Here are some pictures of Nico when he was know as Sammy. Sammy was his original name although he never responded to it. He has a new life now and we thought he should have a new name as well.
The following narrative was written by Bruce Whiteside which tells the story of Sammy's life before he came to us. We cannot thank Bruce and his family enough for rescuing Sammy so he could become our Nico. Without the hard work, expense, and too often times, heartbreak of rescue organizations, we are sickened to think what will happen to these wonderful dogs. If you can afford to help out, please consider a donation to these wonderful organizations. There are links to both BARC and HMBMDC below.
The pictures below have short descriptions in the pop-up window that will appear when you click on the image.
Sammy and Oliver were from a problem breeder in the Fennville, area, that we have been dealing with for years. We were notified that he was selling off his Berners by a woman that had answered an ad about a female. She contacted us because of the condition of the dog; she was very thin and in obviously poor health. She bought the female just to get her out of the mans hands. She immediately took her to the vet, which doubted that she would survive. She contacted us to see what we could do. I contacted the breeder and identified myself, and made arrangements to get the dogs that week He claimed that both were around 5 years old. The AKC slip for Oliver showed he was 7, Sammy showed he was 6 & 1/2 but looked much older. Oliver knew his name, Sammy did not, which confirmed to us that he was not the dog the breeder claimed he was, but was a much older dog of 8 or 9 years. I dont endorse the idea of putting money into the pocket of such a person, but after seeing Sammy, I knew I would do whatever I needed to get him out of there. He wanted $600 for both; I got him down to $200 each. I had contacted BARC to back me up on the purchase if I needed them and they graciously did, although as it worked out the funding was minimal after Sammys adoption, so HMBMDC rescue funds would be used.
Sammy was in terrible shape, I'm sure he was only days away from starving to death. Oliver was very thin, but in better shape. Being stud dogs, they had to be kept separate or would violently fight each other. They were good with other dogs, just not each other. Sammy was so thin that you could put your fingers up INTO his chest cavity and feel the inside of this ribs, he also had heartworm's, along with both having ear infections, and intestinal worms. Sammy weighted only 46 pounds and had a 3 inch waist. Oliver was 58 pounds and less matted no heartworm's.
Sammy had dull lifeless eyes and looked as if he had given up on life. Oliver was more outgoing. We had to keep both separate with limited access to the yard, so they stayed in our pole barn, Sammy had more access to the yard, and Ollie had his own fenced area with constant ability to go freely from it to the pole barn. Sammy had run of the yard when we were home and we introduced him to life inside a home, he LOVED it. Both dogs made great progress putting on weight, until Oliver got sick and almost died from anemia. He had in internal bleed to the stomach or bowels. He was put on steroids and got much better, for about 3 weeks. We moved him from the pole barn into our master bath. Oliver was very happy spending so much more time with us, and felt secure in his new air-conditioned room with his own private fan. Unfortunately, the bloody stools returned and his blood value that we had been monitoring started to drop again. Oliver died on August 12th due to suspected rupture of cancer filled organs. His death was devastating to us, we felt so guilty not having been able to save him and let him know the love of a home. It was pointed out to us that he DID know love and DID have a family, us. So Oliver's remains will join Geordi and Cedar and our 3 goldens, as our family.
Sammy, on the other hand was doing unbelievably. With the assistance of BARC we were able to find a family that was willing to pay for Sammy's care and heartworm treatment, but they lived way out in California! These wonderful people agreed to pay over $1,100 before even touching him. Arrangements were made to fly Sammy out to San Francisco on August 7th. I had huge reservations about putting him on a plane with heartworms, but he had medical clearance, so he went. He arrived safely and his new family fell in love instantly. Sammy is now Nico and has his own little boy to play with. Its so odd that the dog we thought was not going to make it, did so well, and the one we though would do well did not survive. Watching Sammy transform was so rewarding. His coat started to transform from a matted dull, red mess to a real Berner coat, he gained 15 pounds, smiled all the time, tail never stopped, but what I found most unbelievable was his eyes were full of life again, bright and shiny.
Sammy now lives near Santa Cruz CA. with his new family Stacey, Brian and son Patrick. It took a lot to turn Sammy into Nico, but just look at that happy face!