GOTCHA DAY FOR SWEET SEMINOLE SAM! by Cheryl Pierson

Tomorrow, August 18th, is a very special day in the Pierson household. It’s “Gotcha Day” for our sweet boy, Sammy!

“Gotcha Day” is what many call the day a new pet comes to live with their family—a perfect, heartfelt matchup—and not only did we “get” Sammy, he got us, too!

The beginning of this story starts now nearly 12 years ago, before Sammy was ever born. My daughter, Jessica, adopted a fluffy white Great Pyrenees puppy from a shelter named “Embry”—at that time, the Twilight series was very popular, and when the puppies were born in the shelter, the staff named them all after characters from Twilight. “Embry” was a minor character in the series and my daughter kept the name because she thought it fit him.

About a year-and-a-half later, Jessica had to move from where she lived to a place that had a small backyard, no fence, and was close to a highway. We became “grandparents with custody” at that point—a big relief for all of us—except my husband, Gary,  had sworn off pets after the kids had left home after high school.

Embry as a puppy

It took about a DAY for him to realize that Embry was his soul-mate dog. Embry lived with us until his death in July, 2018.

I’ve spent my life taking care of animals and people, and I knew Embry would want us to rescue another dog and bring him or her into our lives. I bugged my husband relentlessly. He dug in his heels. He did not want another dog. But I DID. So how to solve it? I begged him to just “go look” and see

We went to the city shelter in the small town where I was raised, Seminole, Oklahoma. There was a dog that I’d shown him on their website that he’d shown mild interest in. I asked them to bring Sammy out for us to see. Sammy came right over to us, sat down on Gary’s foot, and would not budge. When he looked up at Gary, his entire expression said, “You are mine. I’m so glad you’re here for me!” I asked Gary if he wanted to look around, and he said, “No. There’s no need.”

Sammy’s shelter intake picture

He dubbed Sammy “Sweet Seminole Sam” and August 18th became Sammy’s “Gotcha Day”—one of the best days in our lives.

The first real bed Sammy has ever had. His first day with us.

But the story doesn’t end there! At the shelter, Sammy had been a social butterfly. The employees and other dogs all loved Sammy. Believe it or not, Sammy had been adopted once and returned—for digging holes in the backyard. He was about three months old, and put into the backyard alone, left to his own devices. I think he was trying to dig his way out and back to his friends!

After we’d had Sammy for a couple of months, I noticed a kind of pensive expression on his sweet face sometimes. I could only imagine what was going through his mind. I told Gary I thought Sammy needed another dog.

Sammy looking thoughtful. He’s about 11 months old here.

I love them all, but knew that we should probably look for a dog that was about the same age or younger than Sammy, who, at that time, was around 13 months old. This was in February 2019. 

There was a little waif that had been dumped with his siblings on the shelter steps when they were not even a month old. That would have been late January. He was white with light brown shading on his back. They thought he was part Great Pyrenees, probably from his coloring, but there were darker colored siblings, so said he might be also part German Shepherd. I didn’t care what he was—he was ALL love! He looked so lost and forlorn in his picture that was posted. I knew he was the one.

He had been named “Axel”–but that didn’t fit. We changed it to “Max” in case he’d gotten used to hearing that sound, and already might have started learning his name.

Jessica and I drove the hour drive to Seminole to pick him up. On the way home, he threw up in the back seat, and when I was holding him, he peed on me—twice! Then he went to sleep. I was in love. His “Gotcha Day” is March 11, 2019.

When we got him home, I went to pick Sammy up from doggie daycare, and Jessica gave Max a bath. Sammy walked right in and loved him immediately. It was “Gotcha Day” for Sammy, too—he got a new little brother!

Sammy and Max meet each other for the first time. Sammy is being so careful. Max adores him!

If I had a bigger place, I would have as many dogs as I could. It would be “Gotcha Day” several times over!

This was taken about a year ago–one of my favorite pictures of them. Max has gathered all the toys in a pile in front of him. Sammy came up to tell on him, and their expressions say it all–Max is so proud of himself. Sammy is saying, “Oh, brother! Look what I have to put up with!”

Do you have a pet that you celebrate “Gotcha Day” for? Since we don’t know their birthdays, this is the day we celebrate with ice cream cones, special treats, and car rides! What do you do for your pet’s “Gotcha Day” to celebrate?