Kathy and John Walsh know just how much a beloved pet can change and enrich a life. And it's all due to their precious German Shepherd mix Samson.
To show their appreciation for Samson, the Walshes, of Winfield, recently donated a painting titled "Home" to the Lake County Animal Control and Adoption Center in Crown Point. The work of art was specifically donated in Samson's name.
"The painting (depicting a cartoon-style dog) says 'I was once lost and now I'm...found.' It struck a chord with both of us and made us think of Samson. And it really summed it up as to what they do there at the shelter," Kathy Walsh said.
After Walsh lost her beloved dog Shadow during the summer of 2012, she was encouraged to seek another canine companion for her other pet dog Smokey.
"Smokey wasn't handling it well," Walsh said about Shadow's death.
"Our vet suggested our dog needed a friend so I went on petfinder.com," she said. The website features a number of available loveable pets and links to Lake County Animal Control and Adoption Center.
"I saw Samson on the list. I viewed his picture on a Sunday and on Monday I went to meet him. I went back for five days to see him because I couldn't get him out of my mind," Walsh said.
There was just something about Samson that captured Walsh's attention and her heart. "He was underweight, with scars on his body and broken teeth," she said, adding he was also sweet looking with warm eyes.
In July of 2012, Walsh and her husband adopted Samson, who was given the name Samson Will, because of "his strong will and desire to live."
Walsh said Samson, who had been on Indiana's Death Row for Dogs, had been rescued and brought to the no-kill shelter by worker Yvonne Scott. It was Scott who introduced Walsh to Samson.
"We struck up a friendship because of Samson," Walsh said. She added Scott's "heart is in the right place" as she's a caring person and has the perfect attitude for working with the pets at the shelter.
According to Walsh, Samson is a special creature.
"He's very sweet and calm. For everything he's gone through, you would think he'd be so mistrusting of humans. But, even though somebody did something terrible to him, he still has the ability to love and to forgive. He's such an amazing animal."
The "Home" painting, which now hangs in the shelter's lobby, was purchased by the Walshes while they were in Florida in September. Walsh is currently getting information to register Samson so he can earn his Good Canine Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club. With the certificate, he'll be able to train to be a therapy dog.
To learn more about the work of the Lake County Animal Control and Adoption Center, call (219) 769-7016.