A Fond Farewell To Samson, The Adventurous Dog That Inspired Austin Lost And Found Pets

Today, I said goodbye to Samson, the dog who is the reason why Austin Lost and Found Pets exists to begin with. He was an escape artist, and loved freedom and the open road as much as he loved me. He was 17-1/2, and I would’ve gladly taken another 17-1/2 or more with him if I could.


© Stephanie Martens.


© Stephanie Martens.

We grew up together. He was with me for most of my twenties and all of my thirties. This past Friday was my fortieth birthday. Not many people are blessed with a pet with such longevity. I got lucky. I know.

Today was hard, but it was also good. He slept in my bed again last night, and it was much easier than the night before. He woke me up a few times. I took him into the kitchen to drink water, change his diaper and give him a snack, then we slept again for a few hours each time. I woke up this morning well rested.


© Stephanie Martens.

I took him outside and held him up so he could mark the spot he always marked first in my neighbor’s front yard on every walk, then we hit our yard to make sure that was covered, too. Lots of sniffing. Good stuff.

I bought him a T-bone and cooked it. I cut off the meat so it could cool quickly, and he went straight for the bone before eating the rest. He ate some shrimp tails, too. Surf and turf!

Samson, the Adventurous Dog that Inspired Austin Lost and Found Pets

© Stephanie Martens.

We got into bed and I held him one last time. He fell asleep in my arms, legs twitching as he chased something in his dreams, I’d imagine. The alarm went off. It was time to go. I wanted a little bit more time, but knew there would never be enough.

I loaded a dog bed into the car, put him in it and made sure to bring what little was left of the bone he hadn’t finished. I rolled the windows down and he really seemed to enjoy it. He nibbled on that bone right up until his last moments. He never lost his appetite for the finer things, which is fitting, as he’s one of the finest souls I’ve ever encountered.

I cried a lot more than I expected once he was actually gone. I thought I was as ready as I could be, and I probably was. I’m pretty sure I could hear the vet crying in the other room, too. It took me longer than I thought it would to collect myself, but I did.

Saying goodbye to my best friend on my own terms, knowing I did more to take care of him over the past year and a half than many people would have, was a small consolation.

Knowing that continuing to take care of him in his discomfort instead of letting him go would have been selfish at some point was a big motivation. This was easily the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Having my best friend’s life in my hands was brutal. But I think I made the most compassionate choice I could have for him under the circumstances.


© Stephanie Martens.

Because of my love for him and his unquenchable love of world exploration, thousands of animals have been reunited with their families and countless lives have been saved through Austin Lost and Found Pets. He definitely left his mark (pun intended) on the world.

Rest in Peace, Samson.
I’ll always love you.
What a good boy.

“Everyone thinks they have the best dog in the world, and none of them are wrong.” ?

-W.R. Purche

Story and photos © Stephanie Martens.

Austin Lost & Found Pets Joins Austin.com: Mending Broken Hearts Together

Back in 2012, I started a little Facebook group to help me get my dog Samson home if he ever got out again. Ever since, this little area of Facebook where I or anyone else can post to for help finding a lost pet, or for help finding a lost pet’s owner, has grown into something so much bigger.

As of today, Austin Lost and Found Pets is now the primary resource for reuniting missing pets with their families in Austin and the surrounding areas — and an official partner of the Austin.com network. And what an amazing journey it has been!

Losing a pet can be one of the most emotionally exhausting experiences in the world. Beyond providing a forum with a large following to help people that have lost or found pets network socially, we offer hands-on guidance, expert advice, emotional support, and physical assistance searching.

Our street team regularly helps people search for their missing pets, hands out flyers, puts up (and takes down) signs, and traps hard-to-catch animals, often arriving before animal control does. Our team also offers microchip scanning services to people who have found pets but cannot drop by a veterinary clinic, PetsMart, or Austin Animal Center (AAC) to get them scanned. We can even track down the owners of pets with chips that are unregistered or out of date. Our team also scans deceased pets and takes them to AAC so that they are not taken to the dump, in order to give their families an opportunity for closure.

Due to our overwhelming success, AAC partnered with us in January and requested that we become a nonprofit organization, which we did right away. I never planned to become an authority on what to do when a pet is lost or found; it just happened over the four years that I’ve been doing this.

The process of building our group has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. Although I was the first recipient of the Austin Life Saver Award in July, the real reward for me is the feeling I get when someone’s missing pet makes it home safely.

So far, Austin Lost and Found Pets has kept thousands of animals out of the shelter, which quite literally has saved thousands of animals’ lives, helping AAC continue as the largest no-kill shelter in the U.S. In the process, we have mended thousands of broken hearts.

We are incredibly excited about working with Austin.com to help us spread the word about missing animals, educate the public and continue expanding our network and services. None of our success would be possible without the amazing community we have built together, and I encourage you to join our Facebook group and become a part of our network of animal lovers today.

Featured photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Social Media Savvy Austinites Reunite Pet Pig With Owner

Hammy the pig made a big splash on social media this morning as Austin rallied to try to find the piggie’s parent. Hammy was seen wandering around S. 1st this morning and was picked up by animal control officers. The Austin Animal Center made a post about the pig around 11:30 a.m., and within four hours it has been shared nearly 800 times, with over 1,000 reactions.

Thankfully, Hammy has now made it back into the loving arms of his pops, Gregory Alton. Officer Chapa of Austin/Travis County Animal Protection helped facilitate the reunion, along with the good people of the Austin Lost and Found Pets Page on Facebook. As the AAC page says, the pig was spooked in the storms and ran away.

Thanks to the incident, it seems as though Hammy might have some new friends and a play date soon. A Facebook commenter added: “I’m right in your hood too and I got a pot belly, maybe Hammy and Sir Porkington Chops-A-Lot should have a play date.”

Pets running away from home during storms is a very common occurrence, one that lands pets at the doors of Austin’s shelters. If you find yourself with a missing pet (though it’s unlikely yours will make quite the splash that Hammy did), be sure to visit the Austin Animal Center’s Lost & Found page as soon as possible.

If you’re looking for a pig pet of your very own, first do your research and make sure your home and your life are appropriate for a pig, then check out a local rescue organization like Ma’s Mini Pigs’ Farm and Rescue in Kyle or through the Rescue Me! Texas Farm Animal Rescue site.

Featured photo: Alison Alcantara on Facebook