If the shoemaker’s children go barefoot, does that mean the dog walker’s dog…stays home? Not if you’re Sammy, and your dad is dog walker and trainer Jeff Hall. Sammy, a 9-year-old Shetland sheepdog (or Sheltie) walks with and comes to the dog park with Jeff and his clients often.
Jeff purchased (rescued, really, when you think about it) Sammy from a pet store nine years ago. He most likely was the product of a puppy mill. Sammy patiently shares Jeff with the other dogs but sometimes skips going to the park due to the hot weather and his long-haired coat.
“I do leave him home during the day in the summer,” Jeff admits. “He can’t handle this kind of heat for very long.” But Jeff says Sammy gets along great with the other dogs on walks, at the park, in the truck, and at home. “Most dogs pick up his signals that he doesn’t want to ‘play,’ he just wants to chill or bark and herd.”
Speaking of herding, Sammy’s herding instinct comes in handy whenever the pair spot a loose dog on the road. “I always stop and try to get the dog back home,” says Jeff. Sammy has helped catch a dozen or so dogs over the years, barking and circling them to bring them within Jeff’s reach. “I would’ve had a much harder time without him.” Sammy agrees.
Sammy has other talents besides herding (see photo above). While Jeff was recovering from surgery a couple of years ago, he had a hard time bending over to reach items he dropped. Sammy realized this and stepped in to help. “While I was recovering from the surgery, at home in bed, Sammy started grabbing and giving me anything I dropped. To this day he quickly runs over and picks up anything I drop and gives it to me. Water bottle, remote controls, pack of cigarettes, lighter, money.” Amazing!
With or without Sammy, Jeff is a regular “dawg” at the park. “I have seven clients who I bring every day. It’s a great little mini-community here. I just love all of the dogs no matter what breed or how well behaved they are.”
Jeff’s advice to those new to the dog park is to stay calm overall. “Don’t over react,” he cautions. And pay attention to the dogs’ body language and see what kind of conversations the dogs are having and what they’re about to do.
There are no bad dogs, says Jeff. His favorite breed though, is the Siberian Husky. Just don’t tell Sammy.