Shepherd Dog mix who had been at the lab for a little more than two months. The WMRL is a "no-kill" lab, so all of the animals it gets it keeps until a suitable home is found. Well, we met Danson and he touched us both. He is about a year old and just full of energy. After seeing Danson and knowing that we had the resources to give him a good home, we adopted him as of Monday, 12 November. We brought him home and he was racing all over the house, checking out all the new smells and sights. It is clear that his original owners, whom we found out just abandoned him as Danson was a stray wandering around Grand Rapids, had taught him a few commands., but he also has some bad habits we will need to correct.

As is often said, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Allie was such an easy dog to train and we are hoping that Samson is as well. He is already recognizing his new name (neither Dee nor I liked his shelter namd of Danson!) and he knows how to sit, stay and come. We bought him different kind of collar, called a Gentle Leader headcollar, and I just tried it out. What a difference! Samson weighs about 60 pounds and he has incredible strength. When we took him out for a walk last night he was pulling us all over the place. Well, the Gentle Leader is a different type of collar and it boats "Immediate gentle control that is painless to the dog and never chokes." I just fitter Samson with the collar (you can see it in the photos) and we went for a walk. It was so easy to take him on a walk. This morning it took a lot of strength to control him with his traditional collar, but on this most recent walk I literally controlled him with two fingers! For any of you who are "dog people," you gotta check out the website for this collar. Samson is a completely different dog when he is wearing this headcollar!

This is the first of many posts about our new dog. He really is sweet and with a little training on both sides of the leash, he will be a welcome member of our family.

P.S. The option to upload photos in Blogspot seems to be having some technical difficulty. Look for some photos of Samson soon!

1 comment:

John said...

well thank you all to hell for calling me with the good news !