Monte - Sam - Slidell, LA

Mary Ann Monte, Slidell, LA

Sam, BG # 29712

Sam was rescued by BARC from a puppy mill and we adopted him in May of 2006.

He was terribly nervous, startled very easily, and was very skinny with a rough, mostly red coat, and scabs on his head. He was terrified of a crate or kennel. My husband, Louis, thought he had bonded with Sam during the nine hour drive home but, once here, Sam would not let Louis near him.

After a few days he would let me touch him and brush him but we found that any attempts to teach him basic obedience led to a fear reaction. He would cower in fear, trembling so hard he could barely stay on his feet, and then he would freeze. He could not handle any type of stress and by the end of the day he would shut himself off from us completely. He would turn his back on us and sit stiffly at attention. If we tried to approach him, he flinched and ran away.

Between May and July he did not gain any weight even though he was eating as much as a dog twice his size. His coat remained rough and dry and he was reluctant to let us near him unless either of our other two dogs was there.  It was two years before Sam would allow Louis to pet him.

We have now had Sam four years and the change in him, physically, is amazing.  He is a tiny boy, weighing only 52 lbs, but his coat is soft and glossy black, and his eyes are bright. He is finally eating the proper amount of food for a dog of his size.

Mentally, there has been only a little improvement and we have come to realize that Sam may never get much better.  He is still very anxious and agonizingly shy with strangers. As far as examinations and tests can tell there is no physical cause for Sam’s temperament and the consensus of several vets is that it is genetic. During the past year his aggressive episodes, which would erupt out of the blue, became so severe that we have put him on Clomicalm to reduce his anxiety level. It has only been a few weeks but it does seem to be helping.

With us and only with us, Sam is very loving. He loves being bathed and brushed and even welcomes having his nails clipped as that all means that he is being touched. He craves being touched and will come up to us and do a perfect sit hoping for some attention. Louis and I accept his limitations, have learned how to handle his mental episodes, and love him for the special dog he tries so hard to be.