I'd been following the Y Not Save a Sam Facebook page for a while and learned about how many Samoyeds were being rescued by Yvette. On November 14, 2015, I finally got up the nerve to let her know how much I appreciated the work she was doing helping Samoyeds in need, no matter where they were. I also offered to foster because I work from home. It was around Thanksgiving and I was thankful that I had such great dogs, so I wanted to give back. I'd also just gotten a raise at my job, so I figured I could afford to donate my time and money for vet expenses to help a homeless Samoyed.

Two sams, Kynlee and Narae were coming to the US from Korea and both were heartworm positive. Kynlee also had a problem with her front left foot in that it turned outward. It was somewhat difficult to tell what exactly was wrong, but it didn't seem to hurt her. Apparently, Kynlee was a stray from a pound and being heartworm positive and deformed, she was headed for death. The EFL rescue in Korea took her in and Yvette agreed to bring her to the US.

I agreed to foster Kynlee who arrived in Los Angeles on December 12. She was groomed and stayed in foster care for a day, and I met her at LAX on December 14 for our flight back to Tucson. While waiting for my plane, I got a call on my cell and learned I'd lost my job. Oops. But I made a commitment to Kynlee and that's what credit cards are for. At the airport, I also discovered Kynlee was in heat. Another oops. (But it all worked out, within 6 weeks, Kynlee was out of heat and I got another job.)

My husband and I agreed to rename Kynlee Tasha because we already have a dog named Kaylee and Kynlee was WAY too close. He met me and Tasha at the airport and although I'd never had a dog in heat before (mine are all spayed), I knew from other dog-lovin' friends what to do. On the way home from the airport, we stopped at WalMart and got pantiliners and my husband got some new underwear because Tasha was going to be wearing his old ones.

We took Tasha to the vet who examined her foot, and did another heartworm test and x-rays, which showed Tasha had some heartworm in her lungs, but none in her heart (stage 1). We also learned that her foot problem isn't a deformity because there's a huge scar. The injury must have happened when she was very young because of the way the bones grew (they bow outward). There are some risks associated with spaying a heartworm positive dog, but we were able to get her spayed and she came through with flying colors. She also had some issues with itchy skin. Because of being in heat a lot of her fur fell out and her tummy was shaved from being spayed, so she wasn't exactly the furriest Samoyed for a while.

Tasha went through the heartworm treatments according to the protocol outlined by the American Heartworm Society, which takes four months total. Tasha dealt with all the icky shots like a trouper and they loved her at the vet. We officially filled out the forms to adopt her January 13, 2016 and she was declared officially heartworm free on April 29. I discovered that heartworm treatments are another thing that causes fur to fall out. Tasha more or less completely replaced all of her fur in the last six months and now has a gorgeous sammy coat and a gigantic tail. She looks like a different dog, but she still has the same sweet expression and teddy bear ears that caught my attention in the first place.

I have taken her to two obedience classes and on October 18 she passed her AKC Canine Good Citizen test. Next summer I'm looking into doing therapy dog work with her and maybe taking some rally classes. In the meantime, Tasha gets to go for tons of hikes both in Arizona and Idaho. The rocky soil in Arizona is hard on the oddly shaped pads of her funky paw, so she wears a little hiking boot and sock. Once she's got her boot on, she's a hiking machine and loves going on long hikes with our other dogs!

Thanks for all you do Yvette! ~ Susan (& Tasha too!)