August 10, 2012

Adirondack Snow King

"Adirondack Snow King"
Circa. 1992-93
This is a photo of the last dog that owned us. He was a freebie. He was a, ("Daaaad, can we have a dog? There's one down the road that someone is giving away. You have to see him dad. Can we go look at him? He's really nice. Can we dad? Can we pleaseeee?" ) dog. Are you getting my drift? There was no way out of this one. The owner-pitchman even threw in a Taj Mahal dog house and wheelbarrow full of Gravy Train. I have spent a lifetime of being taken to the cleaners by mechanics, contractors, and even an encyclopedia salesman. Had I realized then that this was another hard sell I would have taken off down the sideline on Deon Sanders jaunt. When he was clean, and brushed he was one of the most beautiful dogs on four paws. King was high maintenance times ten. He was high energy and only as bright as the first click of a three-way bulb, but he was one of the most loving and heart grabbing dogs that Mother N. ever created. He had skills. His most famous was the, 'dog-pout' move. He would sit with his back to you, scooched up tight. He wanted you to pet him, now! You would be on your way to a teacher's conference and didn't want to show up looking like the Abominable Snow Man in the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer flick. You would try to ignore Mr. Snow King. This is when he would pull the trump card and drop his head like a wet towel onto your hair-sucking black slacks. Samoyeds are hair factories. You could insulate a cul-de-sac of two story homes with the hair from just one samoyed. You didn't vacuum, you raked. It was a never ending chore brushing this dog. But man let me tell you when he was in, Full-Fluff there was no dog comparable in the 'beautiful' category.

Giving a samoyed a bath is like washing a large wool blanket in tiny bathroom sink. There is no easy way to do it without making a mess of you and everything around you. You lathered him up like a Buick in the driveway. I would get several pails of warm water to rinse him. The coat of a samoyed is like a gigantic sponge. I checked with Guinness and a samoyed from Jersey holds the record. He had a total of 35 gallons of water poured onto him before he dripped one drop. So, picture this giant lathered and sopping mess of wet stinking hair standing in the middle of the back yard shaking with all his might. Yee-haw! Then the fun part. Now that King was clean you needed to get him dry before he got covered in grass or mud. You couldn't take him back in the house until he was dry. The best way to dry him was to towel him off and you better do it quickly. I would empty a shelf of old bath towels and rub him down like Burgess rubbing down Rocky. Then the parade began. I would walk Spongehair Square-King down Waller Road and back. By the time we strode back into the yard; King looked like one. Although he still needed brushing, he glistened in the sun like a huge pile of white cotton candy with four legs. About 500 brush stokes later and with my chiropractor on speed dial that dog could win Best In Show at Westminster running away.

I'm not sure about other samoyeds but King couldn't find his way home if he had a GPS in his collar. If he escaped my grasp or squeezed out the back door he would bolt as straight as an arrow at 30 mph in whatever direction he was pointed at the time. I got a call one day from someone in the housing development down the road. This was a few hours after he did his dog version of Cool Hand Luke. They said, "I think your dog is sitting on my porch staring at the back door like he's waiting for someone to let him in." I headed down the road to coral him. Their back porch looked identical to ours. Have you ever seen a white fur-ball doing search and rescue?

Here's what King could do. He could pull. That's what samoyeds do best. He loved the snow and he loved yanking my arm out of joint the second I clicked his leash on the collar. One day he was outside on his run. I had a thirty foot cable from the post on our back porch to a maple at the edge of the yard. The kids were hanging around the garage with their friends when another boy from down the street came blasting through the yard on a moped. That John Deere with a tail took off on a dead run after that moped and pulled the support post right out from under the corner of the porch. I was in the house and thought someone drove a Freightliner into the side of it. It was like a scene from the movies. I came running to the backdoor. The boys were all yelling. My porch was listing dangerously   south. Moped boy was drifting around the north corner of the house with a barking samoyed, thirty feet of cable, and the corner of my porch close behind. Luckily for him the cable snubbed King up tight when he got to that thirty foot mark. All I can remember was the sound of that moped fading into the distance as the dust and chaos settled at the corner of Waller and Northern Pines.


  1. Great laughs. Don't ya love how a dog can make you look like you are wearing a white terry cloths robe! -- barbara

  2. King's been gone for a decade but his hair will be here forever.

  3. Very funny. I can relate to some of it. We had a S. Husky. She got skunked too (like me), and never smelled normal again. Love the raking idea! Diane

  4. Love this John! But of course, it's a dog story!