samoyed rescue information

Every year hundreds of Samoyeds throughout the country become homeless, most through no fault of their own. These are the Rescue dogs. They are not second class dogs, they are dogs that need a second chance. How do these dogs become homeless? Sometimes an owner dies, a family moves or a new babay arrives. Occasionally they have been abused. Usually they are adults, sometimes they are old, once in awhile they are young puppies. Rescue dogs are ususally housebroken and often they are trained. Rescuing a Samoyed gives a young dog a new life, hope for a future. It gives an old dog the chance to live out his last years in comfort. He will give you unquestioning devotion and a friend for life.

When you are done visiting with the WhiteStar Samoyeds, please visit
The Samoyed Rescue Alliance

Visit The Babe Blog for all the latest WhiteStar news!!

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copyright 2005 WhiteStar Samoyeds
for more information contact whitestarsams (at) hpi (dot) net


Thinking of Getting a Dog???

DON'T buy a dog from a pet store!!!!

Aren't they AKC registered? While the puppies in most pet shops are AKC registerable, AKC registration is not a sign or a guarantee of quality. Most, if not all, pet shop puppies are produced by large puppy mills often found in the midwest or Pennsylvania. These puppy mills do not follow good breeding practices, often raise the puppies in horrible, filthy conditions and, more often than not, the pedigrees of these dogs is of questionable accuracy. Serious health problems in dogs from pet stores are common as are behavioral problems.

But the pet store at the mall told me they only get their puppies from government licensed facilities! Guess what? All puppy mills have to be licensed in order to "broker" their puppies to commercial operations . The best breeders are usually not licensed, they are small "hobby" breeders that don't breed enough to meet the government guidelines requiring licensing. These are people who are breeding for the betterment of the breed, NOT for profit.

DON'T buy a dog from a "backyard breeder"!

Why not? Surely this is better than a petshop! While buying from a backyard breeder may provide a better animal than one form a pet shop, a backyard breeder is still not the best place to purchase your new companion from.

So what is a backyard breeder? How do I know if that's what I'm dealing with? Ask questions! Most backyard breeders are breeding for one of a number of bad reasons... either to make a little "extra cash", to allow their kids to experience the "miracle of birth" or to get a puppy "just like Fluffy". None of these are good reasons to breed. Find out if the breeder is involved with any aspect of the dog fancy. This may be field work for the sporting breeds, sled racing, conformation, obedience or agility showing or even herding. Find out if the breeder is affiliated with any of the national or local breed clubs. Ask about health clearances. While you may be looking for "just" a pet, the money you spend on a pet quality dog from a good breeder will be more than saved when you don't have to pay high medical bills later on!

But the breeder told me there are no health problems in her breed/line! If any breeder ever tells you this, --RUN-- don't walk, as far away as you possibly can! All breeds and all lines have health problems, it's just that some people don't like to talk about them. If a breeder won't admit that these issues exist, they are trying to hide something or they don't know very much about their breed. Either situation is one you want to avoid.

But the breeder told me that his puppies were from "Champion Bloodlines"... Another phrase which means just about next to nothing! If you go back into just about any dog's pedigree far enough you'll find a champion or two in there. Reputable breeders do not use that as a sales tactic. Ask to see the pedigree of the sire and dam. One or two or even three or five champions in five generations does not mean anything! A dog that is truly from champion lines will usually have only a handful of dog in their lineage that are not champions

DO buy a puppy from a reputable breeder!

So how do I find a reputable breeder? Contact your local kennel club. Go to dog shows and talk with people who have the breeds you are interested in. Interview the people who are trying to sell you a puppy. Join internet mailing lists devoted to the breed you are interested in. Go to the library. Do your research. ASK QUESTIONS!

What kind of questions? Ask to see the sire and dam. In many cases, a bitch will be shipped across the country to the stud dog and so he may not be on the premises. Most reputable breeders will still be able to provide you with pictures and maybe videotapes of the dad. Ask to see the papers and pedigrees of the sire and dam. Ask to see the OFA and CERF clearances of both parents.

OFA? CERF? What's that? In most (but not all) medium to large size breeds an OFA hip clearance is one of the minimum requirements that an ethical breeder will require on dogs that are being bred. An OFA clearance means the dog has had it's hips x-rayed and reviewed by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animal and the dog has been certified clear of hip dysplasia. Another basic breeding requirement required in many breeds is to have the eyes cleared of any eye disease. This is known as CERF clearance.

Wow! Finding the right puppy is going to be a lot of work! And I bet when I find one, it will be really expensive! Well, you may pay more for a puppy from a reputable breeder than what you'll pay a backyard breeder but you'll be getting more for your money. Most puppies from reputable breeders come with some type of health guarantees and chances are you're not just buying a puppy, you're buying the breeders experience, advice and knowledge for the life of your pet. And you may be surprised to learn that the average pet store puppy, which is not a "show quality" animal will cost more than a "pet quality" puppy from a good breeder! As an example, my first dog, from a pet store (we all have to learn sometime) cost me $200 MORE than my first champion show dog! And that pet store puppy had mange and kennel cough when she came from the store. She also has a genetic thyroid condition which requires twice daily medication for the remainder of her life.

Are there any other alternatives? Yes! Consider a rescue dog!

But I want a purebred dog...Most people don't realize how many purebred dogs are abandoned every week in this country. Every AKC breed and a lot of other rare breeds are represented in animal shelters and rescue groups all over the country.

I know what an animal shelter is, what's a "rescue group"? Most purebred dog fancy clubs have either an official or unofficial branch of their organization which is dedicated to taking care of the abused, abandoned or otherwise homeless dogs of the breed. Sometimes these dogs are rescued from shelters, sometimes from abusive home situations but most commonly these are dogs that have to be given up by their original owners for reasons varying from allergy problems to relocation issues to divorce situations, new baby in the family, etc.

But I want a GOOD dog, not some leftover.... Rescue dogs are not second class dogs, they are dogs that need a second chance! As owners of rescue dogs will attest to time and time again, they are often the BEST dogs as they appreciate the opportunity to have new life with a new family. They are often already housebroken and trained, eliminating the ruined carpets and chewed shoes which often come with raising a young puppy.

Okay, I'll think about a rescue dog... how do I go about locating them? Contact your local animal shelter, they often keep lists of the breed rescue groups in the area. Contact the national breed club that represents your chosen breed. They should be able to put you in touch with some rescue organizations. And there's always here.. the internet. Rescue is making it's presence known on the 'net in a big way. In past days, rescue was pretty much of a local business, today, we see rescue dogs being shipped from one end of the country to the other allowing more dogs to find just the right new home. Try entering a search query using the name of the breed and the word "rescue". You'll be amazed at what you'll find!

Wow! I can't wait to get started looking for my new best friend!

To give you an idea of what's out there, here's a selected list of some of the best rescue sites on the web. In alphabetical order by breed...



Rescue Dogs - Second Class or Second Chance?

Melissa Howell of Samoyed Adoption Midwest explains how rescue dogs end up homeless...

"My experience with Rescue dogs is that they have been "thrown away" not for any reason of their own behavior, but because the owners weren't able to make a commitment to keep the dog. Most people, when getting a puppy, love the dog, train it, housebreak it, socialize it and do everything that most of us on Samfans do with their dogs (there are exceptions of course). When the dog gets older, they just tire of the dog. Most of the dogs that we get into rescue are as sweet as any other dog, much more well-trained than getting a puppy, housebroken and happy with their attention. They do not necessarily need any extra training except to learn what is expected of them in their new house (same as a puppy). Rescue dogs aren't Second-Class dogs, they are dogs needing a Second Chance. "

Some common reasons Samoyeds end up homeless...

"We can't keep our dog because we are getting a divorce"
"We have a new baby and no time to "baby" our dog"
"We are moving to a place where we can't have pets"
"The hair is driving us crazy"


Older Samoyeds - The dog for you?

Sidney Boardman on older rescue dogs. This was in response to a message on Samfans from someone adopting a 12 year old rescue...

Congratulations on your new girl. Puppies are cute, and I like them, but I prefer a dog with a personality. Most dogs don't even start developing a real personality until they're seven or eight. This is the time when the dog becomes a real friend, rather than just a responsibility. And the fact that you don't have "forever" with them to look forward to just makes them all the more wonderful. Older dogs are really the best.

And from Mary Mitchell... similar sentiments....

OK, many dogs end up in rescue because people don't think beyond the cute puppy phase. Now my question: Am I weird because sometimes with a pup it's the thought of getting past the puppy phase that keeps me going?

For example:

  • She will be housebroken eventually.
  • She will grow up and not need walks every 4 hours at night.
  • A grown dog has better muscle (bladder) control.
  • She will outgrow the puppy phase of trying to catch the cats. (ed. note: Not Mine!!)
  • She will outgrow the let's eat everything on the floor (including those of closets) or anything not nailed down phase. (OK, I've had dogs that thought chewing a nailed down item was a challenge.)
  • She will eventually understand the basic commands and be somewhat obedient.
  • She and I will settle into a mutual understanding and set of expectations and be very happy with each other.
Don't misunderstand me. I think puppies are the most precious and beautiful things -- especially Sammy puppies. Every time I read about a litter or someone getting a pup, my heart yearns. But puppies are a lot of work. A lot more in my opinion than an adult dog. Of course, puppies are worth all the effort. I've just never understood why someone would love a pup, but then think the same pup as an adult was too much work. I've never had a dog that was more work as an adult (other than in later years) than she/he was as a pup?

And as for cuteness -- my dogs were gorgeous pups, but they are now gorgeous adult dogs. Where's the difference? Cute is cute is cute. I wonder if these people who discard pups once they grow up are just in fact not in love with the pup, but rather with the "concept" of a puppy. I'm sure everyone on this list would agree that if you really love a pup, you really love the dog.


The Patrician and The Peasant

Holly is a beautiful little Sammy. She is dainty and agile, has perfect Samoyed characteristics, a lovely extra long but easy-care coat. She is from good lines and an intentional breeding; her mother was imported from England. She came into rescue through an ugly divorce. I have her papers. A sensitive, intelligent, bright-eyed girl. The Patrician.

Kobuk, probably the result of a back-yard breeding, was picked up as a stray. No papers, most likely never had any. He is solid and husky. Everything works well, but he is functional rather than pretty. His tail is too short - looks like it may have been injured - his ears too big, his head a bit wide, his eyes too round. His personality is a solid as his body, he is smart and eager to please; he sees a job and does it. He needs to be working, and takes tasks upon himself. He is a simple, happy dog. The Peasant.

Kobuk has slimmed down and muscled out, weighing in at 65 lbs. Holly is a delicate 42 lbs. They make quite the pair. One of Kobuk's self-appointed tasks is guarding the house. He barks and snarls if anyone (even someone he knows) tries to open the door without me present. Holly barely notices and won't acknowledge knocks on the door. She is like a butterfly at the end of a leash, prancing but never pulling. He gets out to the end of the leash and pulls. If I don't want him to pull, why don't I walk faster? She, having suffered harsh treatment in her previous life, cowers at a stern tone of voice. He doesn't notice until the decibels have ascended - "oh, are you speaking to *me*?"

He gives her confidence, shows her that one can do things without getting in trouble. She shows him what I want when I say "come", "stay", and "wait". She throws herself to the floor when I say "down", looking up for the cookie. He barks. She is so happy to have a gentle, loving home she is perfectly content to let me be pack leader. He is convinced that if he keeps trying, he'll win the job. But he adopted me the moment he saw me at the shelter, and hasn't waivered once on that decision.

Rescue dogs. They come in all sizes and shapes; they all have some sad story to tell. But a common thread running through them is their gratefulness for a good home, their total devotion to their new owners. They often require patience, understanding, hard work, and behavior modification. But they are worth it, oh, how they are worth it. To see Holly, who when I got her would cower at the sight of a stranger, run up to get pet by a passing person brings tears to my eyes. To see her eyes full of mischief and happiness, a smile on her face. Watching Kobuk run after sheep, proud to be helping me, coming to me with a high step. These are the joys of owning rescue dogs. The knowledge that I've given these delightful creatures a new and happy life, and they give me unconditional love and great joy.

My Patrician and my Peasant. Two of the best dogs out there - and lucky me, they are mine.

Judy Gustafson
Chehalis, WA


The Christmas Eve Dog

Last Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning an older Samoyed was tied to the Colorado Springs animal shelter gate. He made the news, but nobody came to claim him. As a representative of Denver Samoyed Rescue, I went down a couple of days later to evaluate him. The shelter told me they estimated his age to be 7 yrs. old, but that he probably had severe hip dysplasia. When I went to see him, he didn't really move in the manner that I had seen of other dogs with severe hip dysplasia. He was obviously a happy boy that barked to me the entire time I was talking to him. I went back to put DSR down as last call on him.

I brought him home on New Year's Eve Day. He had obviously been used to eating from trash cans for when I told him it was dinner time, he went straight to the trash cans outside and waited for me to lift the lid. For a solid week I had to work at convincing him that there was better food inside. It also took a week before he seemed to realize that this was a safe place. He was housebroken, well behaved, though a bit stubborn. His left side was very tender almost as though he had jumped from a pickup or "tapped" by a car. While he moved stiffly, he still would trot often. He got along beautifully with our dogs. With the vet exam (done right away) we learned he had a resectioned right ear which is an expensive operation that helps when there are chronic ear infections. Later on, from x-rays, we learned while he has *great* hips, he has severe much so that his spine looked more like a lumpy snake and you couldn't see the individual vertebrae. I asked the vet if he was in pain, but he doubted it...said with the spine basically fused together, he was probably just stiff.

With that information, Mike and I decided to contact an animal communicator (no DSR funds were used for this)...seemed he must have originally belonged to someone who really cared. She came up with a lot of the same information we had picked up on from physical signs (this was over the phone)...that he had jumped out of the back of a pick up and hurt his left leg above the knee and a spot in his back (these were two of his very sore spots). He felt he had been stolen from his lost people, but he knew that they thought he was dead. I did work at trying to find them, but with no luck...and the communicator thought they had moved.

So, he stayed with us and continued to improve. He has been gaining strength in his legs and is moving better. He's also shed about 10 lbs. that also helps.

In February, he accompanied me to the big dog show in Denver to be featured in the All Breed Rescue Network Showcase. He KNEW the whole scene. Normally a rescue dog won't come into the grooming area and feel right at home like he did! When he was in the ring, he baited, stacked as best he could, was confused as to why we were *walking* around the ring, and kept looking for that missing judge. This had to have been a show dog. He still loves to try and horn in when I work with Zephyr, so he also get his turn at practicing.

With all of this information, Mike and I contacted another, local, animal communicator. Was he a show dog? His answer was a very loud, "OF COURSE I AM!" She also picked up that he was now very content with us and, though his macho-ness didn't like to admit it, he *adores*me. That, we already knew. She still said that he wasn't really in pain physically, but that he really wished he could join in on all of the running around that our guys do. At that point we were calling him Artie (short for Artaban, after the main character in _The Story of the Other Wise Man_). His ear infections continued and it was obvious that he didn't like the name. So, what did he want to be called? She got a very clear "Michelangeo or Meeko or Michelo (Meek-uh-low)." We started calling hm Michelo and his ear infection cleared up in a couple of days and ALL (well, most, he does like to give me a hard time and tease me at times) of his stubborness was gone! He also admitted to her that he wasn't stolen, but it felt like it. Rather, the couple had given him away to some not very dog-wise people. He still missed the son, but no longer felt the need to find them.

I had been toying with the idea of keeping him, but hadn't said anything to Mike. One night Mike said, "How about keeping Michelo?" I nearly fell over. So he will remain with us and we will build better stairs for him to get down into the yard (next weekend). Since we've made the decision to keep him, even more stubborness is gone. We will continue to get him back in shape and strengthening his legs. There's a good chance he's older than 7, but he'll live out the rest of his years with us.

Janet White
Divide, CO


Visit The Babe Blog for all the latest WhiteStar news!!

home . about us . news . friends . whitestar blog . the babe blog . travels . rescue

aliy's world 2 . kelly can do it . that's so raven . aliy's world

boom'r . kachina . pumpkin . aliy . kelly . ilsa . raven . koshare . babe
icer . max
sasha . alaska

copyright 2005 WhiteStar Samoyeds
for more information contact whitestarsams (at) hpi (dot) net