Samson shares his stories

When you live each and every day in animal shelter for nearly three years, you’re bound to meet a lot new faces both human and animal.

A new book, written by Vicki Cook, shares the perspective of a dog named Samson who did just that in her book titled, “Pretty Boy Samson: Life and Times of a Shelter Dog.”

“When I first started out volunteering at the shelter, I would write down the names of the dogs that came in and things about them,” said Cook.

Cook is a former volunteer at Sierra’s Haven, a local animal shelter. Cook volunteered from 2006 until 2009.

“After our first year celebration, I thought it would be interesting to tell them from the perspective from Samson,” Cook said. “It was kind of uplifting everybody. Some of their stories are so sad, there are different circumstances that brought every dog in. It was just a way for us to get through it.”

Located at 80 Easter Dr., in Portsmouth, the shelter was founded in 2006 after Dr. Gail Counts’ brother passed away unexpectedly at age 42, leaving behind his cat Sierra.

Samson was surrendered by his owners who could no longer care for him; he was a senior citizen when he entered the shelter. He spent the next two and a half years living in the shelter and passed away February 23, 2009. The book details fourteen stories of other pups who shared time with Samson at the shelter, all of which are true.

“Spending time at Sierra’s changed my life. In 2009, Samson had passed. At the time, I volunteered three days a week. The entire time I volunteered, there were dogs that never got adopted. They were trying to change Sierra’s a little bit, it was supposed to a haven. If they didn’t get adopted, it was for the rest of their life. Now they work with rescues and things to move dogs to other areas where they’re more likely to be adopted. We adopted 21 dogs, all the ones who had been looked over during that time. I’ve had them for eight years.”

Cook said many of the dogs were seniors at the time of adoption and have since passed on but she still has ten remaining.

If your dog was adopted between 2007 and 2009, Cook says there may be a chance that his or her story is told in the book. Perhaps he or she was a close friend of Samson’s. To find out more, the book can be purchased at Market Street Cafe, Boone Coleman Construction or online via Amazon for $10.

Samson during his stay at Sierra’s Haven. during his stay at Sierra’s Haven. Submitted photo
Giving voice to shelter dogs


By Ciara Conley

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Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977 and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.