Thursday, February 25, 2010

What to do About Sam?

I know I've already posted today, but I don't think there's a set rule that I can't post twice in a day, so I'm going to just because I need to unload something that of course it involves one of the dogs.

Believe it or not, one of our dogs is not from a rescue...At least not in the sense that our others are. His name is Sam, and we guess he is about 8-9 years old. He came to us last August from a family we know from church. He has a bit of mysterious past, and we call him "Sam the Spy" The family that we got him from had only had him two years. His life before that is unknown. The story I was told is that the Husband who works for "a Government Agency" came home one day with him. He told his wife that Sam's owner "was gone" and Sam needed to disappear. The wife said that she knew better than to ask any more questions -- But she really felt that "Sam" was not his name at all because he didn't respond to it. It's anyone's guess what it could be!! I have joked that some night I'll be sitting with him and say something off the wall like "Kwasimoto" and he'll go crazy!!

Whatever his past was, and whatever Sam is not telling us, he's really a nice dog! The family gave him up for several reasons. One being that they just didn't have time for him. Another was the health of "the wife." She was diagnosed with cancer and just felt that Sam was a bit too much to take care of along with a job and active young children. They also had to move out of the home they were in, into a smaller home in a subdivision that just happens to be around the corner from where we used to live. But they felt that they weren't going to have room inside or out for him. The family had thought about turning him over to the Golden Retriever Rescue. But they were on the fence about giving Sam to rescue and I thought it was only because they wanted to know what happened to him, and wanted to make sure that he had a good home--At least this is what I was told by the wife. But this is how I entered the picture. The wife contacted me, because they knew we had Goldens and asked if we would take him--Of course we said yes, and promised that he'd be loved, well cared for, etc. I know the kids were (naturally) upset about giving him up, but I told them they could come anytime to visit! I've kept up with them via Facebook and sent a few pictures telling them how he was doing. They've never come to visit, or initiated any contact. ...

Well, guess what has happened? Yes, they have asked if they could have Sam back. I find myself really torn about it. I have to ask, what has changed that all of the sudden the issues that they said kept them from keeping him 6 months ago are not problems six months later? How do they suddenly have the room for Sam? How does the Mom all of the sudden have time and energy for it all given her health concerns? I also have to ask myself why didn't they love him enough when they had him to try and make it work and keep him? I don't understand--I would do anything for my dogs, and that includes doing what I can to keep them; but that's me. I did hint around about my concerns, but the husband only told me that they felt that they could now make it work with Sam~~Just as a caveat I'll add that a friend of mine told me that we don't "legally" own Sam because we never signed a formal agreement. Even though I should know the laws of dog ownership in Virginia because of the rescue, I have to admit that I do not.

I know it goes without saying that we do love Sam. He's a terrific dog--Whatever he has been through, it hasn't kept him from being a confident, friendly and outgoing Golden. But it took several weeks for him to get used to living in a "group home" and being with other dogs, as well as a whole new routine. But Sam has settled in and does seem happy and of course he seems to have made a connection with Carl and I and has found his place in the pack.

I know that we have so many Goldens here, and maybe one leaving us shouldn't be such a big deal and they are a good kind family. But despite knowing his, it doesn't keep me from being torn, and having doubts about them and not knowing what I should do...Is it selfish and wrong to want to keep Sam and know for sure that he is happy and okay? I worry that if something happens and they decide they aren't able to keep him that they may not contact me again even if I made them promise they would. What a dilemma and what's the right thing to do?


  1. I think it would be awful traumatic to move Sam back to his precious owners. Shame on them for asking.
    He is settled and at home with you and your husband and his golden siblings, part of the pack once again.
    His previous owners, should rescue a dog at the pound, save a life, and in the process, fill the need to have a dog in their lives once again.

  2. Oh, dear... I wouldn't know what to do.


  3. Hi Kim! I just looked and my very, very long comment regarding Wendy and her lost boys is not there. I wonder what happened!? Blogger is so weird sometimes. I love that post and I said soooo much (are you surprised?ha!) and now I'm just left stumped. That picture of her in the snow, literaly in the "winter" of her years, just absolutely melted my heart. I love her. (((sigh)))

    As for Sam, my little piece of humble advice is to ask the family the exact same questions you're asking yourself here in this post. You have every right to do so. And as for the law, unfortunately, pets are considered property. They are not afforded the same rights as people, but that may not be a bad thing in Sam's case. Just like property, they didn't "lend" Sam to you, they "gave" him to you. He is now your property whether there is a transfer document or not. He wasn't a gift, a loaner, or a temporary bequest. They wanted YOU to own HIM. Add to that the fact that Sam's not a yacht or a car, which is a substantially priced item that would warrant a written contract, and you've got yourself a much better case than his prior owners.

    As his owner, you'll have to think of what's best for him. If he'll be returning to a tiny home with no access to physical activity, walks, and engaging interaction, then he's better off with you. Anyone can feed & water a dog, but it takes much more than that to give these animals normalcy, health, mental stimulation, and attention.

    Like I said, just my "little" piece of advice, drafted in a very long essay format. Ha!

    Whatever you decide, you'll do it with love. That much is obvious.

    Your and Carl's days sound very much like ours. Your life in general is eerily similar to mine. My hubster also works for the government and he's gone 10+ a day. I'm the evening walker since I get home first.

    I'm still mad about my lost comment for Wendy! I'll get over it.

    Have a great Friday!

  4. Jeepers,
    you are not wrong at all with all the questions you are wondering about.
    I know my moms would feel the same way as you.
    I wonder how Sam feels about this?
    What an awful predicament!
    Gee, I wish I had an answer.
    I know it is tearing your heart in two.

  5. Hi there!
    I don't blame you for being torn in your dillemma about Sam. I don't know what your laws are there either, but if you were here in SA, the answer is simple -
    You have looked after him for 6 months! You have paid for his care! You are the one who has stood by when its been needed! You are the one who has loved him! He is totally integrated in your home and is happy and settled! For reasons the right deciding Sam's life rests with you.
    It's not about 'ownership', but about care!
    I think you have a right to ask them all the questions you have put on the blogpost. You have a right too, to keep Sam too no matter what answers they give you. The control and the right to decide whatever YOU want is with you!
    I can really hear your pain and sadness about the offhandedness of dog owners. It Sam was with me I wouldn't let him out of my site, but it is your decision - and yours alone...and we'll support you whatever you decide!
    (So life isn't boring afterall!?!)
    My thoughts and love are with you as you make your decision.

  6. Wow, that is a big dilemma! I don't think I could ever give up a dog who has become apart of my family. I hope you are able to find the answer you are looking for!

    Elizabeth & Luna

  7. Oh no,this is so hard for you.You took Sam in,gave him a loving home and he is settled and happy in the pack.There must be a way that you can keep him surely? I don't know what I would do.I feel for you so much.

    Bellaboo :o)

  8. I think you have to let Sam go, but always be there if he needs to come back again, which may be sooner than you think.

    Perhaps Sam leaving will also make space for another pup in your home who needs your care.

    You have done your best and should feel proud of that.

  9. It's a difficult one: I don't know what to say. It seems a shame to give him back when he has settled in so nicely ... will the family kick up a legal fuss if you don't give him back?

  10. a dilemma indeed.....i would treat it just like an adoption...interview them, check out the home, try to understand their intentions....maybe it is legit...but i would be sure before i would even consider returning him. legally, whatever...doubtful they'd sue you for him, if you decided it wasn't a good situation to return him to....tough, very tough!
    go talk with them (don't take the dog) and go with your gut feeling! and, let us know!!

  11. Oh dear this is awful & I can't add anything that hasn't been said.
    My gut reaction is No ! he must stay with you - then I thought of the family struglng and in certain cases chilren would be put into foster care until the family was stronger to cope & it would be reviewed.

    Is the mom well now ? this is the big factor - will she cope as a GR needs lots of exercise !

    Can you visit them to get a better idea ?

    Let us know what happens xx

  12. Just tell them that you think it's best for Sam to stay where he is, that he has bonded with your family and the other dogs. The best thing for Sam is what's important. What are they going to do? Sue you? Probably not!


  13. I think my wife (Little Island In the Med) has been a bit hasty!! Many of the other comments run along the same lines as your initial thoughts. I would really want to know whats changed in their circumstances that they can now be responsible for a dog. Offer to go round and 'discuss' letting them have Sam back, and then trust your gut instinct as to whether they have the motivation/space/ability to look after a big dog. If you think no to a big dog because of space etc then I like the thought of perhaps encouraging them to rescue a smaller dog from a shelter/pound that may suit their lifestyle better. I'd also be concerned that were you to give Sam back and things didn't work out (again), then they probably wouldn't give him back to you due to their perceived failure despite the numerous warnings etc.
    No easy decision and I don't envy the choice you have to make. You could always tell them to get a cat!:-)

  14. Woof! Woof! I'm with you. I'll be concern WHY they did not TRY to taking care of SAM. There should be absolutely a LAW in regards to this matter. On the other hand, you would think it could be GUILT the reason why they want SAM back. Hope SAM is alright and safe. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  15. Follow your gut instincts then follow your heart. I hope all works out well for you and Sam.

  16. As a dog lover and a "rescuer" of sorts, I've got to comment. First, as far as the law goes, IF this family were to pursue the "law", it would have to be noted that they gave up the dog. Second, I agree with others, it is very traumatic for a dog to switch homes and routines. I think the family should be questioned as to why they want the dog back and they should be reminded of the primary concern for the dog. On the other hand, years ago my husband (at the time) got rid of my Weimer because she jumped on me. I never wanted to give her up so a year later, I located the dog and bought her back.
    This is a tough one. I would talk to the family and get some more info before making any decision. Ask the family what they would do if the roles were reversed. Good luck,

  17. I'm with the consensus here....I'd be really suspect as to why now? As has already been suggested, ask them all those questions. It is true it would be terribly traumatic for the dog. He seems to have been thru enough upheaval in his life. You have been caring for him all this time (not to mention the expense). They did not loan the dog to you, they surrendered him to you. I would not let him go anywhere.

  18. I don't think it's fair to try to remove Sam from your home at his age.

    Is it possible to explain this to the family and let them know that you are very attached to him?

    I guess if I were in your shoes, I would make a case about the type of care required for an older dog in an effort to change their minds.

    Sorry that you are in this position. :(


  19. oh Kim, what a terrible situation to be in. I know how much you love all your dogs, Sam included, and I know that it takes some time for a pet to adjust to a new family and life in a new home. I hate to think of him going back to the other family. He obviously fits in well with your bunch and feels loved, I do not understand why that family would want to do that to an older dog, put him thru the adjustment all over again. I wish I had an answer for you. Truth is, if you do not legally own the dog, who is to say that the other family does? They gave him up to you, does that not constitute ownership? How can they prove that they own him. Either way, it sounds like it could be a battle for you to keep him, and an emotional one to give him up. I hope that you will keep us informed on him!!

    p.s. what a marvelous crisp clear picture of Sam!!

  20. I would cry my eyes out and beg them not to take him. I am way to emotional, but then it might work :) Seriously, I cannot even imagine having to give him back when they did not want him. I think there is more to the story that they are not telling you.

  21. If they were thinking of this as a temporary situation, they should have set it up as such. Have you thought of asking the church leader (priest, minister?) for their insight?

    I would question their understanding of what owning a dog means....

  22. Hello Kim
    Nice to see you dropping by and thanks for your lovely comments.

    I don't think I'd be willing to give Sam back - I know I'd have the same doubts and questions you have. Also if the story of how they acquired Sam is true, that the husband just brought Sam home, then surely they too are not the legal owners of Sam in the same way you describe your 'ownership'

    Kim, as much as we would want to we can't tell you what is the right thing to do, only give our thoughts on what we would do if in that situation. Its certainly an emotional issue for you - I'm sure in your heart of hearts you know that unless it does become a legal issue that Sam will be living at your house for many a more year:))
    Take care

  23. This breaks my heart - I don't know the answer but we are thinking of you and wishing you clarity and confidence in your decision. You are such a good dog Mom!

  24. Dear Mom and Dad,
    You are my family. The other people I lived with before did not love me enough to keep me. They are not bad people; they just showed me that they were really not my family. You and Dad and our pack are my family.

    Please let me stay.

    Love and Happy Woofs,
    Your boy Sam

  25. Hi there Kim-
    Thanks for stopping by Mucky Boots - I'm so pleased that you visit!
    Your situation reminds me of one I was in a couple of years ago. One of the dogs at the day care we brought our Frankie to needed a new home because his mom was in a new relationship and didn't feel she could care for him adequately. We brought him home with us for a two week visit, to see how our very neurotic Frankie would do with a doggy brother, and were very sad when it was clear it wouldn't work out. So we worked to help find a different new home for him, which was eventually found. Less than two months later the woman showed up at the day care with a new dog.
    I don't understand how people can be so casual about their commitments to animals. I can see why you feel so uncomfortable about sending Sam back to his previous family. Only you will know the right thing to do in this case, but I urge you to pay attention to your fears and concerns.

  26. I find it curious,also, that they never checked on Sam once they let him go. How much could they really care for him?
    Sophie's Mom

  27. Hi Kim,
    Sorry to hear about your dilema.
    You, Carl and your pack are Sam's family now. I think he should stay with you.


  28. Well - as always I am late to the party...and today is the big meeting. I would do a full home interview on them like you are placing a rescue dog and go with your gut.
    My paws are crossed that things work out. Momma said you should chip Sam if he goes back and register him to you incase he goes back to the first people and ever ends up in a shelter...


Speak--I really enjoy your comments! Thanks for stopping by today!!