Friday came. No one came to claim Suede. I took the day off work, showed up at the shelter at noon when they opened, walked up to the counter with the new collar and leash I’d just bought at Petsmart, and told the young male employee that I was there to adopt Suede. Twenty minutes later, my dog was sitting calmly on the floor next to me while I adjusted the new collar and signed the last of the paperwork. A man waiting to get a dog license asked, “How old is your dog?” I looked around, realized he was talking to me and replied, “Eight.”
“How did he happen to get in here?” the man wondered.
“Oh—I’m adopting him today.”
“Really? I can’t believe how well he listens to you.”
My son would echo those same words later in the evening when he watched us play fetch and my good dog dropped his new toy turtle every time I asked him to.
Years ago my daughter introduced me to the poetry of Seamus Heaney, and I became a fan. When I was searching my brain for some name that might replace “Suede,” I wanted a long A sound, an Irish name and hopefully one with character. And suddenly there it was on my Facebook page, a post by Billy Collins (another favorite poet who enjoys celebrity status) which included a photo of him visiting Seamus Heaney in Ireland. Perfect.
So from our first hours together yesterday, Suede became Seamus. (For those of you unfamiliar with crazy Celtic pronunciations, it’s Shay-mus.)
I called my vet upon arriving home, and he just happened to have a free spot in the afternoon. (Yes, my vet does house calls.) He came by with his able assistant Emily, pronounced Seamus healthy and gave him all the vaccines known to preventive dog medicine. (The shelter had done no inoculations as the family surrendering him had produced paperwork showing that he’d had his shots. Just, no one recorded when. So we gave him all the vacs again, just to establish a base line.)
And what did my new dog do while he was being jabbed by a stranger repeatedly? He wagged his tail and licked Dr. Lebovic’s face. Who’s a good boy? Huh? Who’s a good boy?
In the evening, when the warm spring day cooled a bit, we went for a two-mile walk. We did the same loop this morning after I’d done my yoga. Seamus is calm and obedient on the leash, even when other dogs bark at him or sprinklers go on or cars whiz past. And yeah, he listens.
Dogs. They’re just so amazing, aren’t they?