Sam of the Russell Hotel in Smiths Falls

Sam of the Russell Hotel in Smiths Falls

Screenshot 2017-11-13 at 16.jpgPhoto by HeritageHouse on Twitter


Screenshot 2017-11-13 at 16.jpg

Photo by HeritageHouse on Twitter

It seems in the 1970’s the best known character in Smiths Falls was a 3 year-old Labrador Retriever named Sam. He wasn’t ‘no ordinary dog’ as they say,  and the Retriever was actually the nightwatchman of the Russell Hotel on Beckwith Street in Smiths Falls. Like everyone, he had a boss named Don Twible who had owned the hotel for a few years. Not even Don had to explain to Sam what his jobs were as Sam had everything down pat– and not one soul questioned him.

The minute the hotel closed down for the night Sam took over and so did his personality. When the stars twinkled in the Smiths Falls night sky man’s best friend became downright ugly. If you wanted to get in and out of that hotel you had to deal with Sam– if you dared. Word was if you ever wondered if there was life after death you might try a little trespassing at the Russell Hotel and find out.

Now Twible was much obliged to Sam’s devotion, but the thing that irked him the most was that more people knew and respected Sam than the owner of the hotel.  By night he patrolled the hotel looking for “ruff trade” and by day he became Mr. Personality making the rounds among the hotel customers. Everyone knows the best therapist has fur and four legs right? Every single day he picked one person at that hotel and they were chosen for a reason– to take him down to the Rideau River for a quick swim.

Former Smiths Falls councilman Neil Adler was a favourite of his as Neil knew how to throw a ball. Sam loved him because he was very clever telling Sam to invest in tennis balls as they had a high rate of return. Okay, maybe he didn’t say that but, he was never sure which ball Adler threw so he brought them all back. Sam was an honest dog, and he and the councilman were the only ones that knew where those balls were located so the dog never pressed his luck.

You would think with all that exercise Sam would have been a svelte dog– but nope- he was actually a kind of a “chunker”. That dog still had “Spring rolls” on him even after the Winter fat was gone because he truly believed that potatoe chips were like cats: you just can’t have one.

It’s 2017 now, and I’m sure Sam has long gone to the Rainbow Bridge on the Rideau River. Somewhere late at night in that old hotel in Smiths Falls you can probably still hear the pitter patter of small feet scaring the crap out of people and hiding potatoe chips– because in all honesty– we are all just stories in the end.




Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)




Lots of Laundry– Lassie Come Home!!!!

The Dogs of Lanark County–Alex Cram





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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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