A local dog is in the running for America’s Favorite Pet! Competing against hundreds of other dogs since January 16th, Sam, a Border Collie from Myrtle Lane in Altavista, has now made it to the quarter-finals of the annual event. He must win three more rounds of voting before he’s named the country’s favorite dog for 2023.

Altavista resident Samantha Parsons adopted Sam last November. They’ve become known in the community as Sam & Sam. The dog’s first owner became unable to care for him after a stroke. Ironically, Parsons had lost her aging Border Collie Mojo to a sudden brain aneurism about a year prior.

“Our shared experiences of loss and our shared name made me fall in love,” Parsons says. “I found him while scrolling on my phone before bed and I immediately applied for him.”

The morning after she submitted the application, the Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue called and began the approval process. Sam’s foster said she was prepared to keep the dog indefinitely because senior dogs are so difficult to find homes for.

The two Sams have now become inseparable. Sam is a highly social dog who loves every human he meets. On walks, he often sits and whines in front of every home that houses one of his dog friends. Even when his aging joints won’t let him go for long walks, he still likes to go sit in the median of the road every morning & observe what is going on in the neighborhood.

Common for Border Collies, Sam the dog is highly intelligent and hard working. In his retirement age, he has taken on the responsibility of burying and guarding every bone he’s given. Originally a city dog, Sam has enjoyed rural living and prefers to sit outside all day. He even prefers rainwater to the tap. He is oddly scared of large birds (like buzzards & geese), has a perpetually-scratched nose because he buries his bones using it instead of his arthritic front legs, and sits to watch the sunset almost every day at 4:30 p.m.

Winning the America’s Favorite Pet competition includes a profile in Dogster Magazine and a check for $5,000. If Sam wins, Parsons hopes he will inspire others to adopt senior dogs. She also says that they will donate a portion of the prize money to the Blue Ridge Border Collie rescue that Sam came from, the Central Virginia Regional Rescue, that the family volunteers with locally, and Altavista’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity where Parsons is a member of the Board of Directors. Remaining funds will be reserved for Sam’s senior healthcare.

You can follow the competition at: America's Favorite Pet. Members of the community can vote once every 24 hours for free.