Alex and I are working out way up the East Coast now with a new companion: a 9-month-old Samoyed puppy named “Sammy”. He wore out his welcome with a family in Norfolk, Virginia and is coming to Boston under my “No Samoyed Left Behind” initiative. Samoyeds are unpopular for fairly good reasons. Most people who want a big dog want one that will be aggressive and attack other humans. Hence the Top 10 American Kennel Club breed registristrations include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, etc. (Pit Bulls are not an AKC breed.) A second category of popular big dog is the obedience champ, e.g., Labs and Goldens. These breeds are smart and make an owner feel good by hanging on his every word. The Arctic breeds are big and smart (as measured by their ability to solve puzzles that reward them with things that they like, e.g., food) but they don’t see any particular reason to listen to most humans and they aren’t interested in attacking humans. Samoyeds are easily bored. Especially when young they seem to need constant companionship and entertainment, either from a person or another dog. If they get bored they find ways to entertain themselves. Unfortunately what is entertaining to a Samoyed usually is not entertaining to his or her owner. Digging and chewing are popular pastimes as is destroying the rugs and furniture.
Sammy was living with a family in Norfolk. It sounded like an ideal environment with a stay-at-home wife and kids aged 6 and 3 plus a backyard with pool. Sammy, however, wanted to wrestle with the kids non-stop and they were really too young and small to deliver the required pounding to 45 lbs. of solid puppy muscle. The wife had her hands full with the kids. So Sammy was left alone in the backyard and would dig (“they did in the winter to keep warm; they dig in the summer to keep cool; they dig in the fall and spring to keep in practice” George’s breeder used to say). He was sent to sleep-away obedience camp for two weeks and came back with a good report and knowledge of some commands, though not necessarily a lot of interest in obeying them.
So… now he is coming up to New England where I am going to let Alex wear him out for a month or two and then find him a home either in the suburbs where there is a big fenced yard and some other dogs or in the city with someone who works at home and can keep the dog with him or her at all times for mutual companionship. No Samoyed should live in the South and no Samoyed should be left behind…
[The question of naming arises. I like “Ralph” better than “Sammy”. And there is a terrier in Manhattan named “Sizzler” whose name could be well applied to this little bundle of energy. Any other ideas?]