(You will see in this post that Seamus is ever-present in my mind, so I’m sharing with you one of the photos of him that we just got from the photography session we did in January before we even knew that he had cancer again. I’ll forever be grateful we had this done.)
I was getting good at blogging semi-regularly there for a bit and then…well, then life did what it does (which, in case you’ve forgotten, is “knock me upside the head”!!). So here’s an update:
Daphne is recovered from her surgery and appears to be doing very well. We’re still waiting for the pathology report (anybody remember “waiting for the fall issue of Vogue” pathology report in the book??). We don’t yet know whether she needs any additional treatment and naturally we’re hoping she does not. She continues to be a wonderful, easy going dog who charms everyone she meets…except Percival. They have not been as charmed with each other as we initially hoped. Currently though, they seem to acknowledge that the other one isn’t going anywhere and they may as well tolerate each other. There have been brief moments of near play, but then one of them will get snappy or just generally grumpy and walk away. We think that actually neither one of them knows how to play with another dog, so it’s going to take a little time.
Percival is adjusting. But it’s been a rocky road with lots of ups and downs. He’s an adorable, sweet boy who loves to play with his toys and cuddle. But…he’s also a puppy in many ways and his time in a lab has definitely traumatized him. I alternate between having so much empathy for what he must have been through that I want to just give him love and attention (and pretty much anything he wants–which is in fact constant love and attention) and knowing that despite what he’s been through, he too needs structure and rules. He is every bit as stubborn as Seamus (and if you don’t think that makes me love him more, well, you need to go re-read the book!!), but his particular issues are different. Except for one…and we’ll get to that. His issues are primarily that he insists on sleeping in our bed—way under the covers, and as close to Chris as he can possible be (in fact, if he could sleep on Chris’s face and neck, he would; trust me when I tell you he’s tried. Chris is just rather fond of breathing and thus objects). Daphne does not like this one bit and Percival doesn’t like it one bit in the morning when Daphne jumps up on the bed and lands on him (she can’t see him, because he’s burrowed so far down, so understandably it comes as a huge shock to all beagles and humans alike). We can’t crate him (remember he spent 1 1/2 years in a cage being tested on by a lab…he does not have good memories of confined spaces). So this is a challenge. The other challenge is that he was housebroken and fully understood that he was to do his business outside (and he learned a doggie door in about 5 minutes). But then he changed his mind. And now he will go for a long walk with Chris and then come back to the house to do his business. It’s a bit crazy making. But we’re working on it.
The other issue–the one that is reminiscent of Seamus–is that we learned that he has separation anxiety. He spent a day and night at doggie day care for the first time yesterday. He was fine during the day, but at night (he was in a “suite” not a crate) he shredded his bed and then chewed on his own paw. They had to bandaged both back paws to protect him from himself. This is going to be a process with Percival, but I feel so bad for him and what that night must have been like for him. I feel like the worst beagle mom ever! Perhaps it would have been more comforting for him to have Daphne there, but I was worried that in a strange place they might go back to fighting with each other (of course now I think that no, it would have perhaps bonded them more). Seamus needed people around him at all times. We’re hoping Percival just needs to know that he’s safe and has a permanent home. And of course, we’re hoping to teach him that that is indeed the case. So we’ll stick to a routine, give him some structure, tons of love and guidance and keep working on these issues. No one said it was going to be easy.
And on another update, not a day goes by that I don’t think about and desperately miss Seamus. I have not adequately responded to the many cards and gifts that were sent to us at his passing, and that is because I fall apart every time I try to do that. I hope you all know how much it meant to me that you cared so much for Seamus too.
To end on a more upbeat note, today I received my first royalty check for the book. The check was larger than the original advance from the publisher (a very good thing in the publishing world) and a pleasant surprise since it’s a check only for sales of the book from October to December 2012. Again, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of you for your support of our little book. Seamus’s inspiration lives on.