Seamus was our special needs dog. We adopted him in 2011 from Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue. When he joined our family, he was about six years old. Prior to that, he lived his life at a puppy mill. From his demeanor and posture, our vet theorized that he was the stud and spent very little time outside of a small cage.
Being a mill dog and accustomed to being part of the pack, Seamus took to Daphne right away. She was the alpha dog and eased his transition into our home. Without her, even though from the moment he met me he was attached, I don’t know if our home would have become his. It took him a good year and a half to become comfortable enough to not feel the need to keep himself awake.
Knowing this, we worried how Seamus would handle the loss of Daphne. Especially since I was pregnant and a baby would be joining our family in a mere six months.
To make things easier on Seamus, we knew we needed to get another dog. Which, to be honest, was the last thing either my husband or I wanted to add to our pile while I was pregnant, but we reasoned it was the best thing for Seamus.
At the time, a puppy was out of the question. Neither my husband nor I (or Seamus) had the time or patience to house train a puppy or deal with a puppy’s energy. Plus, there are so many dogs out there that need a home, we decided to adopt. To find a dog to fit our family, I went on the Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue website. Unfortunately, we knew we were also not in a position to manage another high-needs dog like Seamus and none of the dogs available for adoption at the time seemed to be a good fit. So upon the recommendation of our vet, I checked out Joyful Rescues, another non-profit animal rescue. And there was Rodney.
From the description, Rodney appeared to be a perfect fit. He was a pug, our breed of choice. He was ten years old, the same age as Seamus. And, he had come from a family with children. According to the website, the only reason he had been surrendered was because his previous family had gone through a divorce and could no longer provide for him. Not only that, he had JUST been surrendered and his profile posted that day.
I felt the universe was aligning. And the serendipities continued. When I called the rescue, I spoke to the founder who, having also recently lost her pet, was eager to make this match work. She encouraged me to fill out the application and we arranged to meet Rodney two days later. If we liked him, at that point we could take him home.
And we did. Rodney fit right in. So much so, that while adopting him people who walked by thought he was already part of our family. They thought Seamus was the one being adopted… I did mention he was our “special” guy.
A few days after adopting Rodney, we said good-bye to Daphne. Then a few months later, we welcomed our Baby Girl.
That was our family. The five of us. For several years.
Until this past fall, when we had to say good-bye to Seamus.
Rodney, unfortunately, was not been the same. A sadness came over him. Which we were warned of and we tried to manage by giving him extra love. We even started bringing him to my aunt’s on the days she watched Baby Girl so he wouldn’t have long days to himself. This seemed to help.
But, the inflammatory bowel disease, a chronic disease he has had since we got him, continued to worsen. Since his bowel movements became more and more unpredictable, we found it harder to bring him to my aunt’s and we could no longer allow him to sleep in bed with us.
And, he continued to steadily decline. He would refuse meals and treats, which for pugs is unheard of. He would stay in his bed in the kitchen instead of snuggling. He was having more bad days than good.
Watching his behavior, my husband and I saw the writing on the wall. We knew the inevitable was coming. He was nearly fourteen after-all. So we asked each other and ourselves, “Is he in pain?” “What is his quality of life?” “How will we know it is time?”
I shouldn’t have worried so much about these things. One day last week, I woke up to another mess in the kitchen. And while it wasn’t the worst we had seen, upon hearing Rodney’s stomach gurgle, I had the conviction that it was time. While he didn’t tell me, like Daphne did, I just knew.
The important things in life, you know. You don’t have to mull over them. That certainty sets in.
And that was the case with this situation. it was time. He went peacefully. We will miss him. At least we know Seamus was there waiting.