What seemed like a low point for Sam actually proved to be a turning point. AC&C immediately called the American Bullmastiff Association Rescue Service and Andrea Kelly, who has since gone on to head the non-profit Bullmastiff Rescuers, Inc. (BRI), had Sam pulled from the shelter the same day he arrived.
“Sam was a mess; he was covered in calluses,” recalls Andrea, who placed Sam with first-time foster dad Matt on his Pennsylvania farm. The bond between the two was instantaneous. “Sam was there for all of 12 minutes before Matt decided he was going to adopt him,” says Andrea.Sam quickly recovered and thrived under Matt’s care. According to Andrea, when Matt first adopted Sam, he thought, because of the dog’s age, that they would have one or two years together at the most. That was more than six years ago. Now, about 13 years old, Sam is a beloved fixture on the farm. He has the energy and spirit of a much younger dog, and contrary to the behavior of most of his breed, he even loves the water and enjoys a good swim.
Sam has plenty of canine company to keep him active, too. Matt has fostered a number of other dogs over the years, including a Bullmastiff named Maxine, who BRI pulled from the Brooklyn AC&C shelter earlier this year. Maxine, also a mature dog, was found tied to a fence on New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn. After being alerted about her by AC&C, Andrea called the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and requested that the Alliance’s Wheels of Hope transport Maxine from Brooklyn to the kennel where she spent the next two weeks clearing up her kennel cough. Then Maxine moved to Matt’s farm, where, before she found her forever home, she spent hours palling around with Sam. The two played and lounged together, and rode around the farm with Matt.There is an expression, “every dog has his day.” For a dog like Sam, those days are his senior ones. And they are not merely days, they are years and years that are healthy and full of love and companionship. As Andrea correctly points out, Sam’s story is the perfect example of the pleasures and rewards of adopting a senior dog.