Happy National Dog Day!
As its a day for celebrating one of the world’s greatest creatures around the globe, I thought I’d share what dogs mean to me. As, well, they are my life.
It could be argued that I was raised by dogs. The humans in my family growing up (and now) was vastly outnumbered by canines. At its minimum our pack consisted of 9 dogs, and at most 14. Though that’s not counting the litters of puppies. We once had 16 adorable puppies in our house at the same time. Best thing ever.
You know at those ice breaker things where you have to say once interesting fact about yourself? That terrifying moment when you have to search through the facts of your existence hoping that there is one curious enough fact that isn’t too dull or too weird to tell a bunch of strangers? Well I always have an easy back up fact, my family have 14 dogs.
They are all special magical individuals who are completely part of the family and they are all one breed; Samoyeds. The reason my parents have so many is because they breed and show them. Their hobby is also a lifestyle. I know there is much opposition out there to the dog showing world which does often sadden me, because for us and many others it’s a way of life. And that’s because we love and cherish dogs more than anything. It’s about the love of dogs, about the wonders of different breeds, their history and their personalities. It’s not about a superficial competition, that’s just how we celebrate and enjoy them. What they look like is only part of it. Health, good temperament, intelligence, companionship are all so much more important to us. One of the reasons we have Samoyeds is because they are a ‘natural’ breed. They resemble wolves still a little with long noses, long legs and big tails. They could probably survive in the wild if they had to. Yes, there are some evils in the dog showing world, of course there is. But aren’t there evils in all communities, in all societies and all hobbies/sports? There are many things in the dog showing world I disagree with but banning everything just because of a small minority of nasty people doesn’t seem fair. Especially when they do so much good for raising awareness of dog welfare, behaviour and contribute so much money to animal charities. If it was only about the winning we would have stopped long ago, we are fairly successful but no champions yet!
So, what are Samoyeds? They originate from the nomadic Samoyedic reindeer herders in the depths of snowy Siberia. They were (and still are) used to ‘herd’ reindeer and pull sleds in the snow. I say ‘herd’ because it doesn’t mean in the sense a sheepdog herds sheep. They simply run behind and after the herd to keep them moving and to protect them. Sammies love running, and they don’t always stop! They are not known for their obedience. They are one of the oldest surviving breeds of around 2000 years. They have changed little from these ancestors, apart from now being entirely white (or with patches of caramel colouring called ‘biscuit’). Their relatives in Siberia are multicoloured. They have wonderful friendly temperaments which they needed living closely with the nomadic families.
I love them so much and would never want a life without a Sammie in it! It’s hard not having my own, but at least for now I live close enough to my family to see them regularly! I probably shouldn’t have favourites, but mine is our boy Timber. He is playful, very fluffy, a bit lazy, he lollops instead of runs, he loves yoghurts and will put his head on your lap with proper puppy eyes. He always takes up the whole sofa and steals my spot. He will push you very hard for attention. He looks like a lion. He goes crazy when he hasn’t seen me for a while, he literally leaps in the air at me and barks for like 10 minutes. It’s a wonderful feeling to be loved by a Sammie. My nickname for him is Tim Bear. He also adores cats.
Things I learnt and experienced growing up with a pack of Samoyeds
- You can never escape their fluff, it gets everywhere. Eating a meal without dog hair in it is a rarity.
- They individually shed enough fluff to make another whole dog.
- I have been licked on the mouth more times than I would like to admit
- Samoyeds give the best hugs.
- Puppy food actually smells amazing
- If you have a pack of dogs they will howl like wolves in the middle of the night
- I don’t actually notice dog barking anymore. Sammies do it A LOT.
- Sitting in a pile of puppies is the best therapy ever.
- Samoyeds look happy ALL the time. They are happy most of the time. They are famous for their smiles.
- They love people and cuddles more than anything
- Every dog has its own unique personality and querks, they are as varied as people.
- They look big but it’s mostly hair.
- If a dog doesn’t like showing it won’t do it and won’t win.
- Sammie puppies are the cutest things in the world, they are like little polar bears. But better.
- Real dog fights are terrifying. Growling, snapping and boisterous play are natural and nothing like an actual fight. A dog fight can only be stopped by brute strength or a barrier pushing them apart.
- Samoyeds love children and will let you pull them around and mess with them (but please don’t let your children do this, it’s still cruel)
- Sammies will chew everything and no matter how careful you are they will always find something. Chair legs, doors, slippers, cuddly toys, phones (both landline and mobile), £20 notes, radiator knobs, dog comb, paper, and a baby monitor are all things our dogs have destroyed.
- You shouldn’t shave a Samoyed unless you have a good reason like summer weather (and why would you want to?) it can ruin their coat and cause problems. They have to have a rounded collar not a flat one.
- They require A LOT of grooming!
- Samoyeds do not play fetch. They look at you like ‘get it yourself’. But they are very playful and intelligent.
- Sammies will sleep in the most awkward and uncomfortable looking positions. Corners and walls are usually the best. And doors you want to go through of course. They also cross their front legs.
- They will lift their paws for you.
- Once people have a Samoyed they never go back! They will always have them. It’s true love. They are the best of all dog breeds (in my very biased opinion!)