Meet Finnegan. Finnegan is a “Glab”… that would be a Golden Retriever/Lab mix, for those of you who were wondering. Probably much in the same way I was wondering what the hell a “glab” was when I returned home from work one day about six years ago to find this message on our answering machine: “Hello, this is the Guiding Eyes for the Blind calling to let you know that your Glab is ready for pick up this weekend.”
Seriously?! We had put our name on the Guiding Eyes waiting list for “released” dogs just a few months before with the understanding that it typically took years before the perfectly trained dog of our dreams failed the final test and became our ideal second pet. That’s right, our second pet. At the time, we lived in a one bedroom apartment in the city with Murphy, an 85-lb. fluffy golden retriever with a heart of gold. We thought it would be nice for Murph to have a pal around as he entered his golden years but at the same time, we were thinking of starting a family and couldn’t see how we were going to fit Murphy, our baby-to-be and this “Glab” in our overly cozy living quarters.
When I returned the call, I learned that this Glab was not, in fact, fully trained with the impeccable manners one associates with a guide dog but rather, was an 8 week old clumsy pup that had essentially failed his entrance exam. He “lacked confidence” they said as they assured me he’d be a great family pet. Never one to resist the allure of a pudgy pup, I convinced Des that the right thing to do was to go get this Glab. It was meant to be, I said. There will never be a good time to get a second dog so, why not now? Plus, if we didn’t rescue this timid creature who was already a failure at only 8 weeks old, who knew what kind of a fate would await him?!
I’ve often said that I lost more sleep when Finn was a pup than when Liam was a newborn. He was the puppy from hell. Once he met us, he became one of the most confident dogs around and we’ve always been convinced that he flunked that Guiding Eyes test on purpose because he didn’t want to work for a living. He drove poor old Murphy crazy and drove our neighbors crazy too. When we’d crate him for the night, he’d cry and howl until we set him free. Once free, he feast on non-edibles that included a pair of brand new glasses, refrigerator magnets and a ballpoint pen — the pen incident was especially tragic since he left a blue ink trail across our brand new rug and, rather astonishingly, had blue poop for about a week.
Fast forward to today… Finn is still a bit of a spaz but you couldn’t wish for a better family pet. When Liam was born, Finn would rest his head on the bassinette watching over him. When Ciara was born, he’d spend his afternoons snoozing protectively in front of her crib. And when the triplets were born, well, I think he finally met his match! These babies have spent last year drooling on him, biting him, pulling his fur out, climbing over him, yanking his tail, “patting” him and trying to ride him. Finnegan takes it all in stride, calmly accepting the “attention” that’s bestowed upon him. I suppose the babies have a symbiotic relationship with Finn; he tolerates their somewhat abusive behavior they let him eat off their high chairs. A fact that I’m not necessarily proud of but what can I say, it helps with the clean up!
Finn seems to have a special kinship with Declan but all five kids adore him. Liam likes to walk him, Ciara likes to feed him, the babies think he’s one of them and it all just reinforces how lucky we are to have given this “Glab” a home — he has truly lived up to the billing of “man’s best friend” in our little Lyons Den.