Old Dog Made an Entire Community His Family

More on PawNation: coonhound, old dogs, redbone coonhound

Patti Lawson

Sam has no real job, yet he gets plenty to eat. He's is not on unemployment; he does not receive welfare or any type of Social Security benefits. Sam pays no rent and doesn't own a house, but he sleeps in a comfortable bed every night and it's not at a shelter. He doesn't go to a free clinic or get Medicaid, yet he has excellent medical care and is in very good health for someone who is 91 years old.

Sam is an old dog who can teach all of us some new tricks-and how a village raising a dog just might be the answer to a myriad of woes we face in this disastrous economy. As Thanksgiving approaches, taking a look at the life of this very special dog will show us how to be truly thankful.

Sam was born 13 years ago one in a litter of many puppies with a purebred Redbone coonhound mom. Trouble was, unlike most of his siblings, Sam was considered unfit for training to be a hunting dog and was never taken along on the training trips. Early mornings before dawn, the dogs would be loaded in pickup trucks to go out in the woods to train, with a stop first at the Dalton General Store for breakfast. Sam would run behind the truck eventually making it to the store, but he would always be left behind.

As the puppies grew, one by one they were sold or given away. Sam, however, was the only pup in the litter without a future. When the training trips were over, he chose a different path. He found his own way in the world, eventually showing up at Arthur Tessneer's barn.

That was 13 years ago and today Sam has created a fine life for himself that revolves around the Tessneer family and the Dalton General Store in Lake Lure, N.C.

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