About 40 years ago, newly married Penney and Marc were discussing getting a dog. Both had dogs in their youth, Penney quite a bit, and Marc only for a year or so (technically it was his sisters dog) and since they were close to buying their first house, Penney thought the time was ripe to get one. She asked Marc what breed he preferred. Marc did his research and settled on Samoyeds. The breed met all the main criteria: they were friendly; family oriented good tempered, and smart. And there it was … the second paragraph in the breed description: "Samoyeds do not like cats". And neither did Marc! What a perfect breed! What a perfect match!
Unfortunately, the explanation did not include the disclaimer that Samoyeds didn’t like cats because they were afraid of them, which Marc found out only much later.
Samoyeds originated in Northern Russia. They were bred as sled dogs, but unlike other Nordic breeds, they spent their nights inside the tents or igloos with the rest of the family. They slept with the family, providing warmth and companionship during the nights. The result is a very intelligent, loyal, people-oriented breed. This has some disadvantages. They are difficult dawgs to keep entertained, as they don’t play normal “Dog” games. If you throw a ball, a Sammy will go get it for you. If you throw it again, they will figure you didn’t want it and walk away. They are also very curious. If there is a possibility to go exploring; a gate left open, for example, they will not hesitate to take it. They will eventually come home, but only when their curiosity has been satisfied. As “people” dawgs, they do not like being left alone. Bringing in the groceries can set off a gamut of emotions in a Sam: “They’re back. Great! Wonderful!”, but going out for another bag will bring on the reverse: “Oh no, they’ve left. We’re all alone! What will we do! Oh, they’re back. Great! Wonderful!”
Samoyeds are known for their smiles. When they are happy, they have the biggest, brightest smiles of any dawg. If they aren't happy, though, a smile will not be forthcoming, so it is relatively easy to judge their moods.
Over the years our dawgs have been responsible for the creation of many memories and these stories represent some of them. Some of the prevailing themes that you will find are the loyalty, intelligence, and love of people that Samoyeds have.
Poppey (aka Poppy) is our most recent project. She came from a rescue group in California. She is a bundle of energy, and a handful, for sure. Poppey is a mix of Samoyed (looks) and American Husky (temperment).
Poppy joined us on May 2, 2023 - At that point we had been 136 days without any puppies in our lives - the longest ever. We are still trying to get used to each other - this is the first dog we've had that is distrustful of people - which is taking all of us some getting used to.
Poppy loves playing soccer and trying to chase squirrels, deer, squirrels, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits. But she really loves squirrels! Since she is always on leashes while on walks, this typically results in quickly finding out that her leash is exactly 8 feet long!
The Three Amigos
I used to have a scar on my right hand. I got it trying to feed Nana when she was sick. Before we lost nana, she spent a while in the puppy hospital. I spent a lot of time there with her, and she developed a fear of anyone touching her neck area. It wasn't that it hurt, it was more the fear that it 'might' hurt. so she took to biting. It was amazing that this really sick dawg was fast enough to swing her head around and chomp into something (a hand, an arm, a thumb ... whatever) before you could react. The professors at Ohio State said that it was a good learning experience for the students, although I'm not sure that the students appreciated the lesson. Nana got me good a few times, and I've her teeth marks on my wrist for over 4 weeks now.
After a hard-fought battle, we lost Nana on June 19th, 2008.
We went for a few weeks without any dawgs … the first time that we didn’t have Sammies in our lives for 24 years.
I was getting ready to go to work on July 7th and Penney mentioned that I hadn’t slept very well and was something wrong. I commented that it was very quiet in the house at night, and Penney responded with “Well, I’m glad you said that. I’ve been looking on the Internet and there are some Samoyeds up in Michigan looking for a home. Penney made a few calls, and we got into the van on Sunday and drove the 3 ½ hours up to ???. We had decided that we wanted two dogs, and they had two good candidates for us.
We knew we wanted Gracey – a six-month-old Puppy, and Bodey, who they felt they would not be able to place because of some aggression issues and didn’t like being touched – they had showed us a video of them trying to brush Bodey with a brush on a pole, and Bodey had turned and snapped the pole in two. We thought we could work with him, and we could provide him with a good home.
Unfortunately, Bodey turned his aggression on Gracey, so the shelter suggested that we go for a walk with a third dog in between, and easy going dog named Homer. That worked well, and Penney will swear that as we were walking them she heard someone mutter “Two. Three. How much harder would three be than two”.
The rest is history. We drove up to get two puppies, came back with three. And we never looked back.
As we were driving back from Michigan I glanced at my right hand. The scar I had for 4 weeks was gone.
Artful Dodger Dawg
Circa 2007 – January 8, 2023
Dodger was the middle of the three dawgs we got that fateful day, July 13th, 2008.
I’d really like to say that Dodger was a god dawg, but it’s mischievous that comes to mind. Or maybe stubborn. And for years he was the one of the three that came when you called “Bad Dawg” – well, didn’t really come, but he was the one that looked up – the only one that looked up. And his smile could light up the room and get you to forgive him (almost) anything – “Hey, I’m you’re Little Boy, I didn’t mean it”. Out of all our dawgs, Dodger had the biggest heart.
He came from the rescue center in mid July 2008, about a year old, with “Homer” as his name. We didn’t want him to be known as that and it took us a couple of weeks before we settled on “Artful Dodger Dawg” – taken from Oliver Twist, a thief with a big heart. The week after we adopted him, I was working on something on my laptop at the dining room table and he came and sat on my feet. I thought that it was awesome, I hadn’t had a dawg do that in years. Eventually he got up and walked away, I got up and had no shoelaces. His name was born. Bob and Louise were visiting that fall and I told them the story. Bob said “Right. There is no way a dog could do that without you noticing”. I told him to look down, and sure enough, there was Dodger, gnawing away at Bob’s shoelaces.
His reputation as a delinquent thief was cemented that December. I was watching a hockey game on TV and he walked up to the Christmas tree and took a glass ornament off the tree and walked back to his cage. My heart was in my throat, thinking how expensive that surgery was going to be. He went into his cage and after a minute I coaxed him out, only to find 7 glass balls, all perfectly intact. If we were ever missing anything in the house, the first words out were “Dodger!!!” followed look into his cage.
He was also known as “The dawg that ate a couch” (not at one sitting) but was most famous for his escapes. Many a day Penney and I spent trying to find him in the woods, and typically, after a couple of hours, we’d find him standing on the outside of the back gate, covered in mud, with an expression that clearly said “What???? If you want me IN the back yard, just open the gate”. He ran away so often that one of our neighbors commented “Did you ever think that maybe he doesn’t want to be with you?” But he did. He’d always come back and sit by the gate with his “What?? I just went exploring a bit” expression. Two springs ago was the last time he escaped. We always walked him on a leash, even after his rear legs started to go. We put the leash down to do something, looked up, and he was gone. The snow was knee deep, and by the time I caught up with him he couldn’t walk, so I had to carry him back. No complaints at all from him, I was expecting a squirming dawg, but he just settled into my chest and let me carry him out.
And of course the singing dawg. It started as a trio, although Bodey really just barked, so it was Gracey, and (mainly) Dodger to sing. Every day, as soon as Penney would head up to the shower, Gracey would give a couple of barks, and then Dodger would start to sing. And when they tested the tornado alarms on Wednesday, Dodger would perk right up and howl back at them. After Bodey, Gracey stopped singing, but would get Dodger started and would bark along. After Gracey, Dodger never sang again. They always refused to let us video them, always stopping as soon as they saw us pull out a phone (we do have some audio, taken while we were hiding).
A couple of years ago our walks with Dodger started to get shorter. We went from the end of the driveway, to half way and eventually a third of the way to the stream. When his legs gave out altogether, we put him in a cart that supported his rear legs. I took him a week to get used to it, and then he was loving it, over gravel, branches, whatever, just going where HE wanted to go and daring us to keep up with him. When he started to lose strength in his front, Penney gave him treats at certain points in the walk and it took him two days to catch on. He would get to a “treat point” and stop – refusing to take one step further until he got his treat, then would happily walk forward until the next point. When he’d had enough, he’d turn himself around, and if we wanted him to go further, he’d plant his legs and refuse to go. Stubborn when he didn’t get his way.
Gracey Anna Dawg
January 2008 – June 3, 2022
AKA Silly Goose. The youngest of the 3 Amigos.
Gracey was the perfect dawg. She seldom got into trouble, and when she did she was always contrite. She was very well behaved, came when called (most of the time was the only dawg we've had that I would walk off leash. She was also the most expensive dawg we've ever had, with 4 forign object surgeries, 1 scope and 1 induced vomiting. She spent a good part of her life wearing a mask when she was outside, not because she would ever bite anyone, but because she would eat anything!
Gracey, like almost most of our Dawgs, was more comfortable Penney. She loved her Poppa, but would tend to gravitate to Penney for comfort, Poppa for playing. Except for the times when she was sick. Then she was definatly 'Daddy's Girl". When she swollowed something and had to go to the vet, we'd know because she would come right to Marc and let him know she wsn't feeling well. When she wouldn't eat after her many surgeries, it was Poppa down on the floor, feeding her by hand.
Gracey loved to run. The fondest memory I have is Gracey in a full run, a huge smile on her face. She was able to do this all her life - Penney got some great pictures of her a few months before she died.
Circa 2007 – March 28, 2017
The oldest, and leader, of the 3 Amigos.
Bodey was my dawg. He loved Penney, but he bonded very quickly with me. We knew the extent 1 week after the three dawgs came to live with us, a hot Sunday where I had spent the morning working outside. I came in for lunch and after eating lay down on the couch and took a short nap. Bodey crawled up, got into my arms and we napped together. After that, any time I sat down on the couch, Bodey was there to jump up with me - eventually it got to the point where as soon as I sat down, all 3 dawgs were on top of me, Bodey always on my chest.
Penney would say that when I was gone, Bodey would always wait by the window for me to come home. If there was any noise from outside, he'd be over to the window to see if it was me.
Circa 1992 – May 8, 2008
“Jazzy” Dawg came into our lives on December 22, 1996, after we found out that Inga had cancer. Kodey had never been alone in his life, and we felt that he would need a companion. The side benefit was that having a young pup in the house added a few months to Inga’s life. Jazzy was a ‘rescue’ dawg, one we got through the Central Ohio Samoyed Rescue. Jasmine is the name she came with, and we kept it.
When I think of Jazzy I think of strength, perserverence and courage. Jasmine loved to play with me. Whenever she wanted to play, she would come and give me a bow - her signal for me to get down on my knees and play, either tug or wrestle, with her. When I got tired, she gratiously let me get back up, with a promise to do it again. A few months before she died, she had no control of her back legs and could only walk with assistance. It was a nice warm day, and I brought her out to the front yard where she was content to watch the world go by. I headed around to the back of the house to continue some work in the garage when I heard her bark. I looked up to see that she had dragged herself to the garage using only her front legs. She looked at me and gave me a bow.
I helped her over to the grass, and on a beautiful, warm day, for the last time we played.
Nanook (Nana) Dawg
Circa 2000 – June 19, 2008
Marc was out of town in March, 2002 when Penney found out about a young dog that was going to be put down because the owners had a new baby and couldn’t deal with a dog. Penney said that this was to be a temporary fostering; she would find a home for Nana. After several months of Nana being in the house, and no effort made to find a home, Marc got the idea. In her past, Nana had been abused and we are her fourth, and last, home. She came to us with the name “Nanook”, which we shortened to “Nana”.
Frederick von Kodey III (Kodey) Dawg
May 5, 1987 – April 22, 2003
Kodey was one of the 6 pups that Inga had in 1987. Kodey was a “mutant” Samoyed, weighing in at 120 pounds, well exceeding the normal size for the breed. With size came an incredible degree of gentleness. Throughout his life he was called a variety of names: Kodey, Kodeybucks, or just plain "Bucks".
Inga J. Dawg
Sept. 1984 – April 25, 1997
Inga was our first dawg. She came into our household on Christmas Day, 1984, as a 6 week old ball of fur, a present from Penney to Marc. All Sammies are escape artists - Inja was our introduction: if we locked her in a room she would go so far as to chew through the door to get out. As she got older we realized that locking her up caused more damage than letting her have free run of the house.
We had called some friends in South Africa to wish them a Merry Christmas and as an aside, asked what the word for "Dog" was in Zulu. And that's how Inja got her name.
Inja grew up in the age of film cameras, so we really don't have a lot of photo's of her. We do have our memories.