Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Teresa Rhyne & Seamus

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Teresa Rhyne (lawyer, writer, beagle-lover), my boyfriend Chris (Forgotten Grapes wine expert, Culinary entrepreneur and converted beagle-lover), and our beagle, Seamus.

Seamus is about eight years old and he and I are both cancer survivors. The photo was our Christmas card this year.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Seamus and I have coffee together every morning. Or, well, more to the point, I have coffee and Seamus sits next to me not so patiently waiting for me to share my toast--toast being his favorite food. Today we are also anxiously awaiting word from "our" agent on whether the latest draft of my/our memoir proposal is in good shape.

What's brewing?

Starbucks French Roast. Always. Very strong with just a little bit of cream and always in one of my perfectly sized LA Times Festival of Books coffee mugs.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

The aforementioned toast, of course, and an orange.

How were you and Seamus united?

I love the term "united." It's quite accurate. Seven years ago I went through a divorce and moved with my two old beagles to a townhome. Within five months of moving, both dogs had passed away. I was, needless to say, devastated. I went on a trip to Ireland with my brother and a cousin and when I came home the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center, where I'd been a board member and volunteer for over 15 years, called to let me know they had a beagle in need of a home. I thought that I probably shouldn't get a beagle again since I was single, working a lot and living in a townhome with not a big yard. But I went to see the dog. And we all know what happens next. wind. The beagle was adorable and unusually colored--really red. He also made me laugh a lot. I named him after a cousin in Ireland that was...yeah, you got it, red-haired and really funny (not so unusual in Ireland).

Any treat for Seamus on this occasion?

Seamus always get's the toast crust, and long ago he trained me to share whatever I'm eating (that is safe to share with a dog).

How did Seamus get his name? Does he have any nicknames?

Oops, I got ahead of myself on that one. So you know how he got his name. Nicknames? A ton of 'em. Theme songs too. Let's see... Moose, Da Moose, Beaglicious, Beags, Sir William McBeaglesly, Scala-moose, Seamus the Famous, Luxury-Leisure, Shay-moose, Tubby-lumpkins, Senor Cuteness, Moosey-moose, Moose-el,and they just get more embarrassing from there. Favorite theme song is "Do you know the Muffin Dog?"

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Squirrels, cats, rabbits, even the coyotes in our backyard canyon area are of no concern to Seamus. The mailman and Fed Ex are however his sworn enemies. UPS gets a pass because they once delivered five boxes of cookies which Seamus was able to tear open and eat and/or bury before we got home to discover the remains of brightly colored cardboard boxes as the only evidence of the cookie massacre. UPS then further endeared themselves to Seamus (if not me) by delivering five pounds of gourmet cheeses over our gate. The cheese of course met the same fate as the cookies. And yes, Seamus can tell the difference between Fed EX and UPS, so he howls at the first and wags his tail and jumps up and down when the latter arrives.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

Squeaks!!!! Always the squeaks and there are never enough of them. Never. He tears their guts out and then be-heads them. It's not pretty to watch.

Where is Seamus's favorite place for an outing?

This would have to be either the dog beach in Huntington Beach, California or over to his buddy Will's house (see below).

Who is Seamus's best pet-pal?

Seamus has a huge dog-crush on our friends' dog Will [photo right]. Will is a great-dane something or other mix and your basic bo-hunk of a dog. Seamus adores him and loves nothing more than running, playing and harassing Will and Will's sister Nellie. Seamus and Nellie have a sort of love/hate relationship. They both love Will, so they try not to hate each other.

What is Seamus's most endearing quality?

He's a giant cuddle-monster. He loves to snuggle in next to us and be petted endlessly.

If Seamus could change one thing about you, what would it be?

My job. He has separation anxiety and cannot tolerate being left alone--he sits at our front gate howling. Hence, our neighbors also cannot tolerate him being left alone. So, Seamus goes to work with me or is home with my boyfriend Chris who mostly works at home. Yep, Seamus would change my job.

What is Seamus's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

Seamus's proudest moment would have to be beating cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer (a mast cell tumor--like skin cancer) at age 2 and I was told that even with surgery and chemotherapy his prognosis was one year. I went ahead with the surgery and the chemo and now, six years later, he's still here and in complete remission. In fact, he was my inspiration when I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. Seamus stayed right by my side as I recovered from surgery, chemo and radiation--a nine month process. (This photo at left was taken the day after my first chemotherapy infusion.) That's where the blog came from...The Dog Lived (and so Will I) became my mantra.

Most embarrassing? Ah, well, he's a beagle, he doesn't embarrass easily.But once he ran out onto our back patio ahead of us, didn't realize we'd then closed the sliding glass door behind us and he turned around and ran full speed, head first into the sliding glass door. He wasn't hurt but he was stunned. And he stood there for quite some time trying to figure out what had blocked his progress (apparently the glass was really clean). He was afraid to walk through that (open) door for days afterward.

Visit the The Dog Lived (and so Will I) blog.

--Marshal Zeringue