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The story of Sam shows how much people care

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 3/10/21

NARROWSBURG, NY — It’s been almost a month, but Sam the dog is home for good. 

The photo of the formerly lost pitbull mix was at intersections, in the paper, on Facebook—it …

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Home again

The story of Sam shows how much people care

Posted

NARROWSBURG, NY — It’s been almost a month, but Sam the dog is home for good. 

The photo of the formerly lost pitbull mix was at intersections, in the paper, on Facebook—it was shared widely. 

In a time when we talk about division, everyone came together to help find him. 

Sam was born in June 2019. His owners, Marie and Ryan Vaz, had built their place here in 2018 and they all moved up for good last year; that’s long enough to become a country dog. 

That day a month ago, he spotted something interesting and made a break for it, as dogs do. “It was so fast,” Marie Vaz said. “He looked up at a tree and was gone,” still wearing his bright orange jacket. 

They did all the right things: put up signs, told everyone, spread the message on Facebook. People called from Sullivan County and into Wayne. When someone called in a sighting they cooked bacon and left it in front of a webcam and watched from afar. 

He didn’t eat the bacon. 

Remember, February was the month of winter storms, including the big one that dumped two feet of snow on Sullivan County. 

Still no sign of Sam.

On February 26, Ryan stayed up with the front porch light on and Sam’s bed outside, smelling of home. Their friend, dog trainer Laura Turley of Dogstar BK, stayed over. And just before Ryan was going to turn the light out, he took a look and saw the orange jacket in the bed. 

Sam was home. 

He was injured. He’d dropped from 85 pounds to 45. “He was shivering,” Marie Vaz said. Their friend held him and warmed him while Ryan got Marie up: “Marie, get up. Sam’s here and he needs you.”

They took him to the animal hospital in Middletown, and then to one in New York City, where they used to take their dogs. Sam had been hit by a car, and there were wounds that needed to heal. “After the accident, he probably stayed in one place till he could make his way home,” Marie said.

But he healed. He could eat and keep food down. He could walk. 

On Friday, March 5, he came home.

Kids in the neighborhood had made a sign welcoming Sam home. Word spread. 

And now? “He’s doing well,” Marie said on Saturday. “He’s the same Sam.”

There’s more to it, of course. Sam still has some healing to do. But there’s a message for us all: No matter how frightening a year this has been, there are happy endings. 

“People had no idea who we were,” Marie Vaz said. “But everyone came together for Sam.”

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