Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

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Posted on August, 20, 2003
Page: 1


Long-lost dog reunited with family

Special to The Star

If dogs 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 snowy white.

"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 missing.

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, Mark.

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