My Special Dog Snowy

February 18, 2008
By Tyler Jamison, Montebello, NY

It was not front page news but to us it was just as important. Buried in the newspaper was an article about two sisters from Staten Island and their two Samoyed dogs. The sisters, while driving cross country, had taken a wrong turn in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They ended up almost going over a cliff, plunging fifty feet and becoming wedged between two trees. The part that interested us the most was not the two sisters although we were glad it turned out they were safe but their two dogs Jenny and Bandit.
It turns out that years earlier my dad had purchased our dog from them. The two Samoyeds in the car were the mother and father of my dog Snowy. The newspaper article described how the dogs were key in savings the lives of the two sisters. The female dog had jumped from the car window and ran for help. She barked frantically in the road causing a car to stop to see what the commotion was. The male stayed behind laying very still pressed against the lap of one of the sisters keeping the car balanced so the car would not fall hundreds of feet into a ravine below. We always knew our dog Snowy was special but this only confirmed it.

When my Father first drove home with my new puppy I could hardly hold back my joy. This was my first true pet, although I did have a chameleon named Marqurite named after my Grandmother but a dog is a young boy’s best friend! The new puppy was all of 8 weeks old one ear drooped he was snow white and when you petted him he felt like a huge cotton ball. We named him Snowy. As a puppy Snowy fit into my red radio flyer wagon. Although he was a very active he would sit patiently as I pulled him around our yard. We all loved him but who wouldn’t.
Samoyeds have the perpetual look of a smile on their face and have black eye liner around their eyes and they love people. Snowy was a very inquisitive puppy, always sniffing and digging and if it fit into his mouth he would eat it. I lost several boxes of crayons to Snowy and I know our neighbors must have been a bit perplexed as to the multi colored puppy poop that dotted our lawn on occasion. Our family learned quite early that dogs like people can be very stubborn and rebel. Snowy was definitely a people person, and did not like to be left alone. This is a lesson we learned very early. One afternoon my parents and I left the house for a couple of hours and did not take Snowy. We had forgotten to place Snowy in the kitchen preventing his escape with a wooden gate. When we returned we discovered our adorable little puppy had devoured my parents’ prized deep blue camel back couch ripping and tearing it to pieces.
My parents did not punish Snowy as he was still very young and it was their oversight. They said he would learn in time. There was one morning in particular that I remember that my dad became very worried about Snowy. Snowy loved to lick your face and it seemed that he even became more persistent if you tried to stop his onslaught of face licks. My Father felt something on Snowy’s tongue and upon examining it saw a black round object the size of a pin head. Not knowing what it was we rushed Snowy to the vet. Luckily for us the veterinarian had seen this strange ailment before. Snowy the great ant hunter had gotten bitten by a carpenter ant and the head with pinchers attached was stuck right in the middle of his tongue. All it took was a steady hand and tweezers and our puppy was as good as ever. Although Snowy was an arctic dog and his coat was designed to keep him warm this thick coat came in handy one hot August day. Resting on the side lawn was my Dad and Snowy. Just a relaxing day at least that is what they thought. The spot that they chose to recline on was the entrance to a very active hornets nest. First one hornet than another then a mass of hornets all converged on my Dad and Snowy. It was quite a sight seeing my Dad and Snowy running around the house, and finally escaping inside. Snowy’s thick fur and skin protected him however my Dad did not fair as well.

My Mother and Snowy always had a very special bond. Early in the morning my Mom would come downstairs in her white bathrobe. Snowy would get up from his deep sleep and walk over to my Mom and take the belt of the robe into his mouth and guide my Mother to a special spot on the carpet floor. It was a perfect spot where the first sun of the morning would shine. Snowy would place his head in my Mom’s lap, close his eyes while my Mother petted him to sleep. As a mature dog, Snowy took it upon himself to guard our deck from the marauding squirrels that sat peering above him in the trees. Snowy would go to a secluded area on the deck close his eyes and wait for the invading squirrels tricked into a sense of safety. Snowy would jump from his laying position barking loudly chasing the squirrels away and protecting us from the vicious two pound marauders.

Car rides for Snowy were always very special and no matter what he was doing even eating, all you had to say was “ Snowy lets go for a ride” and quickly taking one last bite he would bound to the car jumping and twirling in anticipation of the car ride. He would sit in the front passenger seat with the seat belt strapped around him, not caring where he was going, just knowing he was going for a ride. Believe me there were a few second glances from the cars next to ours, realizing there was a smiling large white dog seated in the front seat happily looking at them.

A few years ago my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was as if Snowy knew this and was a bit more gentle during my Mother’s chemotherapy. He would still lead my Mom to the special spot on the carpet floor but a little slower and not as rough. This was a very calming time for my Mom and Snowy. Snowy started to slow down a little a year ago and instead of chasing the squirrels every time it was every other time. The car rides were replaced with short walks and naps, although he would wag his tail if you said “let’s go for a ride.” We took Snowy to the vet and was told he had incurable cancer and had to be put down. Words cannot describe the sadness our home felt on that day. A very surprising thing happened on that same day. A lone squirrel scooted on the deck jumped onto our outside kitchen window ledge as my Mom was washing the dishes and took one quiet moment and just looked straight into my Mother’s eyes and then off he went . My Mom said it was Snowy saying one last good bye.

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