In The Park, Still Searching For Sammy

SammyCourtesy of the Beck Family Sammy, a Pomeranian last seen in the East Village, has been missing since June.

“Have you seen Sammy?” If you live in the East Village or Lower East Side, the answer is almost definitely yes – he’s plastered to poles, phone booths, and walls on what seems like every block.

Unfortunately, no one has really seen him since June 29. Sammy the shaved Pomeranian got loose from his leash outside of owner Henry Beck’s restaurant, Grill 21 in Gramercy, and ran out of sight, inspiring a massive puphunt that’s carried on for nearly seven entire months now.

Indeed, to say this shaved Pomeranian achieved local iconography in the latter days of summer might be something of an understatement. The Becks plastered flyers – in English, Spanish, and Chinese – on almost every block, and launched a “Help Find Sammy” Web site in no time.

“It’s very hard – he’s a member of the family,” said Mr. Beck. “You start the day with hope and go to sleep with the reality.”

The Becks have continued to comb the East Village, where Sammy was reportedly first spotted after he disappeared in June.  Last week, the unlikely quest to bring Sammy home gained a fleeting bit of momentum when a dog matching his description was apparently spotted in the neighborhood.

“As of recently we have been getting calls about a loose Pomeranian around Tompkins Square Park,” Alana Beck, Mr. Beck’s daughter and leader of the search effort, wrote in an e-mail message this week. “If it really is him, then he really is an amazing representation of his owners. We are just as adamant about getting him home.”

If the notion of a four-pound dog running around on its own in the park for months on end seems unlikely to you, you’re not alone.

“The dog is probably dead or sold,” Laurie Bleier, director of the Brooklyn Animal Foster Network said in an interview with The Local at the height of the search for Sammy during the summer. “They’ll never see it again.”

Still, the Becks remain pointedly optimistic, updating their Web site with messages of hope and new information and reiterating their offer of a $500 reward.

The Becks have clearly paid the price for having Sammy leashed up outside of the restaurant, and not just because of the obvious.

Sammy 2Courtesy of the Beck Family Sammy’s owners are offering a $500 reward for the dog’s return.

After Ms. Beck started putting signs up, she was plagued by prank calls; someone claimed to have eaten Sammy, another that they pitched him into the East River.

“We got the gist,” said Ms. Beck. “New York City is not always full of nice people.”

And, perhaps, not without its share of opportunists.

“The reality is, a small breed, pure-bred dog is a highly valued pet and it’s expensive to buy,” said Stacy Wolf, vice president and chief legal counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “Someone can see a friendly little dog and say ‘Hey wow, we like that dog.’ They can decide to keep it for themselves.”

Ms. Wolf could only conclude that in the vast expanse of New York City, it is ultimately impossible to know what’s happened to Sammy, especially now that his shaved fur will have grown back – assuming he’s survived since June.

“I absolutely sympathize that these folks had their dog stolen,” added Ms. Wolf. “But certainly, you have to be sensible about supervising your dog at all times and protecting them.”