Sampson’s Story | ARF

How ARF Cared for A Special Dog and the Owner’s Connection

Client: ARF
Industry: Non-Profit
Video Type: Educational
Messaging Type: Interview-Based

About This Video Project

ARF wanted to share the story of Sampson, a special dog with a rare autoimmune vasculitis, found in the woods of South Carolina. With the help of the medical team at ARF, Sampson was able to be fostered and given the care he needed. Unfortunately, he suffered a fracture in his right front leg that could not be saved. Despite this setback, Sampson was able to find joy in the simplest things and taught us all patience, to not take things for granted, and that you can bounce back from almost anything. In the winter of 2022, Sampson passed away peacefully at home surrounded by those who loved him. Learn about the care and support ARF provided to Sampson and all the animals with special needs.


Sampson was found in the woods in South Carolina and it looked like he had a bad case of mange. The medical team here assessed his condition and determined that it wasn’t mange, it was actually a very rare autoimmune vasculitis that affected all of the small blood vessels and it was a genetic condition, something he was born with. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to just go into general adoption. So I’d been volunteering at ARF for about 10 years and the director of operations at the time knew me and my partner very well. So she asked us to foster him. About a year into him being with us, he jumped off our couch and broke his right front leg. They confirmed that it was broken, but they also confirmed that there was something else wrong with his bones and they couldn’t save his leg. We knew at that point that we had to be a little extra cautious with him because obviously the bones had been very compromised and he could never have another fracture. At the same time, we wanted him to be out in the world, we wanted him to experience everything he had experienced and we were willing to just make sure that we were as careful as possible. And when I say we, I’m really talking about Gary and myself and all of the medical team at ARF and all his other friends at ARF. It was a pretty massive group effort to help him just have a greater life as he could possibly have. I have no idea what the costs were for all of his care. We could have never afforded it. He would have never lasted as long as he did and had the life that he had if ARF hadn’t given that to him. He would have these setbacks and something would happen and we would deal with it and then he would bounce back every single time. In the winter of 2022, we noticed that he was becoming a little bit more lethargic than normal. They ran his blood oxygen and it was very low. His breathing had gotten more and more and more compromised. You could watch him when he was sleeping and you could see how hard it was for him to actually keep breathing. He wasn’t able to bounce back at this point. So two of the medical staff came to our home and we said goodbye to him at home in his bed where he was safe and secure so that his life didn’t end the way it started alone and scared out in the woods. Sampson never wanted for anything. He loved everyone he met. He loved every dog he met. He was just a really, really happy little guy. On behalf of my partner and I, we wanted to say thank you to everyone at ARF and all the people that support this organization. All of these animals that have special needs like Sampson did deserve to know that the world is not painful and isolating and ARF provides that opportunity for them. Sampson taught us patience, to not take things for granted, nothing is ever perfect. You can bounce back from almost anything and that you can find joy in the simplest things. Just spending the day with him was enough. That’s all it needed to be.

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