In April 2020, Samuel, an 11-year-old dog, was left without his owner Wendy Thompson, killed in a car accident. The dog had lived with his mistress for 10 years. Both the woman and her pet were part of the Whitehaven life, a small coastal village with only three streets, no stores, and about 25 residents. In fact, there are only about a dozen dogs in the village, and Samuel is one of them.
Village residents walk their pets in quiet neighborhoods, so Wendy and her dog regularly met neighbors and walked together.
It was from social media and endless phone calls that Whitehaven’s residents learnt the news about Thomson’s death. “I knew something was really wrong when I saw a post on Facebook from someone asking if anyone knew how to get a hold of Wendy’s daughter, Rayne,” said Wendy’s neighbor Jan Elmy.
“Wendy and I were neighbors, but we weren’t close. We often walked our dogs at the same time,” she said. “That’s how our friendship started.”
Jan decided that someone should help Wendy's pet, which still lived in the house. “I believe Cindy Curan was the first to check on Samuel,” Elmy recalls. It was soon decided that the neighbors needed to make a schedule for feeding and walking the dog.
As Elmy says, Cindy, the Whitehaven Hotel manager, volunteered to take the morning walk and Sharon Roeble, (who recently moved from the village) took the evening walk. However, Cindy had difficulty in walking her dog and Samuel together, so Elmy took the morning walk.
The loss of his mistress has not been easy for an 11-year-old Samuel, and his illnesses have worsened. He was treated for intestinal and ear infections in late spring, and had to have his eye removed because of glaucoma. The late owner’s daughter couldn’t take the dog in, because she lived in California, where she already had a dog. So it was Jan who took care of Samuel and found a vet nearby who performed the expensive surgery.
Elmy has a 6-year-old female pit bull, Mary, who has befriended Samuel.
"It was the right decision. I've always loved animals. I’m doing this because if what happened to Wendy should happen to me, I’m hoping somebody will take my dog, show the same love and compassion, and give her a good life. I think Wendy would be pleased to see people stepping up to the plate to help her dog," Jan shares.
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