I got Sammi in March of…I think 1992 or 93. One of our hourly staff, a college student named Rachael, had been telling me how her boyfriend had gotten a dog for her, then found out from her landlord that dogs weren’t allowed at her apartment complex. So the boyfriend had the dog at his parent’s house. Apparently the parents didn’t like dogs so she was tied up in the garage with no contact at all except for feedings.
I have a soft spot when it comes to animals. I can’t stand seeing any creature, domestic or wild being mistreated. And I grew up with all sorts of critters…dogs, cats, fish, snakes, hamsters – I even had a white rat for three years before I developed an allergy and we had to find a new home for him. I think having pets is a requirement when you grow up in the country with a house full of kids. I also had a tendency to make friends with all the neighborhood pets, one time even a goat.
Still, all grown up, I prefer cats to anything else. But when Rachael told me about the dog and her maltreatment, my heart just went out to her. Before I knew what I was doing, I said I would take her, sight unseen. I had just bought my first house with an enclosed backyard, good for running around, so I thought I could manage dog ownership.
And so I became Sammi’s person. Sammi was the name she came with and I didn’t want to mess her up by calling her something else. However, she soon acquired the nickname and answered to Bubby (from the words babe and puppy.) She was part golden retriever, part cocker spaniel and already over a year old. Because of her confinement, she was submissive and had forgotten any training she had had. It took about 4-6 months to re-house break her, coming home at lunch to let her out and putting out newspapers at night. She looked like a half-sized golden retriever and had the personality as well.
Very good natured and sweet and eager to please, and even though I wasn’t sure about how I felt about keeping a dog, she eventually won me over. At that time, I also had 2 cats and they absolutely hated each other, but they both liked and got along well with Sammi.
Because she was still young, she had a ton of energy. She was, after all, a retriever and needed to run. We would walk about a mile every morning in the dark, and almost 2 miles each evening for the first two years I had her. We also loved playing frisbee, though I was a horrible thrower and she was bad at catching.
On weekends, we would go out to the country to Mom’s house where she could run free. She came to think of the country as her second home. She made friends with the neighbors’ dogs, in the city and the country. She tended to like smaller animals and was a total coward with dogs her size or bigger. There was a big, old black lab that she hung out with in the country and she had a toy poodle friend that she would play with in the city.
The hunter in her would come out with every squirrel she would chase, or each raccoon and possum she would tree or with her nose to the ground, following the turkey and deer trails. And of course, she loved the water, even enjoying her baths in the tub.