While spotlights will usually be about Sick Chicks, I decided to do the first one about one of our best support systems – service dogs. You’ve been seeing the name “Mer” all over the website, well now you get to meet the man beside Mer, Sami the Service Dog. I will be interviewing Sami with the help of his mom Mer.
So, Sami can you tell me a little bit about your training?
I was originally being trained to be a seeing-eye dog, but then I discovered my true calling of being a mobility dog. I was trained by the great organization PAALS, special shout out to Mama Jen. My own mom, Mer, does a lot of great work with PAALS now.
What are some of your nicknames?
Tam and Tim are my favorites, but I’ve also been called Beans, Lambroll, Big Black Beauty, Jammers, and The Beast.
Why so many names?
I think my family is just testing my intelligence.
Where’s the best place you’ve been – and you better say California.
California was my first plane ride with Meredith, which means it holds a special place in my heart. Plus I got to see you and your crazy dogs. But I also love the lake because I get to play in the water there.
Well thanks Sami!
*We took a brief pause at this point in the interview while Sami played with his favorite toy Ele, the Elephant*
So Sami why did you become a service dog?
I’m what you call a “Velcro dog”, which means I bond with one person. I’m also super smart and have learned all kinds of ways to be helpful to Mer. Basically I was meant to be a service dog.
Is it hard for you to not be pet while you’re working?
I always want to be loved on and pet, but when I’m working I can’t have distractions, so nobody can pet me. I don’t really mind though because I get plenty of love from my mom when I’m off duty.
What’s your favorite thing about Mer? I know it’s going to be hard to pick.
She takes care of me as much as I care of her. She still loves me even though I wake her up at 6:30 every morning. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is.
Sami, what advice do you have for others looking for service dogs?
Labs Rule! On a serious note though, we’re a ton of a responsibility and our relationship is really built on trust. I hear a ton of people tell my mom they would like a service dog too, but they only see the fun side of being able to take your dog everywhere with you rather than having a disability and needing to depend on your dog for support.
What do you think of High School?
Calculus is my favorite subject because Mr. Fox is able to hold my attention better than other teachers. Other than that it’s a lot of lying around. Mer is awesome though because when the floor is cold she brings my bed to school.
What do the students at Mer’s school think of you?
At the beginning people tended to do one of two things. Either they would rush to come pet me, which they couldn’t do, or they were very hesitant of me and stayed away. Now they realized I’m just a part of Mer and are totally cool with me.
What’s the best thing to happen to you this year?
TENNIS BALLS - the community joined together to bring me thousands of tennis balls. It was amazing!!
How did you pick Mer?
Because she needed a man of my size. I’m tall her enough for her to wear a harness and be supportive when she needs. We’re Beauty and the Beast.
What is your favorite food?
Muffins. I’m not supposed to eat them, but I love them. Mom feeds me duck everyday. I like that too.
How do people react to seeing you with Mer?
A lot of people think Mer is a trainer because she looks so healthy, when actually I’m working for her. This surprises people and it gives Mer a chance to raise awareness for invisible illnesses.
Well Sami, this marks the end of our interview. It’s been super fun talking to you. Is there anything else you want anyone to know?
Oh and biiig kisses.
Awesome Sami! Well I know you want to get back to playing with Ele, so I’ll let you do that.