By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy…
Last time Sam shared some of his growing group of friends and encounters with pack members and older family members of the two and four-legged variety.
Chapter Ten – Sleepovers with new friends
When David went to Madrid to work, Sally set about finding someone who would love and care for me every six weeks when she went to Spain to visit him.
She had never put me in boarding kennels, knowing that I love company and would find it very lonely stuck in a box on my own for most of the day. I have to say that apart from a couple of special dogs I have never really been bothered about my own breed as I much prefer the interaction I have with humans.
There are two other humans who joined our pack and I came to love them very much. One was the wife of someone who worked with David and her name was Aunty Kay.
She was a soft spoken Irish woman who had a very gentle touch. At one of the final work parties that Sally and David attended before he moved to Spain, they had got into conversation with Kay and mentioned that Sally was going to try and go over to Spain to see David every six weeks but that they were trying to find someone to look after me in her absence.
I think that I have already conveyed how very important I was within the pack and how much I was loved. As I mentioned, Sally had never felt comfortable with the notion of putting me behind bars for twenty two hours of the day so that she could go off and have fun and so she wanted to find someone who had a garden and loved dogs as much as she did.
Aunty Kay immediately said that she would love to look after me and delightedly Sally arranged for Kay to come out to the house for lunch and to meet me.
The first time I smelled Kay I knew that she was kind and gentle and would love me very much. I sat by her all through lunch and when she seemed to understand that cheese was my favourite and gave me some, I also knew that we would get along just fine.
For the next two years I spent long weekends at Kay’s home in Ballinteer and enjoyed expanding my territory to include large park lands and tree lined streets which as you know is every dog’s kind of heaven. I met Kay’s cats who after a little induction training left the house to me and retreated to the garden shed where they glared balefully at me whenever I was in the small back garden.
I also met Kay’s pack members during my visits including her sister and family who lived abroad and came to visit.
On one of her sister’s visits she went out one morning and did not return until the next day. When she did she had a very young and smelly human with her. I knew instinctively that it was a new puppy and that when it was being fed both it and its mother needed to be protected. I would lie across the mother’s feet while she nursed the baby and would allow no one else near her at all. When the baby was asleep in its carrier I also guarded it to ensure that it was safe. That was my job in my pack, head of security and even in young adulthood I was very aware of my responsibilities.
Kay also had a pack member who smelt of old age and warm musky smells. She wore a very long black dress and a black cloth on her head. When she first came I was a little scared as all I could see was a face peering out from under the black cloth. However, her voice was gentle and fragile and with any old pack member you must be gentle as they do not like to play games as we youngsters do.
As part of my duties to my own pack elders such as Grand Mollie, it was important to keep them warm and safe when they move around the house and gardens. I extended this courtesy to Aunty Kay’s pack members as well and at 96 years old, her aunt who had been a nun since she was twelve years old, certainly qualified. I rarely left her side and sat with my head on her lap as her hand gently stroked my fur.
They were happy days but Sally felt that Kay who refused any kind of payment for looking after me should not be put upon all the time and that perhaps we needed to find me another loving and caring foster mum to join the pack. We advertised in the local paper.
We were inundated with offers to look after me and after Sally had checked through them all she decided that we should both go to people’s homes and meet the applicants for an interview.
We conducted two and after smelling the inside of the living room of the first one we both decided that perhaps being only a young dog I might be a little too frisky for the elderly couple. Also I have to admit there were one or two strange smells that I found rather overpowering including one came from a rather full ashtray and one from a basket containing clothes in the kitchen.
The second house was close by at a place called Bettystown and was the home of Aunty Katie. Like Kay she immediately realised how important I was and as I sat with my head on her lap she got the message straight away that a drink and a treat was required.
Sally liked her and her husband too and they lived very close to the beach where I walked twice a day. Katie not only loved dogs but was passionate about owls and the house was dedicated to them in all shapes and sizes.
I was truly pampered at Aunty Katy’s house and was offered both the bedroom and a comfortable sofa to sleep on. I quickly communicated with my body and linguistic skills my needs and these were met with pleasing rapidity.
I loved both my foster mistresses and looked forward to my visits to them, leaping in the car and rushing into their homes to be greeted exuberantly which is the only way for a pack to greet each other.
I went to Katie’s every other trip and so I had two wonderful foster homes where I was pampered and spoilt.
David came home to Ireland every six weeks and we had wonderful games in the garden while he was home. Sally and I lived on our own in the meantime and this is why I have such an ability to understand the spoken word. Some people may have thought her quite mad to hold conversations with a dog, but I am a very good listener and she managed to avoid talking to me in public so it was our little secret.
©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009
About the authors
Sally Cronin waited until she began working for herself, and had the time to commit to the welfare of a dog. before she fulfilled a dream of having another Lassie Collie. From the moment that Sam came home at 8 weeks old they were inseparable, and travelled thousands of miles together and with her husband David, exploring Ireland, Wales, England and Europe. Finally they all ended up in a large house up a mountain to the north of Madrid.
Sam could charm the birds out of the trees and assumed that every human that he met was more interested in him than his humans that were tagging along. He developed a vocabulary and non-verbal clues as to his needs, cheese and sausages being the main ones.
They collaborated on this book, with Sam dictating his recollections and Sally correcting some of his more flamboyant claims pertaining to his adventures.
You can find out more about Sally’s books and their reviews: Sally’s Books and Recent Reviews
I hope you have enjoyed this chapter and will join us again next Sunday.. thanks Sally.