Real-life stories of animals and their amazing bond with humans

Sam’s guardian angel


When serious illness forced Olga Dakin to go into hospital, one of the things she most missed most was her West Highland white terrier, Sam. Olga, a spiritualist medium from Manchester, England, was devoted to the dog and even kept a photo of him next to her bed.

Olga chatted about her love for the terrier to one of the nurses, who shared a passion for the breed and also owned one. Over the weeks Olga grew weaker, until one day in 1990, she sadly died. Among the many matters to be dealt with now was what to do with Sam.

Olga’s grieving son Gary was very fond of his mother’s dog, but as he worked all day, was not able to provide the companionship Sam needed. So instead Sam went to live with a woman Gary knew, Helen Rooke, who also loved West Highland terriers and who was happy to give the little dog a good home. Sam soon settled in at Helen’s house in Manchester.

But one day a gate was left open and the terrier escaped into the busy streets. Helen was worried that Sam was not used to the traffic near her house, and called Gary. Together the pair searched the streets nearby, but to no avail. As darkness fell, Sam was still missing, and both Helen and Gary feared the worst.

west highland terrier samThat evening, a local woman was driving home when, suddenly, something told her that she should stop her car. So though it was raining and dark, and though she had been looking forward to getting home, the woman pulled over, got out and looked around.

Quite was she was looking for she did not know. But something was telling her to look around her. And very quickly she spotted something lying under some bushes. It turned out to be a small, white dog, a West Highland terrier, which had obviously been injured by a car and now lay shivering with fright and shock by the side of the road.

The young woman carefully picked up the dog and saw from its collar tag he was called Sam. She took the animal home where he soon recovered. Sam even found a new friend at the house, for by coincidence the young woman also owned a West Highland terrier just like him.

Later that evening, when she was sure Sam was okay, the woman dialled the telephone number on the collar and spoke with Helen. The woman explained briefly what had happened and a relieved Helen drove over immediately to fetch Sam.

As the two of them chatted, Sam’s rescuer explained how she had stopped and found Sam. But she said she could not explain what had made her stop in the first place. Helen joked that perhaps she had somehow been guided by Sam’s late owner, Olga, who was a spiritualist.

The mention of this name astonished the young woman. She quickly explained to Helen that she was a hospital nurse and she had often chatted to a patient called Olga who used to speak of her pet West Highland terrier.

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