Samantha...In Loving Hands

by Lee Chambers

Samantha being examined by Madeline (left) and Meg during her stay at Dakin.

Samantha is the kind of dog that steals hearts at first glance.  She has thick black and white curly fur, and the desire to befriend everyone in her path.  When she arrived at Dakin and was handed over by Maggie, her person's niece, she was immediately taken for a quick walk outside the building before going through the admission process.  The 10 year old Shih Tzu became frantic as she realized her family member wasn't with her anymore.  She began panting, looking left and right and pulling on her leash.

Where was her person?  And why was she here?

Her person was quite ill with the Coronavirus.  He was in a local hospital fighting for his life, and things weren't looking good.  Maggie, who had been visiting his house daily to care for Samantha, turned to Dakin for help. “I tried calling dog boarding places, but because Samantha wasn't my dog I didn't have her medical history, so that was out.”

We admitted Samantha through our Safety Plan for Animals (SPAN) Program, which offers care and shelter for pets on a short-term basis when their person is fleeing from domestic violence, displaced due to a house fire, or facing hospitalization.  With the onset of COVID-19, Dakin has become a safety net for pets when their person is hospitalized due to the virus.

Samantha's initial anxiety was matched only by her sweet demeanor and adorable appearance.  That flyaway fur that covered her body obscured her eyes, and she had a stubby tail that wiggled excitedly when she was happy.  Her initial exam showed her to be quite healthy, but in adherence to guidelines regarding the housing of pets from COVID-19 households, she needed to be sheltered in a separate section within Dakin's building for 14 days.

That little tail was in motion when staff members visited her to bring food, or provide enrichment time and little moments of love and attention.  She got a haircut that brought those bright eyes out of hiding and allowed our medical staff to examine her more closely.  Despite a brief bout of diarrhea, mostly likely due to an abundance of treats and the stress of being removed from her home, Samantha remained in good shape and became more relaxed as the days went by.  

Less than a week after Samantha's arrival, Maggie notified us that her uncle was improving, and a few days later he was allowed to return home.  His recovery was a great cause for celebration, and he couldn't wait to be reunited with his best friend.

Last week, Maggie returned to Dakin to scoop up Samantha and bring her back home to her uncle. “Samantha is everything to him,” Maggie stated.  “She is his companion, and his partner.  My uncle has been a widower for 10 years, and he's had Samantha for that long.  He feels lonely without her.”

Dakin’s mission is not solely focused on helping animals.  We are here to help the people who are tied to these animals as well.  We understand the important role pets play in people’s lives; they offer unconditional love, companionship, emotional security and so much more.  Your support of Dakin helps make joyful reunions like this a reality.  Thanks for being one of the guiding hands that brought Samantha back home.

Going home day.  Eliza brings Samantha (with her favorite toy) to Maggie in the parking lot.

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