(Photo courtesy of Jane Romney)
By Neil Swidey
The controversy has drawn howls from animal-rights advocates and captured the imagination of overseas editorial writers. (The Times of London headlined its coverage, "Toppled by a dog?") It's also given Seamus a starring role in everything from YouTube videos to gag T-shirts. But, until now, any photo purporting to be of Seamus was instead a stock image of an Irish setter.
Mitt Romney's sister Jane provided this photo as evidence that Seamus was no ordinary dog. She says he was such a social dog that he often left Mitt Romney's Belmont home to visit his "dog friends" around town. "He kept ending up at the pound," she says. "They were worried about him getting hit crossing the street." So a few years after Seamus's ride to Canada, Mitt sent Seamus to live for a time with Jane and her family in California. "We had more space, so he could roam more freely," she says.
Seamus came to her home as a dog who hated cats. But over time, he changed his ways. By the time one of her cats had a litter, Seamus let the kittens crawl all over him, and he became protective of them, she says. "This dog was Mr. Personality."
Jane says she never knew he made the trip to Canada in a rooftop dog carrier -- a journey punctuated by a bout of diarrhea -- until the Globe's seven-part series on her brother. But she maintains that if Seamus didn't like the arrangement, he wouldn't have accepted it. "He was a Houdini," she says. "He could get out of any space you put him in."