After finding Sammy on Facebook, I contacted his owner Ace Collins to ask if he could share Sammy’s story with us. Ace agreed and below you can read about this beautiful blind collie, how he came to be with Ace and what they have both been through over the past 10 months. This is only the first installment. When you get to the end of this article ensure you click on the link to take you to Ace’s blog where you can read month by month updates on Sammy.
We have welcomed a new member into our family. His name is Samson and he is a dog that was rescued by Almost Home Rescue group of Ohio (www.almosthomeohio.org). Sammy is a mahogany collie between four three and four years old. He was born with five different eye issues including detached retinas. Thus he cannot even see light and has always lived in a completely dark world. Up until seven months ago he was locked in a cage in a small mobile home with more than seventy other collies. He lived in filth, had never been to a vet and didn’t have enough to eat. Naturally when these dogs were rescued the blind dog was viewed, as being one that most thought should be put down. Thanks Almost Home and two incredible women, Grace Bowels, who fostered Sammy, and Charlene Molnar, who keeps the options for special need dogs open, Sammy was saved. Over the past seven months Grace has worked with wonders with him. She even drove him from Michigan to Central Illinois in order to get him into our hands. Now Sammy is home with us.
My initial observations on his trip to Arkansas with me and his first day in our home have been fascinating. It took him less than an hour to completely map out the first floor of our house. He now has our large backyard mapped out as well. He can run full speed and avoid the trees, land chairs and our fence. He had learned to climb the steep steps up to our second floor, but has yet to master going down by himself. That will take a while and some work on my part. As he is blind, stepping off into what seems like nothing on a wood service is not a natural thing to do. Thus Kathy and I will have to prove ourselves to Sammy in order for him to have faith in our lead. I know that will come and we don’t mind waiting for it.
He is an incredibly happy dog. He is curious and alert. He wants to make friends with everyone one and everything (including the cats). Tiger is not sure about this canine-feline friendship yet. He is also a gentle soul who prances when he walks. In many ways he seems like a teddy bear. His ability to so quickly map our home tells me he is very smart, thus training him should be easy. My first walk with he and Baby (our other collie) was interesting. He tends to wander from side to side a bit, rather than walk in a straight line like most dogs I have owned. To me this seems natural as he is not sight oriented. He also seems to listen to Baby’s steps to judge where he needs to be and what kind of surface is ahead. Thus I can see how his “vision” works and so I am developing a language to help him know what is coming.
About once an hour he comes over to my desk and lays his head on my knee, but he is not demanding. And he loves to hear the sound of either Kathy’s or my voice. To watch his ears and face as I talk to him is simply amazing. It is like he is trying to understand each nuance and tone.
With good fortune we will have Sammy for at least a decade. I am sure that during those years we will learn far more from him than he will from us. His being blind will no doubt enrich our lives and likely teach us how to deal better with humans who have disabilities. In fact, I can see Kathy adapting new strategies for the classroom from what Sammy shares with us.
I plan on writing much more about Lessons From Sammy as we continue forward. For the moment I just wanted to share with you our initial observations.
>>You can read all the latest on Sammy at Ace’s blog here – Month by Month Updates on Sammy