Long-lost dog reunited with family
Special to The Star
could talk, Sam, a white Samoyed, would probably have a story
to tell that would rival that of Toto from The Wizard of Oz.
Last October, 6-year-old Sam was
living with Marcia Roberts and her family in rural Linwood in
Leavenworth County, when he wandered from his home.
"We put out posters showing my
daughter, Alyssa, holding Sam, hoping the sympathy factor
would make someone want to return him," said Marcia Roberts.
By May, when the devastating
tornadoes hit Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, the
Robertses had given up hope that Sam would come home, and they
bought a new puppy.
In rural Tonganoxie, meanwhile, on
a trash-pickup day in May, Mark Seman pulled into his driveway
and noticed a white dog lying by the trash. "I didn't
think anything of it at first; I thought it was a neighbor's
dog," he said. "Later, my son, Spencer, came home and
said the dog was hurt."
The Semans thought the dog
might have been a victim of the recent tornado. Another
storm was brewing, so Mark drove his truck to the end of the
long driveway, and that's when he noticed a large snapping
turtle wandering on their property near the dog.
Mark and his wife, Pat, placed the
injured dog in the barn and took him to a vet the next
day. "We didn't want to have him put to sleep because he was
just such a nice dog," Mark Seman said.
After X-rays and about $90 worth
of care, the Semans learned that the dog had a broken
pelvis. Meanwhile, the turtle that seemed to have
turned up along with the dog continued to wander around
the Semans' property for several days. "It was as if he was
looking for something," Mark Seman said. "He finally gave up
and went back toward our pond."
The family decided to keep the
dog, which Spencer began calling "Milo," until they could
further search for his owner or find another good home for
him. They decided to look for a new home for him because he
wasn't getting along well with the family's other dogs.
When the Semans finally placed an
ad in a local weekly paper in June, Pat Seman was aggravated
to learn that their telephone number was listed incorrectly.
Ten miles away in Linwood, Darcy Demetre, Marcia Roberts'
21-year-old daughter, was studying for finals at KU when she
decided to take a break and get the mail. "I never look at the
paper, but on top of the mail that day the ads just jumped out
at me," she said. "When I saw that someone had found a white
Samoyed, I just knew it was Sam."
Demetre called the number in the
paper several times and got a return call from a man who
chastised her for using up his cellular phone minutes. Marcia
Roberts called the paper and got the right number, but it was
very late that night before the families made a connection.
Marcia Roberts was disappointed to
learn that a vet had told the Semans that the dog they
had was only one or two years old. Still, Pat Seman encouraged
them to come and look at him. Marcia Roberts' two sons went
with her ex-husband. "I knew right away that this dog
belonged to them," Mark Seman said. "The boys said, 'Come
here, Sammy,' and there was instant recognition."
Marcia Roberts said: "It was funny
they were calling him Milo because that's our cat's name."
The first thing Sam did when he
got back to his home in Linwood was lie in the flower bed.
Although he still has a slight limp and favors one leg when he
runs, his wounds seem to have healed, but his coat - which had
to be shaved - is coming back in a light brown instead of
"He also gets along with Milo the
cat, which he didn't before," Demetre said.
The snapping turtle,
meanwhile, apparently remains at the Seman pond, and Sam
sleeps by 4-year-old Alyssa's bed at night. What remains a
mystery is where he was during the seven months he was
Sam, a seven-year-old Samoyed belonging to Marcia Roberts
(front right) of Linwood, had been away from his home for
seven months before Mark and Pat Seman found the dog at
their home in Tonganoxie in May. In the foreground are (from
left) Roberts' daughters, Darcy Demetre and Alyssa Roberts. In
back are (from left) Pat Seman, her son, Spencer, and husband,