Some sad news from home last week: our dog Seymour had to be put to down due to old age and illness. Our guess is that he was about 15 years old. And I say "our dog" because even though he was back in NY with my father, he was a presence in my life for a lot of years.
Seymour was a mutt, probably some combination of German shepherd and something else and maybe a little something else too. He didn't really look like any breed I'm familiar with. Prior to Seymour, my family was always a golden retriever family. We got our first one (Brandy) when I was in 4th grade, and had him until a year after I graduated from college. Next was Toby, who was an awesome dog but who was hit by a delivery truck when he was about 2 years old; and then Quincy, who was also a great dog and helped us get over the loss of Toby.
Seymour entered the picture during the Quincy years. My brother originally adopted him, then passed him on to my parents when he couldn't keep him. And I soon realized something very important: dogs are happiest when they have a dog friend around. It wasn't like Quincy was depressed or anything before Seymour moved in, but you should have seen them together! Damn! Good friends, good friends.
Quincy was also a great dog. He passed away while I was in med school, and then we got Zachary (aka Zeke) who is currently the golden retriever of the house. Seymour didn't know what to make of Zachary at first, because he was an animated little puppy, so there was a little snarling and nastiness for a while. But with time, and a little maturation on Zachary's part, they got to be good friends, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Seymour showed him the ropes around the house, the doggy ropes.
So that was Seymour: a beloved friend to man and dog alike. Intelligent, but not flashy. Loving, but not overly obsequious. A little bit of a hellraiser (he liked to run off and look through garbage cans in town), but also obedient when it mattered. He could shake with both front paws, and speak, and he always knew his place. He was a great dog, and I'll miss him.