Whenever Anthony Camargo takes out his dog Samed out for a walk, he gets stopped at least 20 to 25 times. The Darnestown man pushes Samed around in a stroller with a sign attached - "handicapped dog" - and is greeted regularly by people who want to know Samed's story.
Samed is a stray that Anthony found and rescued in Thailand four years ago. He had semi-retired to Thailand and was jogging on the beach one day when he noticed a stray who had give birth. He told the Maryland Gazette that each day he went by he noticed fewer puppies around until only one was left, abandoned by her mother and litter mates.
The puppy was full of fleas and filthy and did not have use of her legs. Anthony took Samed to a local vet who advised her to simply get rid of her. "I was shocked," Anthony says. Although she was near death, he decided to give her one good night. He got her toys and bathed her. After she survived the night, Anthony decided to adopt her. He named her Samed after the island, where he found her.
Five months ago, they moved back to the United States together. Anthony says having Samed has changed him and made him more responsible. "I have to take care of her; she is completely dependent on me."
He believes people who meet Samed are also changed for the better. Sometimes people look at her curiously. Others sometimes look at her distainfully, until they read the sign on the handlebars or Anthony corrects them. One time they were walking by a sports bar and were jeered at. "I just walked up and said 'This is Samed, she is handicapped,'" he says. "They were truly interested; some people teared up and said they were sorry."
Samed is always friendly when people approach, licking their hands to say 'hello'. They share their stories of their pets with Anthony and often thank him for taking care of her. "People’s perceptions totally change. [They] come up and interact," says Anthony. "I've never had a negative experience."
Anthony, who makes jewelry and plans to make a new line out of reusing materials people think are useless, draws the parallel of his new work project with Samed and how she might have ended up. "How do we know that a certain thing is dead? Just because it’s no good for its original use that doesn’t mean its useless."
Story Update July 20:
Anthony Camargo wanted to let everyone know some further details about Samed so everyone is aware of her condition. "Samed has been to specialist both here [United States] and in Asia and unfortunately Samed does not have enough control over her back legs, as well as her front legs, to facilitate the wheel chair or cart that can accommodate other dogs. Samed also has brain damage and she is unable to hold her head or anything else still for any period of time."
He says Samed has had many tests done but is always miserable and in pain when visiting vets, and after much thought Anthony says, "I as a parent had to step in and say when is "enough, enough?" As Samed was born this way "and she most likely never walked" he feels she is not unhappy or missing out on quality of life. He also asked to please keep sharing Samed's story. "Every day I get more inspired and thankful to have been blessed to be her guardian."
Read Anthony's comments in full below. Thank you Anthony!