“No Sebby,” is a phrase heard a lot around my house, often multiple times in couple of minute spans and sometimes so loud I imagine the neighbors hear it too. It has been shouted, along with “get down” and “Sebastian stop” at least a half-dozen times in just the couple minutes it took me to pen this paragraph.

Sebby, as many of you know, is our 7-month-old chocolate lab that gained permanent residency in our home 148 days ago.

We have easily spent a fortune on him in the past half-year and that doesn’t take into account any destruction he has caused. I even traded in my small sedan that he had outgrown for a pickup truck (no he won’t be riding in the back) in hopes that he will become a part-time traveling companion.

He has devoured most of the plants in the yard, along with anything else that looks appealing, which is just about anything he can fit in his mouth. Missing a sock, a shoe or a watch? Check underneath the bed where he likes to keep his collection.

Anything on a counter less than 5-feet high is considered fair game. He has demolished a school project of Olivia’s and we just went on a scavenger hunt for a missing tomato. The tomato was never recovered, but there was some evidence left underneath a couch upstairs that implicated Sebby.

Last week I sat stuffed from our Thanksgiving feast in my recliner that already has gnaw marks and reflected over the last five-months. I came to the realization that despite the interruptions he has caused, the lack of sleep endured, the dog hair and even the time he dragged a clump of wet red clay through the house; Sebby is a good one and there is little doubt we’d do it all over again.

Sebby has done things that would land any of us humans in the doghouse for the foreseeable future, but he still manages to melt our hearts and receive plenty of love and attention from the three of us.

I don’t know what it is, but furry four-legged family members always seem to bring joy, even when they sometimes do so wrong. I guess it can only be explained as us reciprocating the unconditional love family pets provide.

He’ll grow out of his adolescence stage eventually. There will come a time that panic doesn’t ensue every time he has been out of sight for more than a minute and hopefully, in time, he will lose his appetite for most everything other than his Science Diet.

But until then we will continue to love him. As I wrote back in August, for better or worse he is now and will forever be a Martin and I have no doubt he will reward us with years of loyal companionship.