The girls were working on their chores after school on Friday when I left to pick up Sam for the weekend. We wanted to see with our own eyes that he was happy with Tom, and we wanted more time with Sam. Plus, Tom was going out of town for the weekend and needed us to watch Sam. Mostly, I knew that Sam had found his new home, but I wasn’t completely ready to admit it yet.
Thorin trotted out after me, hopped in the car, and rode along. I left his leash at home; he’d been so ill and slow moving that we hadn’t needed it.
I walked into Tom’s house, and Sam was a big ball of sniffing, tail-wagging energy. Definitely happy to see me, yet two minutes later, loud, deep barks erupted from his throat. Woof, woof, woof! Why did you leave me? Woof, woof, woof! Where are the girls? Woof, woof, woof! What’s going on?
“Haven’t heard him bark before,” Tom said. “Here, let me show you what I’ve taught him and what you can keep doing.” Tom told Sam to sit at the garage door. Sam sat, and Tom opened the door. A miracle, Sam didn’t bolt but waited, his whole body quivering with want.
Ruff! Thorin stuck his head out the window to greet Sam, and Sam raced to say hi. Here we go again, I thought.
Tom put Sam on his leash, and I opened the door so Thorin could hop out and reunite with his buddy. Thorin sniffed Sam and then scampered away. Where did he get the sudden burst of energy?
I chased him, put both dogs in the car, and waved goodbye to Tom. Again, I felt conflicted: happy to see Sam, stressed about how much time it would take and how it would all play out, and envious of Tom who was headed to a fun weekend with friends. Obviously, I need a break. Plus, I miss hanging out with friends.
Again, Sam was thrilled to see the girls but wanted to explore outside. Inside, he kept whimpering. Now that he knows he has options, I don’t think he likes the small space in our condo. He paced and whimpered and begged to be taken out as much as possible. The girls were thrilled to see him, hug him again, but they were sad to see his discontentment and tired of walking him so often and being jerked around so much. He was great at the door, sitting and waiting to be led out, rather than racing past everyone, and he was better on the leash but still pulled when excited or distracted. Although he listened better, he was still too full of energy to settle down.
Again, the cats were curious but jumpy and cautious. While Thorin appeared more energetic with Sam around, he was lost in the shuffle of Sam’s energy and needs. Sam was the focus of the weekend, and already we knew, even if we didn't want to admit, that his happiness now lies with Tom and not us; while it’s hard, we want what is best for him.