Sami : Part 3

If you're new, be sure to read Sami : Part 1 and Sami : Part 2 before proceeding. Otherwise, you'll mess up your brain. Seriously. I saw it in a study.

At 3:00 AM, I awoke to Teyla's cries. I trudged the hallway, barely awake, when I heard Sami yip. From the sounds of it, she had been awake for quite a while. I could hear her pawing at her crate in the kitchen. Thankfully, Corey heard the sharp bark too, because by the time I got to the nursery, he was pulling on a sweatshirt and descending the stairs to see if our new dog needed to use the (outside and 10-degree) facilities.

I got Teyla back to sleep about the same time Corey finished his duties. We climbed into our bed and exchanged information, as front-line soldiers do.

"Is she asleep?" he asked.

"Yep. Did the dog go?"

"Yep," he answered.

We both snuggled under the comforter. But we hadn't even closed our eyes when we heard the dog again. "Bark! Bark! Bark!"

We sighed.

And then Teyla started to cry. Again.

We both exited the bed and reported to our respective posts.

This went on for about an hour. The baby would get back to sleep just as the dog barked. The dog would settle down just as the baby woke up from her fitful sleep.

It was not a fun night.

At one point, desperate, I turned to Corey and said, "We can't do this. The dog has to go back."

And then I heard Natalie sniffle. She hadn't heard my anxious plea, but she could hear Sami barking, obviously unhappy with being penned in.

I went to Natalie's bed. Now my eldest daughter was crying.

"Mom, I think Sami needs me," she whimpered. "I can hear her barking. Maybe I need to go down and be with her?"

"No, Natalie," I countered. "Sami needs to learn to sleep in her kennel, without people around. She's just confused right now, that's all."

And then, I let a test shot fly.

"You know, Natalie," I said gently, "there's a chance that Sami is the wrong dog for our family right now. I'm not making any decisions tonight, but we might have to send her back."

Natalie stifled a sob.

I gave her a hug, promised nothing was certain and returned to bed.


In the morning, Corey and I woke, bleary-eyed and foggy. We were supposed to be hosting a Christmas brunch for 20 of our dearest friends that morning, people who were visiting family back in the Twin Cities for the holidays. I was so overwhelmed from the guilt and the indecision and the frustration, I couldn't even think about what I needed to do to prepare.

Then, Corey turned to me and said, "Something is seriously wrong with my finger. Even without Teyla and the dog, I barely slept last night. The pain is running up my arm, all the way to my shoulder. I think I need to go the ER."

"Right now?" I gasped.

"As soon as I shower," he replied.

"Then ... then ..." I stammered, thinking of the people coming in one hour and the many items I had to cook or bake and the children in my house who were terrified of the beast currently barking in my kitchen, "then you have to take the dog with you!"

It wasn't a perfect plan, but Corey saw my point. So he jumped in the shower and I headed to the kitchen to try to cook in a completely irrational state.

The kids wanted to watch PBS Kids. I turned on the TV. The dog barked. And barked. And BARKED. She obviously wanted to run around the house and not be in her crate anymore. But Connor was laying across the top of the couch just listening to her, and Teyla (who was just starting to walk at that point) was cutting a wide swath around the kennel.

"MOM! I can't HEAR the TV," shouted Natalie over the incessant noise.


Corey finished showering and loaded the dog into the back of his SUV. I looked around my kitchen. I had managed the mix some butter into some flour and make some coffee. I hadn't showered. And our guests were supposed to arrive in 20 minutes.

I made a few phone calls to our wonderful, merciful friends and they agreed to give me an extra hour to try and scrape my sanity off the ceiling. It was then I made the decision, the final decision: The dog would have to go.

I broke the news to Natalie as gently as I could. She took it was well as a 7-year-old dog-obsessed girl would -- which is to say, she cried for most of the morning. I could tell she understood -- she has a practical streak, and she didn't want Connor and Teyla to be afraid in their own house either -- but still. Her heart was broken.

Perfect. All our Christmas dreams had come true.

Somehow, we got through the morning. Our friends arrived, full of good cheer and grace, and we had a wonderful time. Corey got back from the emergency room with a hole in his fingernail. The ER doctor was forced to drill through the nail to relieve the build-up of blood that was pooling behind his nail bed, which was putting tremendous pressure on the nerves in his hand and arm. And the border collie rescue society called us back and agreed to take Sami back that same evening.

Natalie was the epitome of pitiful when it was time for Corey to leave to take Sami back to her foster home. "Can I just say good-bye?" she said, her bottom lip quivering.

She came back inside (Sami pretty much stayed in the garage the rest of the day) with the little dog ID tag clutched tightly in her hands.

As Corey drove away, she burst into tears. It was one of the saddest moments I've ever witnessed.

Thankfully, that's not the end to the story.

(One more part, coming tomorrow....)


  1. I can't believe you managed to throw a party after that sleep-deprived stressful night.

  2. Sounds like one of those moments when you greatly greatly contemplate running away from home.

  3. Wow! I can't believe you went ahead with the party either!!! Super woman!! (or maybe just crazy and sleep deprived!) I would have called it off!!

    Can't wait to read the hopefully happy ending!

  4. Y'all. I feel compelled to add a clarification. The friends coming over for our Christmas brunch that day were THE BESTEST OF THE BEST. (Most of them were teenagers in the youth group back when Corey and I were leaders.) They truly wouldn't have cared if I didn't shower or if I had no food but shriveled grapes. They just wanted to be together.

    So the fact that I didn't even think about canceling the brunch has much more to do with them and their wonderfulness than my super-woman powers.

    OK. Carry on.

  5. The sleepless nights of puppy land are not fun, and when you add poor Corey's finger into the mix it can be so much worse.

    Now I really want to know...I am hooked.

    Yes, I am amazed too that you still had people over, but reading your note I see why. Friends like that are so hard to come by, you are so blessed to have them in your life!!

  6. oh good story. can't wait to read the rest.

  7. Wow, Kel. I had no idea exactly HOW intense your previous night was with doggie #1!! You really are Superwoman! What a wonderful hostess and friend. And you're right. We would've been happy eating shriveled grapes with your unshowered self. That's how much we love you. :)