Life’s Lessons From a Four-Legged Refugee

SEamus 1This is Seamus. Technically speaking, Seamus is a refugee, rescued by the compassion of several unknown Americans and welcomed into my daughter’s home. These Americans, of unknown political bent, ethnic heritage, or religious faith or lack thereof, saved Seamus and one other dog from a litter of seven. Five died. Seamus and his sibling (in parts unknown) survived through the kindness and care of ordinary Americans. It is an example of the best of America and reflects our natural inclination to human kindness.

The regal bearing of Seamus is unmistakable. While applying zoological classifications would say differently, there can be no mistaking the similarity between Seamus basking in the sun as he surveyed his kingdom and these other two creatures surveying theirs.

lions1This lion picture went with a story of lions attacking and eating three poachers in a nature preserve so I can’t be sure if it is just the warmth of the sun they are enjoying or the post-dinner satisfaction of poacher du jour. In any case, the sun is either the primary comforting factor or a contributory one to their post-meal digestion.

Seamus also has an attitude of accepting everyone as they are (after a thorough sniff.) While wary of new people, once he takes their measure they are as welcome as those he’s known for years.

Except for birds, squirrels, and other similar creatures. They are demons that must be pursued relentlessly.

We can all learn something from Seamus.

Never rush through life without taking a moment to bask in the sun.

Never miss a chance to meet someone new and share a moment of time.

Never pass up an opportunity to chase a ball, explore the woods, enjoy a meal, or lean against someone you love and just be.

A dog is not just man’s best friend, he can be our best reminder to live our lives with compassion, concern for our fellow creatures, and to focus on the good in the world, not wall yourself in out of fear.

By accident of birth, Seamus could have been left to the fate an uncertain life but for the kindness and compassion of Americans who gave him refuge.

Seamus returns that kindness every day in the pleasure he brings by just being a part of our lives. Sometimes taking a chance and letting someone into your life, as opposed to what is safe and practical, is the right thing to do.

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Just a Dog…

(A repost from 2 years ago.  People die all the time and I rarely think of them, but Max I remember quite often with a smile and a tear)

He was just a dog…

His official AKC registered name is Maximus Gluteus but we knew him as Max.

He died the other day, taken all too soon in an unexpected way. He seemed as full of life on his last day as when we first saw him a mere nine years ago.

Max arrived at the cargo facility at Logan airport from his birth state of Kansas. Wrapped in a kennel big enough for a Pitbull, he looked like an undersized rat.

We had found him online and brought him to be a companion for our other Yorkie, Ralph.

He exceeded all expectations becoming not just a companion to Ralph, but a true member of the family.

This memorial is not meant to be sad, although the sadness has enveloped us since he passed away, but to celebrate all he gave of his life to brighten ours.

He was just a dog…

He brought a joy of living to wherever he was. His life was full of experiences and fun.

He traveled on planes, becoming a Florida dog for a time

He climbed hills in Connecticut and mountains in New Hampshire

He chased seagulls on the beach, squirrels in the backyard, and hunted any creature that dare invade HIS home. Make no mistake, wherever he lived was his home.

He had a sense of humor.

A door accidentally left open gave him the chance the snatch an onion from the closet. Eating what he wanted and leaving the rest for my daughter to find when she returned from work.

Several days later, he pretended there was something in the same closet. Scratching and pawing at the door. My daughter opened it, expecting to find a mouse. Max dashed in, grabbed another onion and hightailed it under a table, out of reach. Enjoying his snack.

He never cared much for toys, unlike Ralph who hoarded them. Max did take delight occasionally taking one of Ralph’s toys and running away with it. He would find a place in the sun, put the toy down at his paws, and dare Ralph to try to take it back.

Made Ralph crazy.

Max had his faults. He had no social skills with other dogs. He would attack anything. It was more fury and show then teeth but it could be embarrassing.

This also showed he had no fear. He was a five-pound bundle of fur, barely the size of a rabbit, with the heart of a lion.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I can picture Max as a lion. Poised on rock, mane flying in the breeze, roaring to scare everything around him.

Max would love that.

He was just a dog…whose passing made me cry. Yet knowing him, laughing at him, or just holding and petting him made every tear worth it.

I will miss him as long as I live. The sadness of his passing will fade, his memory and joy for life will not.

He was just a dog…Max

 

My Weekend as a Dog

(A guest post by Seamus)

Contrary to what a cursory look at my physical appearance would suggest, I am not a dog.  I am a fully articulate sentient lifeform with deep emotional needs and expectations from my staff.

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His Royal Majesty, Seamus Angus McTavish

Just my name alone, Seamus Angus McTavish Broadmeadow-Walkup, invokes visions of royalty and noble bearing.

Despite my humble beginnings under a porch in the south, my intelligence and charm led me to the Kingdom of Cranston, where I established my court.

For some inexplicable reason, my regular staff, consisting of a pleasant-smelling female and a, shall we say, inconsistently aromatic male, occasionally disappear for days at a time and are replaced with two inferior beings who insist on me and my associate, Sir Ralph, being treated like dogs.

We have just survived such an episode.

I find this insulting.

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Sir Ralph

I know I speak for my associate, whom they address as Ralph instead of the more correct Your Royal Highness, that he is insulted as well. My daily identification of him, through my refined sense of smell, by examining both ends and the appendage underneath, marks him “smells like Alpo mixed with carpet and a hint of sweat” and attests to his royal lineage.

Therefore, Sir Ralph and I wish to list our grievances at the hands of these ruffians and charlatans who are of apparently inferior upbringing.

They, contrary to our routine practice, do not allow us to sleep on the bed. We are forced like common farm animals to sleep on the floor. Their one concession is a small insufficiently luxurious dog pillow (oh the shame) that would barely suit a barnyard animal such as a pig or a cat.

They do not allow us to occupy our usual position on the couch to watch our TV shows. I particularly enjoy National Geographic when I can growl at the beasts.

They do not immediately respond to my requests to be let outside. My responsibilities demand I examine my kingdom on a regular basis, sometimes ten or fifteen times an hour. I am forced to wait at the door, sometimes for as long as 10 seconds, before they even bother to notice me.

And yet they often ignore me, making unintelligent sounds that are some inferior form of communication.

And while I am on that subject, would it be too much to ask that the replacement staff understand our language? It is quite simple. There are four forms of our sophisticated language that even these creatures should be able to understand.

Happy, Angry, Hungry, and Need to find an inanimate object to mark my territory.

Even this basic communication understanding eludes our jailers.

But, there is hope. The trained staff has returned from the mysterious portal that swallows them, and all is back to normal. Sir Ralph and I live in the hope that we will not be forced to endure another term of imprisonment with these inferior beings, but we know it is inevitable.

We hoped, over time, they would learn to be more appropriately attentive to our needs. But, I fear they are untrainable.

(Idiot) Signs of the Apocalyse

We live along the Blackstone Valley Bike Path in Rhode Island. It is one of the nicest places to walk along the Blackstone River and catch glimpses of an ever-changing variety of birds and animals.

biodegradable-pet-waste-bagsUnfortunately,  intellectually challenged versions of the world’s most dangerous animal also frequent the path. They are easy to spot as they are always accompanied by dogs.

Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, I am a dog person. Most rational humans are. Cats are not my idea of a good companion. However, cats are innocent here.

Apparently, these two-legged morons are the perfect example of why we have what appear to be unnecessary and demeaning warning labels on things. For example, warnings that packing peanuts (those appetizing white plastic pellets) are not for human consumption.  Good thing we have that one because I am often overcome with a desire for a nice bowl of packing peanuts.

Or, warnings on a stove that “surface may be hot.” If the surface “may” be hot, why would you buy the stove?

But I digress. What both irritates and confuses me is how these defective humans apparently cannot understand the purpose of dog waste bags.

The bike path is littered with bags designed to pick up and DISPOSE of dog waste. But these prime examples of how nature sometimes takes a genetic bad turn fail to understand this.

They dutifully follow their dogs, waiting for the inevitable Alpo evacuation. Ever notice how what goes in the front of the dog bears a strong resemblance to what comes out the other end?  It’s not so much as they eat the food as it takes a subway tunnel through the dog and reappears at the other end.

Anyway, after the dog does his thing, be it the direct stop and go or the circle, circle, sniff, sniff, circle, circle, sniff, circle, sniff, circle, sniff, target acquired and fire method of eliminating their Kibbles and Bits, their handlers spring into action.

They insert their hand into the waste bag, approach the pile (upwind I hope), envelop the dollop in the bag, spin and seal, then LEAVE IT ON THE PATH.

What the Covfefe, as the President would say.

I mean if you will not follow through with the full steps of disposal (which illustrates the consequences of a lack of instructions on the bag) then leave the poop ‘au naturel’ and let nature take over where your intellect fails.

Think of this next time you see a shitbag on the bike path. Tell him (or her) to read the instructions. Better yet, take their dog and give them a cat. They’re not fit to care for a sentient creature.

Dogs May Be Smarter than Humans

Whenever I buy something new, I am always amused by the instructions or warnings. In particular, the universal stick figure illustrations that attempt to transcend language differences.

My personal favorite is the warnings on the desiccant pack included with most electronics. Their purpose is to absorb moisture. The warning, ominous and serious, says, “Not for Human Consumption.”

Really?

In all my life I never once considered having them for dinner. Not once. Yet, there are the warnings.

I used to be insulted that someone thought them necessary. Now, however, I see a need for them on what would seem a self-explanatory use of an item.

Dog waste bags, in the proper English. Dog shit bags in the vernacular.

You would think no explanation or instructions are necessary.

You would be wrong.

I walk the bike path in Albion almost every day. And almost every day the bike path is littered with used, yet improperly disposed of, dog waste bags.

Adownloadpparently, the concept is too complex for most.

It would seem simple.

Buy the bags, attach the convenient dispenser to the dog leash, take dog for a walk, observe (discreetly so as not to give performance anxiety) as the dog dispenses the processed Alpo, Purina, or recently consumed trash, pick up said pile of waste with the bag, spin vigorously to secure, tie in a knot, and then, here is where the instructions are necessary, DISPOSE OF IT.

Do not toss to the side of the bike path.

Do not leave them behind.

TAKE IT WITH YOU AND PUT IT IN THE TRASH.

For the love of all that is good, if you’re gonna leave it behind, why would you entomb a biodegradable item in a non-biodegradable plastic coffin?

The shit would be gone in a few days, the bag will be here until the end of time. It will confuse future alien archeologists. Imagine that discussion. “They bagged what? No way.”

One wonders if there is any hope for America. It’s hard to be optimistic when you realize some of these simpletons vote. People who cannot figure out that disposing of the waste bag is a critical part of the process probably shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision.