For three months we had a visitor in our house; a little 6.5 kilo being that worked his way into the fabric of our family as though he’d always been there, and now he’s leaving to go home. He came to us by way of my mother-in-law, who fell ill and couldn’t care for him. Arriving on a Friday night, it was a good excuse to make the girls clean up their toys so he wouldn’t eat them. My wife went to see her mother in the hospital, and left us with the dog and his food. He was cute, but he also smelled a bit. I wondered how this would go, and how long we’d have to keep him.
I’d only met Seamus twice before. Both times he came over with my mother-in-law and managed to escape his leash and cause much consternation and fussing from her. She also fussed and fretted when the girls played with, making me wonder what kind of wild animal we’d allowed in our house.
The first thing Seamus and I did was take a walk. Not knowing when he last went out, and not wanting an accident, I bundled up against the cold and took him out in the snow for a walk; the first of many over the next 3 months. He took to walking fine, which defied my expectations. Since my mother-in-law never walked him, and since he’d escaped both times he visited, I was wary. Down the street we went. Seamus explored his new environment, finding lots of new things to sniff and behaved himself well. The next day we went farther and he explored more territory. Morning walks were my responsibility, and I enjoyed them, especially as the weather turned warm. Every morning he was excited for me to take him out.
When it was time for bed that first night, we put him in the cage my wife brought from her mom’s and left him in the kitchen for the night. And then he started to cry and bark. So we moved him to the basement and let him out in the morning. The next night he was just as upset to be alone, so I relented and we brought his cage to our bedroom. The night after, he slept in our room on his dog bed without the cage. A week later he was sleeping in the girls’ rooms, alternating between them to keep things fair.
We followed the same pattern during weekdays. He started out in his cage every day while we were away at work and school. Before long he earned enough trust to have the run of the house all day (except bathrooms, since he has a tendency to eat tissues).
Seamus went from visiting stranger to family member in a very short time. Today he goes back home to my mother-in-law’s and his departure will leave us all missing him.