Seamus Fitzmaurice is easily one of the most beloved members of Christ the King parish in Westmere, Albany. A friend to all, Seamus loves greeting parishioners, hanging out with his friends and taking long walks.

He also loves belly rubs and squeaky toys.

Seamus, a British cocker spaniel, has been the “mascot” at Christ the King for almost eight years. Rev. James Fitzmaurice, pastor, adopted him as an eight-week-old puppy in 2010.

“He’s the perfect dog for here,” said Father Fitzmaurice. “He hangs out in the office all day, and he loves the attention. He’s a real people puppy.”

The pastor had some help in finding Seamus from his friend Rev. Thomas Lawless, pastor at All Saints parish in Albany. Father Fitzmaurice had a chocolate lab, Wilson, for many years; when Wilson passed away, Father Lawless helped his friend get in touch with a breeder in the Catskills from whom he’d adopted his own dog, Seamus’ half-brother.

Seamus was one of four puppies at the breeder’s when Father Fitzmaurice went to visit. “You wanted to take them all home,” the pastor said.

Eight years later, Seamus has adapted well to life at the parish. His day starts with breakfast and a walk before Mass, then lunch with Father Fitzmaurice around noon and perhaps a favorite snack of shredded cheese.

Batting and chewing on empty plastic water bottles takes up some of Seamus’ time. Father Fitzmaurice joked that he could buy a $30 dog toy and Seamus would still choose an old water bottle: “He loves the sound.”

In the afternoon, the two walk around Tawasentha Park in Albany or The Crossings in Colonie. Later, Father Fitzmaurice will take Seamus for a final walk around their neighborhood, which usually involves a stop at the nearby Cone Zone for a dish of vanilla ice cream. On other days, Seamus heads to the dog park or has “play dates” with Father Lawless’ dog.

On Oct. 4, Father Fitzmaurice is celebrating Seamus’ eighth birthday — fitting, since it’s also the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of animals.

The proud pastor also noted that Seamus knows his way around the parish: “I’ll say, ‘We’re going over to the church!’ and he goes to church. Or I’ll say, ‘We’re going over to the school!’ and he goes to the school. He recognizes the name.”

Seamus also knows where treats are kept at home. Father Fitzmaurice said the only time the pup ever barks is when he’s asking for a snack.

Father Fitzmaurice has to be careful with living so close to a large parking lot. Sometimes, affable Seamus will “run right up to cars because he thinks someone is excited to see him.” But most days, Seamus doesn’t leave Father Fitzmaurice’s side.

“It’s nice to have him around the house, and have someone greet you at the end of the day,” said the pastor. “I can tell him about my problems, and he’s a good listener.”