With a great experience of fostering our first dog, the real-deal all-American lad ‘Tank’ (read about him here), we returned to the UK and approached the kennels here to see if we could help another hound.
Now, the British approach to fostering/adoption is markedly different to the USA. Both are rigorous, with different methods… but the same aims. With stories to tell about managing a ‘bitey’ American Pit Bull and prior ownership of a gorgeous Rottweiler, it was perhaps natural that the foster team had us lined up for a larger dog with a reputation for being a little stubborn and difficult to handle – a stray Akita, called Samson.
And so the enormous ball of fur, fun and friendliness that is Samson came bouncing into our lives to stay for a longer-than-expected 4 month sojourn - also with a happy ‘forever family’ ending.
TOP 8 THINGS ABOUT SAMSON
- He’s big. To be frank a lot of it was a bulky coat (which moulted profusely in the Summer – I’m talking handfuls at a time) and he did look hilariously diminished in the bath!
- He’s in love with everyone he meets. With giant teddy-bear eyes and one of those doggy mouths that looks like he’s permanently smiling, he was always keen to say hi to new people who were always keen to give him a hug.
- He’d been found as a stray, with a mysteriously damaged and sore nose. The shelter had fixed him up medically but he was fostered for recuperation, observation and regular application of his meds. Being an older dog, it took many months to heal and he must have been quite uncomfortable - a dog’s nose is the centre of their sensory world.
- His appetite was extraordinary. We had to take a short overnight trip and took plenty (5 days worth) of his special kibble-type food with us. Foolishly, we left him – and it – alone in easy-reach and returned to discover him dozing blissfully having eaten THE LOT.
- Samson knew when to howl for maximum audience impact – such as, the middle of Liverpool Street station or at a busy beachside café. A deep, long, lip-quivering ‘call to the pack’ that made everyone notice and smile. Even his howl was good-natured.
- He’s a major goofball. His temperament was a permanent state of slightly bemused delight at everything going on, which he frequently wanted to check out,
- He’s appointed himself head of security. We noticed he found it hard to fully relax unless he had sight of a door/exit and was positioned near ‘his people’. At mealtimes he would always disappear under the table and make sure he could keep an eye out for the pack at feeding time.
- He’s not a particularly good Akita. Now all breeds have instincts or types, but that’s not to say that every dog is identical to others of their kind. Samson was a rarity though, a naturally sociable, easy-to-control, relaxed Akita. He made everyone he met, even those a little nervous of dogs, feel comfortable in his company
If there’s one word for Samson, it’s: BIG. Able to rest his paws on my shoulders (I’m over 6 feet tall), occupy ANY space fully (a natural ability to locate for maximum possibility of contact with passing people,) ENORMOUS paws (designed for stability on wet seashore rocks in their native Japan) and a HUGE personality, Samson was literally a super-star… having been a featured story in the Paul O’Grady ‘For The Love Of Dogs’ Show.
Now we didn’t know about Samson’s TV appearance but were delighted when the ITV crew wanted to film a ‘catch-up’ segment, as this was a success story of a dog coming through tough times, medical problems and being given the space and time to relax for rehoming.
We’ll never know Samson’s back story, he wasn’t microchipped and he came into care with some injuries. It was clear he LOVED people though and with no signs of anything to be concerned about, the shelter recommended him for re-homing once his medical needs were stable and minimal.
So we waved goodbye to our giant fluffy goofball after 4 wonderful months of his company during the crazy Summer of lockdown. We know he was successfully rehomed to a family with a business on a large plot of land – giving his natural ‘head of security’ tendencies a firm job to be done. We’re sure he loves it.
Samson, the gentle giant.
POGDOGS episode with Battersea Dogs Home on ITV: https://www.battersea.org.uk/about-us/paul-ogrady-love-dogs