When Samu Saved My Life
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Get the name of the dog. That lesson, from a college journalism teacher, on gathering precise detail, flashed in my brain as a German shepherd named Samu clamped down on my hand. Samu saved my life. When I think about my most memorable moment as a New York Times Metro stringer, a freelance reporter primed to charge out at any hour to some dicey crime scene, I think of Samu.
Because of my gig, I work in wild parts of the New York region—neighborhoods that everybody knows are there, but that not everybody knows. It’s exciting, especially for a guy like me, raised in a nice town in Montana. Yes, some of the time—probably most of the time—I chase violence. It’s rarely uplifting, but never boring. And the violence doesn’t touch me, usually. But right before Samu shredded my fingerprints in Jersey City, a man beat the living fuck out of me—not an unthinkable occupational hazard for a reporter. The way I figure it, an ass-stomping and a dog-chomping are cheap admiss…
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