- Name: Deborah Sampson – “Sammie”
- Breed/Color/Sex: Labrador retriever, yellow, F
- DOB: November 13, 2012
- Current Status: Therapy Dog
- Donor: Kerrybrook Kennels (Chris Wincek)
- Puppy Raiser: Maria M.
- Puppy Sponsor: Pearson Rappaport Foundation
- Puppy Scholarship: Noelle Sotack
As I look back on this month, I realize that in addition to going to class and going on training outings, I spent a lot of time playing with my friends. My favorite outings were to the Damascus Recreational Center and to a hardware store where I helped clear up the aisles. I picked up things that were on the floor and placed them in their place. I like it orderly! At home, I take things from my toy basket and place them on my “place.” Then, Scotty takes them and puts them back in the basket for me. He’s so handy.
Oh, yes, as for playing, I spent a lot of time at Hero Dogs and Ms. Jennifer’s field playing with all my friends. Beau, who is one of my best friends, and I played every week. He even came to my house to play while our people were having dinner. I like him because he never seems to tire. So we can keep running and playing even when everyone else has called it quits.
On the last weekend of the month, my family and I went to Gettysburg in the RV. It was kinda cold, but we went on long walks anyway. The only thing I didn’t like is that there were lots of dogs that I didn’t know. Scotty and I stayed away from them and just played together.
Now I must tell you something very important. Not every puppy is meant to be a service dog. Each one of us is unique - each one of us has special talents, traits, and a distinct temperament. In my case, I have found my calling and my passion as a reading dog. I love going to school every week and listening to young children read to me. There is great joy in hearing a kindergartener read his or her first words, or a reluctant reader finding the courage to read aloud, or a child discovering the beauty of poetry and sharing it with me. When I walk into the school, word spreads quickly: “Sammie is here, Sammie is here!” Sometimes, I get belly rubs; and always, always, I get treats and lots of smiles and hugs. What could be better?
Although becoming a service dog is not in the cards for me, I have found my own way. I am making a difference by helping children gain confidence, learn to persevere, believe in themselves, and be proud of whom they are. From now on, I will live with my puppy raiser family and visit school every week. This is the most wonderful thing for me. I am working, I am loved, I am happy, I am making a difference.