Sam is visiting me for a month - I am petsitting him while his folks are in England for the birth of their grandchild. Sam is probably the BEST, least annoying, and most cheerful houseguest I have ever had (sorry, Big Sis, but Sam has you beat by a country mile! Hahahaha!). Even Allie the cat gives him a ten out of ten.
Sam is an amazing seventeen year old border collie cross (I'm thinking crossed with Malamute or Sibe?). He was adopted from the SPCA sixteen years ago when he was about a year old. Sam is 29" at the shoulder - he makes my girls, especially Charley, look like small dogs by comparison. He has bright eyes and a big happy smiling mouth and a quiet demeanor. Quiet, that is, until I put on my shoes or pick up a leash - and then he barks and grumbles and talks incessantly: "Are we going for a walk, huh huh huh??? Hurry up, let's go, hurry up!!!"
Sam is my personal fitness trainer - he loves a brisk 45 minute walk morning and night, and is quite happy going up hill. So after months of only doing leisurely strolls along the beach with my two slowpokes, or very short walks with scaredy foster dogs, I am finally getting the workout I need and already feeling better for it. Best of all, he walks beautifully on leash so despite the faster pace he isn't dragging me around.
Essentially, I have three loop walks from my house, all of which take me at some point along the waterfront. The shortest loop - to the green space near the museum and marina, is Charley-length. With Charley, who is slower than a slug, it takes at least twenty minutes, but with Sam it would take less than ten.
Crofton museum and marina
The moderate loop - down the long flight of stairs and north along the seawalk (with a side trip along the berm that leads out to the RV resort wharf) is Sadie-length - it takes Sadie about twenty minutes, but when Charley is along it takes us closer to forty.
Sam and Sadie at top of stairs
The long loop - down to the marina, south along the sea walk, across the beach front of the RV resort, up the hill back to one of the main residential streets, and back along the roads to home - is Sam length.
Crofton seawalk looking south from marina
Beach in front of RV park
Sam on beach
Up the hill and back through town
Most mornings and evenings, I do the Sam-walk first, then take Charley and Sadie on one of the two shorter walks.
However, Sam is also Sadie's personal fitness trainer, as Sadie has started coming on the longer walk sometimes and I have noticed a marked improvement in her stamina after only six days. Sometimes I have to take Sam on a short walk sans Sadie first, to get the willies out and bring Sam down to a pace Sadie can handle, but the dogs and I are all really enjoying the mix-and-match walks.
Sometimes Sam and I do a town route instead - last night, we did a mile loop heading up from my house (away from the beach) after a lovely evening of laughter with a couple of friends, a bit of wine, and a test run of the new fish and chip take out place in town (Finally! What seaside village is complete without take out fish and chips???).
Sam and I met through one of those "small world!" coincidences. Sam's dad and I worked at the same university, and while I knew his dad quite well I never met Sam back then. When Sam's folks retired, they moved to the island and I did the same when I retired in 2009. Last year, I was invited to join a book club, and Sam's mom was also a member. We have since become friends, and Sam had several visits here leading up to their departure for England. I hope Sam (and his folks!) will be a part of my little world for a long time.
Margaret and Peter, if you are reading this from across the ocean, Sam is doing just fine! He isn't even staring out the window wondering when you'll return like he did those first couple of visits - he has just moved right in and made himself at home. And he is the best houseguest ever!
(Sam's marvellously flamboyant happy tail!)