Sam Campbell
Born 11 August 1997. Died 17 September 2013. Aged 16 years and 7 months.

I visited the RSPC in 1997 as I was passing by one day.  I walked past a few dogs, some of whom were frantically barking.  I saw Sam sitting quietly on his wooden pallet with his front paws crossed.  He looked me in the eye.  I took him out for a short walk along the path.  He spotted an emu in a field and started barking at it.  He was very well behaved on the lead. His previous owner's reasons for giving him up was that "the yard got too small".

I left him there and contacted my parents Doug and Joan who visited to see Sam next day.  I was planning to share Sam with them when I was travelling.  My father Doug was very distressed by the death of Fred, our family dog, in 1985 and said he could not have another one.

Doug and Joan picked Sam up and took him home.  On the first day they had him, Joan was picking up some pot plants in their courtyard.  Without any warning, Sam flew through the air and snatched a pot plant from my mothers hands.  He shook the plant and dirt out, then crunched the plastic pot to bits.

Initially they thought Sam had attacked Joan, then they realised this was a naughty game of his.  He stopped doing it after Doug hit him once hard over the nose with an empty plastic pot.

I looked after Sam myself for the first 2 years.  He was quite challenging and had a very strong mind of his own.  He wouldn't come when called and was always pulling on the lead.  I took him to a dog trainer who gave some basic tips in training (issue command, apply correction if not obeyed, always praise when obeyed).  He said he thought Sam was very intelligent and trainable.

Sam was very inquisitive.  I took him up with my girlfriend Lena (later to become my wife) to visit John Taylor and Helen Godfrey who lived near Alexandra.  Sam spotted an echidna and spiked his nose on its spines while sniffing it.  He also snuck off and found a big pool of liquid cow shit then rolled in it and came back looking very pleased.  John hosed him off.

Sam slept outside on the back porch for the first few months.  It was cold over winter so I relented and decided to let him in.  He know immediately, danced a little jig, then spun around in a circle and curled up at my bedroom door.

I took him out for a short walk up the street every morning, then down to Lynden park to run and socialise with the other dogs there.  His best mate was Khan, a large Malmut. They would play quite roughly and have a ball.

Lena and I travelled to Europe for our honeymoon in 1999. We left Sam with Doug and Joan.  On our return, Doug asked if we wanted him back - he had become very fond of Sam.   He told one story of when they were entertaining guests and Sam came into the living room to say hello.  After he checked out the guests Doug told him quietly to "go to bed", which he then did.  One of the guests couldn't believe he understood that. He was very intelligent.

When our daughter Chloe was born Sam stayed with my parents for about a year as we didn't want to take any chances with Sam feeling he was supplanted in our family.  He immediately liked Chloe and she loved him.  Towards the end, he would go into her room and listen to the story Lena read Chloe at bedtime and then sleep in her room.  He was devoted to her.

Sam and I shared many adventures.  He visited the snow with us at Dinner Plain wearing his Drizabone coat, camped with us with friends at Apollo Bay, slipped down a long waterfall in the Otways and was always keen for a walk.

In his later years he developed osteochondritis which gradually slowed him down.

He had a great life. A much loved dog. Our family misses him a lot.

Rest in peace Sam.

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