Our dog same had puppies. Who didn't want them? Read more to find out...
|Sam was one of my many mothers during the formative years. While growing up, I had my real mother, two older sisters, Aunt Gladys, and our dog Sam who all mothered me in one way or another. Over the years, I’ve had many other mothers. The others may be told of another time, because this is Sam’s story.
I remember the day my family went to pick up Sam. She was around two years old at the time and had belonged to a woman who no longer wanted Sam for some reason unknown to me. Sam was a slightly chunky German Shepherd, a little small for her breed, mostly black with a brown underbody. Her full name was Samantha, but we always called her Sam. Well, almost always. My mom would call her Samantha in that angry mother’s voice if Sam was digging in the flower beds or garden.
I remember sitting on the steps of our little poured concrete front porch with my mother and asking why we couldn't have a cat instead. It was in the summer before pre-school or kindergarten started, perhaps 1975. Oh, how I wanted a house cat. We had lots of barn cats, and at any given time, I knew which one I would bring to the house with me if the permission were ever granted. Alas, our home in was only for humans and dogs. Cats would not be permitted for many years to come. That is for another story.
Sam came to us with something uncommon in dog care. The woman who had her did not want to have Sam operated on, so she was giving her "the pill". Yes, our dog took “the pill” so she wouldn't get pregnant. Are you aware that "the pill" is not 100% effective on humans? Well, the same is true for dogs. We know this because Sam had a litter of puppies the next year.
By then, she was another mother to me. She took very good care of me. My mom says that when we had Sam, she could step out the back door and call her. Whichever direction Sam came running from, that is where I was and would soon follow. I remember playing in the snow with her, a kind of hide and seek in the drifts. In the summer, we’d run and jump together in the tall grass of the apple orchard behind our home. I always knew I was safe in her presence.
I was excited about having puppies since we had not had them before, and I’d heard they were so sweet. My friends said they smelled wonderful, they let you hold them like cats, and they were soft like cats. Although the rest of my family was wise as to the responsibility of puppies, I was in heaven over the idea. However, Sam was wise to the responsibility thing to, and she wanted no part of it.
Sam was one smart mama. When her puppies where about eight weeks old, which is supposed to be a good age to separate from their mother, she decided where each one could live. Sam walked up to one mile north of our home to deliver her puppies to our neighbors. I kid you not; this dog delivered her babies, one at a time, to some of our neighbors.
We started receiving phone calls asking if our dog had puppies, and if we’d like them back. “Pardon me?!” was the response. “Yes, I have a puppy. It was on my front door step when I got home. I think it’s yours because it looks a lot like your dog Sam.” Sam had decided she did not want to be the mother to her puppies.
When people refer to the good old days, I think that includes the days when we knew all of our neighbors. We talked to our neighbors. We knew each other’s pets. My mom belonged to a coffee club where the mothers in the neighborhood gathered once-a-month to visit and let us kids play. Of course, this included playing with any pets at the various homes. Anyone who had been to our home had met Sam.
Sure enough, these calls were for us, and the puppies were those of our dog Sam. Not only did she deliver the puppies to our neighbors, but only to those we had the most contact with. Unfortunately for Sam, all of them were returned to us. Unfortunately for the puppies, I think they all ended up at the at an animal shelter, and not the kind that keeps them to continue sheltering them.
After the puppies where born, I don’t think my parents could get her spayed fast enough. We were a one-dog farm, and my family intended to keep it that way. Sam quite agreed with that approach to life on the Bourner farm.
As dogs go, Sam was a fantastic mother. Perhaps she did not want puppies of her own, because she had me as her charge. It could be that she preferred human children. Maybe she felt she could only take care of one child properly over the long haul, because while she had her puppies she cared for them with gentle love and kindness. I don’t know her reasoning, but I know that when I think of my many mothers, I think of our dog Sam.