Sammy - Michelle Keck - Jim Thorpe, PA

Sammy’s Story

Sammy (Smilin’ Sam I Am) is now 4 years old and is the sweetest boy in the world. After lots of TLC he can walk a mile a day, chase Lucy around the yard and harass Toby daily. He can jump up on my bed, lifts his leg to pee and can woof with the best of them! He has even earned both his CGC and TDI certifications.

But Sammy had a rough start in life. He was purchased in a pet store and is the product of a Missouri puppy mill. He was dropped at a Massachusetts shelter at the age of two, with a medical file an inch thick. He was taken into Nashoba Valley rescue on New Years Day and became the first rescue of 2006.

After a review of his medical file we realized that his previous owners had spent over $6,000 to treat his allergies. When he came into rescue he was overweight, had a double ear infection, a torn ear flap, raw chewed up feet and a nasty nasal discharge. His coat was a mess and his skin was dry, flakey and smelled of yeast. He immediately made a visit to our holistic vet, Dr. Sharon Doolittle, to help determine his food sensitivities and was converted to a raw diet. Slowly but surely the Berner bounce began to return and Sammy began to settle in.

But unfortunately, with all the money previously spent, Sammy’s orthopedic issues were never addressed. After a consult with an ortho specialist, we found that Sammy has six involved joints. His immediate problem was his right elbow. He had surgery to remove bone fragments in that elbow and started Hydrotherapy sessions 2 weeks later. We also found that Sammy was hit by a car as a puppy. His right front leg had been broken and the ligaments and tendons in his left leg where torn but never treated, that paw operates at a funny angle but does not seem to cause him pain. However, his left knee will always give him problems…he has bilateral medial patellar luxation, the left side is a Grade 2. Sam is also overextended in both hocks and suffers from moderate Hip Dysplasia.

Although I do not advocate dumping your sick dog off at a shelter, I really can’t disparage Sammy’s previous owners. Every time I look at his medical file, I see only heartache. Vet visits, follow-up visits, emergency room visits…they tried everything they knew and finally their patience and their wallet gave up. I only wish they had done their research and looked for a reputable breeder…instead they walked into a pet store and shelled out $2000 for a puppy they knew nothing about.

Sammy’s story is a sad one and unfortunately, with puppy mills and brokers flooding the internet and suppling pet stores, our rescue groups will see more and more “Sammys” in the future. By getting Sammy’s story out to the public I hope it will help future puppy owners to make the right decision when looking for a puppy.

To that end, Sammy has become a teacher. He starred in a cable segment on pet store puppies and their health problems and was the subject of a teaching video for canine physical therapists. This year he will even co-teach a Berner-U class with his therapists from Sterling Impressions Animal Rehab. Sammy’s Story is also featured on the BMDCA website. The page, designed by Ann Milligan, is featured to help steer PPOs in the right direction when searching for their first Berner.

Michelle Keck & Smilin’ Sam I Am
(aka…Sammy)
Berner-Garde 28346

Jim Thorpe, PA

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