Time FLIES!!! This week marks our 7-year anniversary of sharing our home with Mercury - our NEARR dog!
Mercury is approximately 8-9 years old based on NEARR’s original estimation of his age back in 2003, and he has only recently started showing his age — and mostly in the form of his very distinguished white muzzle and paws. This year brought our first real health scare with Mercury when he contracted Lyme’s Disease during the spring of 2009. We had always given him the Lyme vaccine, so did not expect it to ever be an issue. Thankfully he responded beautifully to the aggressive course of antibiotics and bounced back quickly. Our veterinarian, in Mercury’s most recent visit, indicated that our boy is still in good health, though he is permitted to take some unbuffered (and peanut butter covered!) aspirin for joint stiffness/discomfort as he’s a bit creaky now and then after a long walk. But to say Mercury is “slowing down” would be difficult as he’s ALWAYS been our slow ambler from day one. So to us, he’s always had his one speed… and I’m happy to say he still keeps up that lazy pace very well.
January 2010 brought with it Mercury’s live theater debut, when he obtained his 30 seconds of fame “acting” in The Portland Players winter production of “Cheaper By the Dozen”. The script called for a very large, awkward but sweet dog, that looked like he might have been purchased for five dollars. Mercury has not always been the best at basic commands and obedience, but we were all very impressed with how well he took to stage life — by the time the show opened, Mercury was very comfortable backstage. He had a little dog bed (with his own blanket!) backstage, where he would wait for the Stage Manager to wake him up for each of his entrances. He learned how to walk more or less quietly backstage, and - most importantly - was a perfect gentleman when working with his on-stage cast member handlers - who were ages 9, 10 and 11. It’s hard to tell of course, but I believe Mercury had a great time being in this show, and he almost seemed a bit sad when it ended. I’m attaching a copy of his official theater marquee board photograph, and an action shot as well (please note that these are official publicity shots and all performers in them - including the kids - had signed official photo release forms, and it is OK to re-post if you so desire).
When he is not trodding the boards at local theaters, or sleeping in one of his three dog beds in the house, Mercury enjoys chasing the squirrels in our yard, and scaring the geese in our river. And proving that some habits just can’t be broken after almost a decade, Mercury still desperately tries to obtain an ample portion of “people food” at every meal. Ninety nine percent of the time, during meals, Mercury is located under the table, waiting for something - anything! - to be dropped for his benefit. :)
We did not have children when we adopted Mercury - and he has assimilated beautifully in his role of older canine brother to our daughters, now ages 6 and 3. Mercury’s biggest challenge at home always seems to be when we are not all in the same room. He will find one spot in the house that is more or less in the center of where everyone is, and lay down there to make sure he’s not missing anything important. Mercury also remains a very compassionate animal, sensing when any one of his family members needs some extra love or hugs. He is a sweet boy.
We will forever be grateful to NEARR for taking the time to match us with exactly the right dog - Mercury’s personality and needs have dovetailed with our lifestyle perfectly. The last 7 years of dog-owning have been full of joy, and our lives and the lives of our children have been enriched by having Mercury as part of our family.