Samson. Sampson? Sony?

Donnie has been wanting a running dog for quite some time. Once we got settled into our new house, he really started talking about it because we are a quarter mile from the a trailhead and he just loves the idea of running through the woods with a dog. Every time I saw a dog from a local shelter cross my feed that didn’t look too big but that needed an “active family” I would send it to Donnie. Everyone once in awhile one would catch is eye and he would keep a watch and think about it and often it would be gone before he would make it to the shelter.

This wasn’t a HUGELY urgent thing as we do have ONE dog, but it was on our radar.

Well, I sent him a dog from our shelter back in late November or early December. Donnie was keeping an eye on him and even saw the took him to a couple of events but no one would adopt him. They kept promoting him: “He’s great! He’s so trainable and treat response! He needs an active family!” but no one seemed to want him. Then we dog sat for my co-worker’s dog after Christmas and that REALLY gave Donnie the bug so when he saw that Samson was the ONLY dog NOT adopted at a big event – meaning he’d now been at the shelter for almost two months – he decided to reach out to them.

They told him that the thing is: He has a mean bark and he HATES the kennel. They said if you get him out into the yard, he’s GREAT. But the bark scares people away. Oh – and he doesn’t seem to like men with beards or hats. (Which Donnie has both of.)

So Donnie went over there (sans hat) one day to meet him. He did say he was a little mouthy but that he really did chill out once he got out of the kennel but yeah…SCARY BARK. He liked him but wanted me to meet him. I went over there and he was a little bigger than I had envisioned but he was sweet and obviously smart so…WE BROUGHT HIM HOME!

This was the picture they posted that night, evidently he was a volunteer FAVORITE because they really saw his potential and knew his bark was something hard to ignore.

He’s only one year old and he was a little traumatized from being in the shelter for so long so he we are REALLY working hard on his training (he had his first obedience class this week) but he’s REALLY smart. He wants Sweetie to play SO BAD and while Sweetie definitely considers him part of her pack (she used to ignore the dogs in neighboring yards but now she barks at them if they bark at Samson) but for the most part we let her stay locked up on Wes’s room where she likes to sleep. She sleeps like 23 hours a day, so she doesn’t mind this situation to avoid the hyper puppy outside the door.

He’s strong, really strong, and Donnie says he’s a GREAT runner until he sees someone else and then he pulls so I won’t be running with him for awhile until Donnie gets that trained out of him. I’m too weak to control him. He’s not much taller than Sweetie but he is ALL MUSCLE.

We sent his slober off for a DNA test but we’re pretty confident he has som pit and boxer in him.

The name is tricky. It was the name he came with but it’s not the easiest name to say/holler and I also didn’t like how it was spelled at the shelter. Shouldn’t it be with a “p”? But Eliah’s cat is named Delilah so Samson did feel Serendipitous. But Donnie has also been calling him Sam-Sony and sometime shortening that to Sony so that might stick as that is easier to say in my opinion.

Although – full disclosure – I basically just call him “Sweetie” all the time. This surprises no one in my family.

He sleeps well. We did shrink beds like two years ago and now only have a Queen bed and it’s a tight squeeze FOR SURE but he still sleeps better than any of our other dogs did, no barking or excessive moving. He’s not necessarily a cuddler but he’s big so he does end up kinda on top of you sometimes.

AND THAT BARK. It’s not constant but HOLY CRAP it is scary. Sweetie is part beagle so her bark is piercing but his sounds like he is going to EAT YOU ALIVE. No wonder no one wanted him.

But he’s great. He’s not too crazy, and he’s very open to training so we’re VERY optimistic that some of the bad nervous habits from being in the shelter will fade with time.

Welcome to Zoot’s Zoo, Samson.

14 Comments

  • Julie

    That is the most awesome story I have read in ages. It’s so nice to start my day with a puppy love story.

  • Jen

    Let be this sweet story. I have a rescue dog named Sully whose very similar to yours (black and white and a deep ferocious bark). Rescue dogs are the best!

  • Anna

    He is SO CUTE. I have a lab pit mix that pulled hard at first but we had a trainer come work with him and now he’s the BEST running buddy! So excited for you all! And thank you for giving a shelter dog a forever home. ??????

  • Carrie

    I’m so glad you posted about him! I’ve been waiting for this post. I love seeing the pictures you post of him on Instagram. My boyfriend rescued a pitbull off the street and he had some similar struggles at first, but after a year and a half he’s doing SO MUCH BETTER now.

  • Lauren

    This story just warms my heart. That photo is the best! Welcome home, Samson! Have you thought about the nickname Sammy?

  • Elaine C. B.

    My last dog was a rescued German Shorhaired Pointer, and she was so energetic! She was also a little traumatized so it took about 6 months for her to really set in and start showing her full personality, but I never regretted that decision or transition. I’m so happy you are able to give Samson/Sam-Sony/Sony a good home, and that Donnie is going to have an awesome four-legged running buddy. He’s a cute dog!

  • Lucy McConville

    All I can think when I look at the photos is, “Oh wow…he is PERFECT…this is the PERFECT dog for them…I just know it!!!” I’m so excited for you! And, hey, nothing wrong with a protective, scary bark once you start taking him for runs out by yourself!

  • Kat

    He looks like such a sweet boy! The training will really help and when Donnie is ready to start running with him again, look into a Gentle Leader halter. I use them on my large (75+ pound) dog and it really helps. They control the head, but allows the dog to still drink, bark, pant, etc. Plus they come in all kinds of colors.
    Might be something for you to look into, as well, since he’s such a powerful dog. https://www.petsafe.net/gentleleader

  • Liz

    Awesome! We have a muscle girl dog–about 75 pounds and are looking for leash options. I also want to try one of the waist leashes, but I’m afraid I might die. Thanks for the recommend, Kat!

    • Kat

      I have the Iron Doggy Hands Free leash for running/hiking. It is AWESOME!!!! You can shorten or lengthen the leash, there are convenient knots to quickly grab the leash when you run into an obstacle, and the leash itself is elastic. Check them out. I think they’re worth every penny. https://irondoggy.com/

  • Beth E

    If the dog responds immediately if his name is called, then keep it. If not it should be easy to change. Unless this was an owner turn in, the shelter gave him the name anyway. Both our rescues were found wandering. The first one was called LB or little bit at the shelter. She didn’t really respond to it, so we changed it to Bitsy. Second rescue has been in a foster and trained, so she responded to Goldie and we kept it. Thanks for rescuing this dog.