Sebastian is almost the perfect rectory dog. He's good with people. He's protective when he needs to be. He knows when to offer somebody comfort in a way that I cannot. He keeps me sane. He's black so that when he sheds he doesn't show up on my clerics. But if he has one major design flaw it is this: There is something in autumn to which he is allergic. He scratches himself mercilessly day and night. It not only torments him, it torments the people around him.
A couple of weeks ago a priest buddy of mine and I went on a trip to the "woods" and rented a cabin. He was all excited because the dogs wanted to sleep in his room instead of mine. But Lo! Around 3AM my door was unceremoniously opened and my friend announced . . .
And then he slammed the door. Apparently the joy of having the dogs in his room was too heavy offset by the disgusting grooming noises Sebastian was making. Fortunately between the fan and my hearing not being what it used to be, I was just fine with him sleeping in my room.
Before you say anything . . . yes. I've tried that.
The different food. The vitamins. The Benadryl. The right shampoo. Prayers to Saint Francis. Wishing on a shooting star. I've tried everything short of getting another dog. The thing is - I know it will all come to a screeching end the moment the first snow falls. Though it may cut down on the intensity, there just doesn't seem to be anything that will make it better until those snow flakes start falling.
Sebastian is a very social dog. He generally sits in on all of my meetings and does what he can to make people feel comfortable before their pastor. But in the fall, it is always the reverse. If it were just the scratching, that would be one thing but there is this awful slurping noise he makes when digging into various contorted areas - disgusting noises that I always forget exist until the fall. I learn to tune them out but for the uninitiated they can be quite disturbing.
So I am running low on advice and ideas. My only hope is that global warming is either a hoax or will soon reverse because the snow cannot come quickly enough. I'll try anything.