While we have been on our international adventure, Sampson has been with his foster family in the middle of Pennsylvania, the human parents of his canine sister, Mercy. Kim, a first grade teacher, regularly writes letters to the children about Sampson's antics and sends photos and great updates. We are so lucky to have found this big-hearted family willing to open their home to another giant, hairy, slobbery Newf.
I could not resist sharing the most recent letter from Aunt Kim:
Dear Mom, Dad and Kiddos,
Just got back from a long walk. Yup! This town is going to miss me. It's hard being a rock star. All the people, hugs and the pictures. Like tonight. I had to walk up on a porch of a lady yelling “Sampson, come say Good Bye before you leave.” Then… just a few steps later a little girl comes running up to me. I can always tell when Aunt Kim gets nervous, she holds my collar tight. So let me get this straight, she is nervous and chokes me!?
But I have to tell you about today! I let A.K. get an extra hour of sleep. Between us, she could use that beauty sleep. She is looking a bit weary since Uncle Matt left to go shoot Bambi. (Don’t pass that rumor on, but it is what I heard!) So, about 4:41 I thought it was time to get up. I saw something out the window. It sorta looked familiar but I couldn’t place it. So Aunt Kim suited me up and out we went. All around me was falling wet, white, cold stuff! A.K. said it was snow and I saw it before. I don’t really remember, I must have been too young. But oh… guys… how I wish you had been here! It was wonderful! I couldn’t get enough of it! So Miss Sissy Mercy Pants, I mean my sister and Aunt Kim went back to bed. Me? I watched the snow falling from the front window. Now that I removed the curtain you can see so much!
Well Aunt Kim stumbled down the steps. Now before we take this story any farther, I want to make a few comments. I know my basic color is black. I am not exactly Clinton Kelley, but I do know a few things about fashion….. Since Uncle M left, Aunt Kim has been wearing his Long John’s. Do not ask me why. I think for the same reason the kids wear Dad’s shirt when he is gone. Something about their scent?!?! So when Aunt Kim walked down the steps today I thought.. “Is that really the best she can do. It looks like she has some junk in that trunk!” Fast forward this Project Runway scene. So both Miss Pesty Pants and I want to go out at the same time. I knew that wouldn’t happen. Every SINGLE time A.K. takes us both out at the same time she SWEARS she will never do that again. She grumbles it under her breath. (Like I can’t hear?) But nope! There she is, strapping us both up, grabbing the reigns and opening the door. I am trying to give her the Newf Eyes! “Are you crazy? This never ends well! Mercy will not behave, she never does!” But… the teacher knows best.
Well, my Forever Family! When we hit the cold air, with snowflakes swirling everywhere, so beautiful, so white, so wet… what could we do? We HAD to run! It is in our blood. We are from Newfoundland where it snows all the time! We had to live up to our heritage! And did we ever run! We ran, we rocked, we rolled, we tumbled and stumbled… and so did Aunt Kim. It was sorta like a dragging, sledding, slipping dance she was doing. She was trying to roll the leashes, but we would have none of it. The only thing that saved us was when Mercy had to poop. Now Mom and Dad… cover the kids ears…. At that very moment Aunt Kim called Mercy’s poop 'holy' and she took on a potty mouth about the word poop. Me? I stood there like a gentleman, enjoying the scenery.
It was just about the time Aunt Kim was taking out the 1,000,000,000 poop bag of the week that that darn bicanine starting jumping around. You will never believe what happned. Try NOT TO PICTURE THIS! Aunt Kim’s Long John’s fell right down to her snow boots! I knew they were sagging earlier! What was she thinking! There she was two leashes, one holy poop bag, a long coat and Long John’s down to her boots!
Well… I could tell she has been working out because did she drag, and I mean drag the two of us in the house! When we hit the porch she took off her coat and her sagging issues were all pulled up by now. Guys, you have to understand… beauty is meant to be shared! Aunt Kim picked up the towel and for a second I thought she was coming towards me. No way! That is only for rain, not snow. So I thought, share that snow! I dug down deep and shook that snow in Aunt Kim’s direction as hard as I could!!!!!
And I heard her exclaim and she gritted her teeth tight…
"Samps I would strangle you right here… but it’s not worth the fight."
As with that my family, I am taking my Mallard duck with me and saying “Good Night!”
Love, Licks and Drool!
* *** *
How do we thank the family who have taken such loving care of our hairiest son? How can we show our appreciation for the tender care, the tolerance, and the rapt attention they have given him?
Before this, we were strangers, acquaintances connected only by the fact that our dogs had the same mother, like distant cousins of the bride meeting the groom's secretary's mother in the bar line at the wedding. And then one day, Kim wrote me a letter, and offered to be Sampson's foster family while we traveled, for as long as we needed it. She said she remembered being a young mother, and how the generosity of others made things possible.
Next week, we travel home, and there will be a long-anticipated, joyful reunion between Samps and his family. Piper has been talking about this, drawing it, dreaming it. For the first time, we will get to meet Mercy, who was recovering from surgery when we first left for Honduras. We'll have brunch, and try try try to convey our gratitude. Kim has promised there will be tears. I have no doubt.