Meet Sammy Davis:  One small miracle, skilled athlete of canine distinction, companion, and a life saver.

It was September 2003, and I was living with kidney disease and had been on dialysis for five years since I was 34 years old.  The disease was taking a toll on me mentally and physically.  I had become depressed and very afraid of dying.  I've read many reports on how pets can comfort you during times of sickness and depression.  Never owning a pet before, my girlfriend and I thought, why not get a dog.  So we did.  I picked up a paper and met with several breeders.  After driving for hours we met with a breeder and picked the animal that would not only change my life, but would also save it.  I brought my four pound dachshund home and named him Sammy Davis.  At four months, five pounds, Sammy Davis contracted parvo, a life threatening disease that kills many if not all puppies that get it.  I waited in our vet’s office for her to diagnose the problem.  When she came in and told me that it was parvo, and how serious it was, I became very emotional and a tear ran down my face.  I had not even known how attached I was to my dog and did not want to see him suffer.  I had to leave him for one week at my vet, and called every day to check and see if he was surviving.  He was a fighter and made it through.  After the week was up we picked him up and I was so thankful to have my dog back.

As I still was undergoing treatment myself, I would come home and rest all day.  Sammy Davis would be waiting for me at the door every day when I came home.  I was very depressed, and had tried taking medication, but nothing was working.  In addition to my kidney disease, I have been living with Charcot Marie Tooth disease all my life.  It is a bone and muscle disease which causes deterioration of my muscles in my legs and hands.  It also gives me foot drop and I have to wear braces while I walk.   Since I had never had a pet before, I had not really known what to expect with Sammy Davis.  I did not know how dedicated and loyal an animal can really be.  Sammy Davis did not want me to be confined to lying in bed all day.  He was there to make me feel less alone and motivated to get up every day.   Sammy Davis's healing methods were simple and ultimately satisfying to both of us.  He would repetitiously put into my hands toys, pieces of paper, or anything he thought would fly in the air, so he could catch and retrieve.  If I would put his toys away, he would put things like small pieces of torn paper at the end of my bed and bark and bark some more insisting I get up and play catch with him.  I began to think that this dog was telling me something.  "Get up and live, its not over," Sammy Davis was letting me know.  "You saved me, now its time I repay the favor."  In addition to getting me out of bed, it seems like Sammy Davis has always sensed my disability.  Even when he was a puppy, he would chew up all kinds of things but never my braces.  Sammy Davis has always walked with me off leash, never running from me as though he knows I would not be able to chase him.

Playing with Sammy Davis became a diversion to the difficult days I was used to in the past.  I began throwing a rope tied at both ends, he would catch it.  I started to get up after treatment and feel like my life wasn't so dismal after all.  I started to train Sammy Davis to do tricks, like rolling over and begging, and he would catch a toy as a reward.  I would call my girlfriend every day while she was at work because I was so excited by the new things that he was learning.  I took Sammy Davis everywhere with me, he was always at my side.  I would go out to the park all the time to play with Sammy Davis.  After several months of catch I decided to introduce a Frisbee to Sammy Davis. He loves catching them.  I realized that he is very talented and I had so much pride in my pet.  Suddenly I wasn’t focused all the time on being depressed and sick, and I felt so much more hopeful about life.  In June of 2004, I received a kidney transplant at the age of 39.   I met a disc dog club at a local park, and now compete at disc dog tournaments around California and do shows for kids.  Sammy Davis has won crowd pleaser awards at events.  He is now 5 years old, and loves nothing more than to go to the park and play.  He has completely changed my life, allowing me to discover a sport that I am passionate about and really enjoy.  People are amazed by Sammy Davis when they see him catching a Frisbee; most remark that they never thought a dachshund could even catch one.   Sammy Davis is my never tiring companion, and is truly my miracle dog.  

Patrick Major
Proud members of Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate

Sammy Davis List of Accomplishments

  • UC Davis Picnic Day 2006 Canine Medicine Club Frisbee Dog Competition Crowd Pleaser Award        
  • Has a picture in 2007, 2008, 2009 International Disc Dog Calendar
  • 2007 Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals Champion
  • May 2007 featured on a segment of the “Good Day Sacramento” morning show promoting the Bow Wow Bash.
  • 2008 Hyperflite Skyhoundz Southwest Regionals Second Place in Micro Dog Division
  • 1st place in Highway Wiener Dog races August 2008

  • 1st place in Woofstock Wiener Dog Races August 2008
  • 1st place in 8th annual Weiner Dog Races at Dogtoberfest in Atascadero October 2008

  • 1st place in August 2008 at the California State Fair 9th Annual Dachshund Derby

Sammy is a Certified CGC Therapy Dog and is available for hospital visits
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