December 10, 2023

Sam the dog’s new owner isn’t a builder, but he’s a perfect fit.
After two years of sitting on his red blanket watching other puppies and dogs come and go from SPCA Thames centre – Sam has finally found a home.
The seven-year-old kelpie-cross was called “so adoptable it’s not funny”, yet had notched up the longest stay of any animal in SPCA care in 2022.
But since Stuff’s coverage, his luck has changed with his new owner farmer Ewan Hope driving from Matamata on Tuesday morning to pick up the “lovely boy”.
“When I came to see him he was so friendly, and I knew he would make a great companion,” Ewan said.
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Sam’s life changed when his previous owner moved and left him behind.
He was picked up by a local pound and arrived at the Thames centre in July 2020.
Before Stuff got involved, only eight people have shown interest in Sam, but none have fallen for his wonky ears – except every SPCA staff member.
Reading up about Sam’s misfortunes, Ewan wanted to help.
He and his wife Gloria own a dairy farm in Walton, 13km from Matamata.
Now retired and past their travelling days, Ewan said Sam would be a perfect companion for them.
“When I heard the story that he had been here for two years. That’s pretty sad,” Ewan said.
“I’ve owned a few dogs – mostly farm dogs – and I thought he was such a lovely boy.”
Expressing his interest in Sam over the phone with SPCA manager Lisa Handcock, it was clear they were a match made in heaven, she said.
While she had joked he’d end up with a builder, a farmer is very close.
Since Stuff’s story, she said, they had received a lot of interest in Sam with 12 serious applications, but the majority either weren’t willing to make adjustments to their fence for Sam’s Houdini behaviour or had cats which he is a “bit too interested in for his own good”.
The Hope family, however, went above and beyond.
The couple fenced off an area of their yard to keep him in while they go out for bowls.
They also set up a couch in the garage for Sam – a perfect place for a kip with his red blanket.
When the couple are at home, Ewan plans to take Sam out on the four-wheeler with him or he can join Gloria in the garden.
“I like to take my dogs everywhere I go.
“I don’t do much farmer work these days, but every now and then I like to go out and annoy the girls.”
While the SPCA team were given a chance to say goodbye as part of a morning tea on Thursday, there were still tears in staffers’ eyes as Sam jumped into Ewan’s car on Tuesday.
Staffer Brent Thomas​ said they try not to get attached to animals, but it was impossible not to with Sam.
“Sam meant the whole world to us.
“We treated him like he was one of our own pets, so to say goodbye is emotional,” he said tearing up.
“Now he is going to be able to live out the rest of his life on a farm which is so amazing and makes use feel so happy and rewarded for the work that we do.”
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