Monte - Sam - Slidell, LA

Mary Ann Monte, Slidell, LA
Sam, BG # 29712  (3/3/05 – 8/23/10)
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 sitting 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.
By Spring of 2010, the change in him physically was amazing.  He was a tiny boy, weighing only 52 lbs, but his coat was soft and glossy black, and his eyes were bright. With us and only with us, Sam was very loving. He loved being bathed and brushed and even welcomed having his nails clipped as that all meant that he was being touched.  He was finally eating the proper amount of food for a dog of his size. Mentally, there was only a little improvement and we realized that Sam might never get much better.  He remained very anxious and agonizingly shy with strangers. Physically there seemed to be no reason for Sam’s temperament and the consensus of several vets was that it was genetic. Sam was treated for a mast cell tumor in 2008 and seemed to have completely recovered. But during 2009 his aggressive episodes, which would erupt out of the blue, became so severe that we put him on Clomicalm to reduce his anxiety level.
Sadly, his aggressive episodes increased in both frequency and severity. As he came out of an episode it was clear he had no idea what had happened and he was bewildered by all the chaos surrounding him. He was slowly but surely losing his mind.  In August, 2010, he attacked me and we knew it was time to let him go.  Our vet believed that mast cell had spread to his brain. The loss of Sam left a big hole in our family. We will never forget the love he tried so hard to show us.