The Family Dog: Seamus

By the time they got to the Red Dragon, my parents were pretty skilled in the art of naming the new dog. Actually, the adorable little Cocker Spaniel/ Poodle, or Cockapoo, isn’t really named, or nicknamed, the Red Dragon. No one has ever called him the Red Dragon. I just came up with that nickname right now and it accounts for the hue of his coat and juxtaposes to his stature nicely, so into the family nomenclature it goes. They had gone through Gertie (great name, horrible animal) Caser P. Casers a.k.a. Casey (Not sure where the name came from and Casey wasn’t around long enough to ask him) and Abby/Flabby/Flabicus Maximus. So when Seamus came to live with them, they had honed their naming skills to the point where the next dog would probably have a doozy of a moniker.

Enter the Dragon (I seriously just came up with that name. I’m pretty clever when I want to be). Seamus’ name didn’t start out as Seamus. Originally his name was Chief, conjured up by my nephew. Da’s contribution was adding Chief Osceola, or Ole for short. Chief Osceola, if you don’t know and why on earth would you, is the name of the Seminole Indian chief who led a resistance against President Andrew Jackson’s troops during the Trail of Tears debacle of the mid-19th Century. Da’s always been kind of strange like that. He has a knack for choosing some really original name that unfortunately has some tragic history behind it.  I mean seriously, I’m named Andrew Jackson Sigler. Great name, for sure, and it sounds awesome at high school and college graduations. And as far as presidents go, you could do a lot worse (I mean imagine Millard Filmore Sigler or Richard Nixon Sigler. Not quite the same “pop”). His nickname was Old Hickory and he was truly the first “common man” president and all that. The guy is on the 20. And he was also on the business end of the same Trail of Tears.  If you don’t know about the Trail of Tears, and again why would you, I’ll spare you all of the gory details, but it involved a lot of Cherokee Indians having to walk a very long way in the snow and Ol’ Hickory was behind the whole thing. But it was a good name nonetheless and again, it fit this adorable little Ewok perfectly (if you don’t know what an Ewok is, I’m sorry and look it up). Then I opened my stupid mouth.

One day, shortly after Seamus had come to live with my parents, I casually mentioned some of the dog names I had been tossing around. I said to my dear sweet old Irish Mam that I had pretty much decided that at some point in my life, I was definitely going to name a dog Seamus. I swear by father God and sonny Jesus, that back-stabbing little weasel that posed as my mother gave me the most diabolical look. It wasn’t a look that said “Oh, I forgot about that name! I love that name!” No. It was a look that said “I like that name and I am going to use it. And despite the fact that you came up with it, you can’t have another dog now because you already have one and I gave you life you little snot and I have put up with quite enough at your hands to take your name and not feel one shred of guilt about it. ‘Kay?”

Here’s where the really creative juices get to flowing and I do have to give her credit, because she took the name Seamus and freakin’ ran with it. Her maiden name is O’Malley, so it makes some degree of sense that she would name him Seamus O’Malley. Good, strong, Irish name.  But she didn’t stop there. His full name is Seamus O’Malley McGintis McGee Buttercup Riley O’Doul.

My mother worked her way up to being the executive director of the Greater Omaha Association for Retarded Citizens before she retired. Also before she retired, she remade the organization that she would rename The Ollie Webb Center, an advocate for adults with all manner of developmental disabilities, not just Down Syndrome. In her professional career, she started out as a substitute special education teacher to being retired and just completing a book about her experience being the mother of my sister who has Autism (you can read more about and by my sister at the posting entitled Our Gene Pool Needs a Lifeguard), a book which she is publishing herself. It took less than a year of her being completely retired from working (her last gig was working part-time as an assistant to her good friend who was college counselor at a girl’s high school) for her to finish the book. Really, now that I am thinking about it, being my mother and all the good times that has brought (read Him, Him Revisited, and many of the other posts on this blog to read about my parties with alcoholism, rehab, brain surgery, meningitis, or some combination of all of these and all of the fun that has brought to my family). Not to mention my brother, who, comparatively anyway, has had a fairly brighter history than myself but also has a few skeletons in his closet.

Shit. The more I think about, if the worst that can be said of her is she stole the dog’s name from me… well you get the idea. Anyway, I come over to their house pretty frequently and he has this incredibly cool thing he does where he leaps up about a foot shy of the first of three steps that come down to the laundry area in front of our back door and he Superman’s down to come meet me at the back door. I’ve tried about 20 times to catch a photo of it on my phone to share on Facebook and one day I’ll get the shot.

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