and then he turns three

This is what Seamus looked like the day we picked him up. 

Three years ago, Seamus Fenway OMG* was born in the wilds of North Carolina. I don't really go through the trials and tribulations of raising a dog baby (specifically a pug) here on the blog mostly because I've felt so many feelings about Seamie, as we call him**, over the years. And I'm not always great at getting into my down-n-dirty feelings here (politics and stuff, sure, but still warming up to the rest). When we first got him, I was in love with him and his chubby little body. His legs looked like little sprouts and he toddled all over our apartment, yelping and barking and being generally playful. Then his adolescence started to creep in, and my post-pugdom depression did as well. There were days when I wanted to throw him out our living room window and into the man-made pond behind our apartment building. I genuinely felt like I had made the wrong decision when it came to acquiring him and raising him. Fortunately, I wasn't the only person involved in that process, and Em did whatever was necessary to make sure he was cared for and loved on in those moments when I couldn't do it. It wasn't so much that I didn't love him, it was mostly that I was unused to the impact a small furball could have on a person's life. Until that point, I had spent most of my life just answering to my needs, which wasn't always fun and carefree, but at least I was capable of managing them well enough to limit my desire to throw myself out a window and into a pond.

And this is what our little beast baby looks like now.

Now, Seamus is full grown. Well, and then some. He is 100% pug, through and through, and I had no idea what that meant when we brought him into our lives. He has his own personal opthalmologist because of various eye issues from the mundane, pigmentary keratitis, to the serious, a corneal ulcer which peaked at 90% and required a conjunctival graft. He has worn an e-collar off and on for the past two years because of his eyes, and is quite skilled at meandering through his boring and special little life with one on. The only things that seem to suffer when he's wearing it are our shins. He is precocious, bossy, and ridiculous. He has a relatively subtle underbite, but his teeth are so mangled (another pug trait) that they manage to stick out of his mouth so often that he probably thinks his second name is Snaggle. He demands that you share with him any food you are consuming, specifically if that food is shredded cheese, peanut butter, or any type of fruit (especially apple). He can actually hear a bag of shredded cheese being opened from anywhere in our apartment, but he can't hear you call his name within five feet of his super soft ears.

He prefers sitting on Em's lap over mine, usually because when I'm settled on the sofa I'm also surfing the internet. Sometimes he'll march over to my side of the sofa and lean on me, throwing his paw onto the keyboard and obstructing my ability to surf. He likes to sleep under the covers, despite having a flat face and a tendency to overheat quickly, and usually he winds up between Em's legs. He furnaces like nobody's business, leading me to throw the covers off of myself all night long and whining miserably in the summer. Sometimes, when he's feeling particularly naughty or retaliatory, he will poop in my craft room. He doesn't poop anywhere else, just in the craft room. He was actually quite easy to potty train for a male pug. He loves the feeling of nubbly bathroom carpets under his butt. Given his preference, the bathroom doors would be open always and he could sit on his precious nubblies 24/7, but we don't leave the bathroom door open because he also deeply enjoys licking the toilet. In fact, he licks everything, all the time. His paws, his bed, blankets, our pillows, towels, us (feet, especially), walls, carbon monoxide detectors, guests, furniture, air. He knows so well that we'll get all up in his face if he picks up a foreign object and attempts to chew it that sometimes, when he's feeling ignored, he will pretend to pick things up off the floor and "phantom chews".

On the weekends, he will get up early and go on his morning constitutional with Em. Then they come back to bed and after deciding that the only place on the bed he could possibly sleep is right where my head is located, Seamus will do everything in his power to kick me out of the bed. He throws his 25lb self over my head and sighs. I blame him for my recent interest in Sunday morning news programs; once I even caught myself bleary-eyed and watching Joel Osteen "just to see what it was like". He has an especially interesting ability to lean on the remote control and turn it to any channel promoting conservative politics, specifically Fox News. We call him a Repuglican. But don't worry, he loves people of all political identifications. In general, he behaves more for our friends and family than he does for us. He especially loves Katherine, one of my bestest friends, who calls him her "puppeeskeenee" and sends him into giddy tailspins whenever he sees her. Em's dad, Joe, is Seamie's alpha dog. When he was a puppy, we pulled him out of obedience class because it was full of big dogs and didn't suit our training needs. So while he lacks manners and training, if Joe says "stand on your head and dance the polka", Seamus will do it. We have been able to motivate him with food, teaching him how to "sit" and "wait", but if there isn't food on the other end of the command, he won't remember it. This has lead to him being a bit on the plus size side of the spectrum. Oh, and he is intensely submissive with dogs who are larger than him, which is both good and bad. We have found, though, that he really doesn't like dogs his own size.

I share all of this with you because sometimes, this is my day-to-day sometimes. Seamus is going to complete his third year of life on Friday wearing an e-collar and on an antibiotic/antihistamine regimen. He scratched his face raw right under his bad eye over the weekend. Sometimes, when these things are happening, I cannot even fathom doing anything other than tending to them. And when I think about funny or interesting blog posts to write, or brilliant crafty projects to start, I can't remember them because I'm tired. Then I resent him for taking over my life. But when he's cute, or silly, or overwhelmingly and unreservedly sweet (which he is, most of the time, and especially when either one of us is sick or sad), I accept the fact that I welcomed this beast baby into my life for a reason. Having a dog need not be so dramatic and all consuming, but with Seamus it is. And I wouldn't change that at all. In October, at our wedding, he will be wearing a bow tie and serving as our ring bearer. The plaid fabric used for his bow tie will match Em's plaid tie and my plaid bow shoe clips. We're doing this because we are a family, and his is ours. We are his. It doesn't really matter how you say it. Happy Birthday, Seamie***.

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* OMG = O'Malley-Gaziano...ha!
** We also call him: Doodle, Doots, Dootsie, Seemus, Seamietini, Beast Baby, Grumpy Baby, You Little Punk, etc.
*** I would just like you all know to know that I finished this post gently weeping like any proud mama should.

3 comments:

  1. He can also wake from a near comatose sleep state if he hears a clementine being peeled anywhere in the apartment.

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  2. This post is made more adorable by how honest it is. What a sweet little terrible mess Seamus is. ("Terrible" is a term of endearment in our family.) I tried to give away our dachshunds last year:

    Two terrible miniature dachshunds, not sisters but purchased close together as puppies by their first people, then adopted together at ages 2 and 3 by their current person. Both, now 12 and 13, bark a lot, scream if you approach them with nail clippers, lick couches compulsively, pee in the house if it's raining, cold, dewy, if it rained last week, or if they just "feel like it."

    Molly: high-pitched barker, becomes hysterical over storms, occasionally demands to go out at 3am--if demand not met, she continues high-pitched barking mercilessly until demand is met, hoards shoes and all toys and "squeaks" them obsessively, steals food from elderly dogs 10x her size because she knows she can, has liver spots and is at least 50% bald, missing a lot of teeth, has terrible breath, looks more like Mr Burns from the Simpsons than a dachshund, eats poop, once ate 1/2 bag of organic fertilizer (mainly made of chicken poop).

    Hottie: BITES, lower-pitched barker, lesbian separatist (does not like men!), will attack other dogs (any size) for their food, will attack other dogs if a person nearby has food, will attack a person if that person tries to hug her person, once latched on with and hung by her teeth to the seat of the pants of a pizza guy who was walking away because he dared approach her house and she managed to slip by her usually more-vigilant person, eats tufts of dog fur, eats underwear, steals food from babies, barks incessantly if she thinks her people have left the house (but are really just upstairs) or if she hears anything compelling like a car going by, did not bark however when a prowler was on our porch last year.

    Any takers?

    :)

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All content © Meaghan O'Malley, 2009-2012. Header image by Rebekka Seale.