It’s good that New York Times Opinion columnist (and former Hartford Advocate writer) Gail Collins is back from book leave. Hopefully we can expect to see her column a couple times a week between now and the presidential election in 2012. That means, assuming that Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, that even if only half of her columns are about the campaign and Romney, we can probably anticipate 50 or so pieces on Mitt. And, as readers of her column know, even when she’s tackling a subject only tangentially related to Romney, Collins has an impressive way of sliding in a reference to Romney’s family dog, Seamus, and the trips the Mitt would take to Canada with the dog strapped to the roof of the car. Expect to hear a lot more about that poor dog.

Here’s a list of 10 of Collin’s greatest hits in citing the Seamus incident.

1. From “Debating With the Stars” (Sept. 7, 2011)

“His puppy-rescue is a stirring picture, especially considering that Perry’s chief competitor is the man who drove to Canada with the family dog Seamus strapped to the roof of the car.”

2. From “The Coyote Candidate” May 27, 2011

“Try to imagine the Republican convention being asked to choose between Mitt Romney, who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of his car, and the guy who shot a puppy-eating coyote.”

3. From “What’s in a Nickname” March 25, 2011

“Also, perhaps I should point out that Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, the hotel guy. And that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.”   

4. From “The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas” Dec. 17, 2010

“And while we’re expanding our horizons, I hope somebody out there is thinking about a tasteful Mitt Romney Christmas ornament, perhaps showing Mitt’s family vacation to Canada, with Seamus the dog strapped in his cage on the roof.”

5. From “The Spring Quiz” May 6, 2011

“C) Latest book fails to mention that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.”

6. From “The End-of-the-Year Quiz” Dec. 31, 2010

"C) Continued to fail to explain why he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car." 

7. From “Meet Mitt Romney, Liberal Icon” March 31, 2010

“Here I was thinking of him as a failed politician with no discernible core values, who had once driven to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.”

8. From “The Revenge of Seamus” Feb. 9, 2008

“Worst of all, I’m going to have to get through the rest of the year without ever again referring to the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car.”

9. From “The Wages of Rages” Feb. 19, 2010

“And my sorrow in discovering that the fight did not involve retribution for the day Romney drove his dog to Canada strapped to the roof of the family car was ameliorated by my joy at the vision of Mitt having an argument with a rapper about proper seat positioning for takeoff.”

10. From “Presidential Shopping List” Nov. 22, 2007

“Romney has no known vices, except packing the family dog on top of the car during long trips. His wife makes him homemade granola, which he likes to eat with skim milk when feeling particularly indulgent.”