Tom’s dog, Sam, was an Irish Setter/Golden Retriever mix that he adopted at 7 weeks old in 1987. As constant companions, Sam became the subject of many of Tom’s paintings.
“Sam” (below) was a 20-minute art-show demonstration inspired by a photo taken by Tom that he kept in in pocket during most of the demo. This 16” x 20” oil painting later became an Artists’ Magazine award winner and appeared in other publications as well (submitted by wife Vicki).
One day, Tom, Sam, and Vicki found and adopted Weasel, a sweetly affectionate Flat-coated Retriever that was abandoned on Baseline Road when both dogs where no longer puppies. He “weaseled his way into our lives” and followed Sam everywhere, even though Weasel wasn’t as good at avoiding cactus in the desert. Years later with Sam gone, Weasel would stop on the sidewalk for a foot massage whenever he touched something odd and hilariously walk a narrow border to avoid decorative rocks.
Vicki remembers having both dogs (normally well-behaved) on a leash in a Colorado park when suddenly a “squirrel” appeared…and she was face down in the wet grass with no choice but to “let go” and laugh! Sam and Weasel never did catch a squirrel (or an adult rabbit in the desert), though Sam annually found baby-rabbit “treasures” that he brought home to share, soggy but unharmed in his tenderly drooling mouth. Fortunately, he remembered where he found them so they could be returned for mama’s rescue while Sam’s attention went back to Tom and Weasel.
In the beginning:
Puppy Sam arrived in the foothills of South Mountain at 7 weeks old. He was so eager to explore his new home, he was standing on two feet with his little red Irish Setter/Golden Retriever head popping up over the box on the front seat of Tom’s truck.
Our first adventure was to the mail box, the distance of a city block on a dirt trail that was common to the north-side of South Mountain (Phoenix) at the time. Sam wasn’t the least bit tired at the mail box, so Tom and Vicki decided to take him on their usual walk up toward South Mountain Park and then carry him back home. Having no idea where “home” was, little Sam trotted the entire route up to 20 feet from the front door, where he plopped his little butt down for a rest.