Sunday, May 19, 2013
By now Seamus, the Romney's Irish setter, has found himself a place in political literature, and has almost replaced Lassie as the most famous dog in American history.
All this because Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for the presidency, shoved the big dog into a travel cage and lashed him to the top of the family car for a long ride to Canada.
Poor Seamus. He simply needed a snack before being loaded, so he stole some turkey from the kitchen counter and gobbled (pun intended) it down. Seamus got the runs and disrespected the Romney's car.
Some pet owners have suggested that Mitt should have lashed one of his multiple sons to the top of the car and kept Seamus inside. This is a cruel and partisan jab. This could have happened to anyone, and there are some historic legends, perhaps a touch apocryphal, to back this up.
George Washington owned the first presidential dogs, Tipsy and Drunkard (true names) and may well have brought them along when he boated across the Delaware. Some have suggested that artists painted them out of the historic picture. I'm just saying.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, of course, had his beloved Scottie, Fala. FDR never left the White House without him, and took him along on the presidential plane, ship and train trips. There is no foundation whatsoever to the Republican myth that Fala was strapped to the top of the plane or train, in a crate. Another cruel partisan jab.
This all came to mind this week when she who loves to travel expressed a desire to motor across America this summer to visit our daughters in Los Angeles. The big question arose as to what to do with Jack, our very large old English sheepdog.
As Jack and I share a common mental illness, SAT (separation anxiety trauma) I refuse to leave him in a kennel. I've visited several of these kennels and I start to tremble at the thought of putting him in one.
I know they're clean and healthy, but Jack isn't just a pet.
Jack is possessed of the spirit of a deceased loved one. I believe it is that of my late father-in-law. I kid you not. Not only does he love cheese and crackers like the Judge, Jack is super protective of her. He always takes her side in contentious situations.
If I should, on occasion, raise my voice to her, he moves between us and fixes me with a deadly stare and I can see baring of teeth.
Her father, a lawyer and judge, was never that fond of her marrying an actor, and never really warmed up to me.
I can see that familiar look in Jack's eyes from time to time.
So what to do? We do have a very large crate left over from one of our deceased and unpossessed dogs that looks very comfortable.
So in a test run, I put it on top of our Prius and gave Jack a look at it. Jack/Judge stared at it for a long moment.
"C'mon, Jack," I said, "Give it a try. Look how big it is. Look at the blanket inside. Feel how soft it is. Isn't that nice? We are going to go on a long ride across America. You'll get to see Kansas and Oklahoma, Arizona too. You may even get to see some movie stars pets. Wouldn't that be nice?"
Jack/Judge stared at the crate, at the Prius and then at me. The growl was deep and forbidding. I could see some teeth. Then he walked slowly away to stand by her side.
She petted him sweetly. I never get petted.
Today, the crate goes to Goodwill, and the trip has been postponed, unless of course we can find a live-in sitter who likes cheese and crackers.
J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.