I am posting this a few days early because I wont be able to do this on Mack’s anniversary. :-(
The death of Mack on July 25 2013 was the culmination of the most horrible year I have ever had! It all started in 2012 when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, the very next day we found my brother dead in his home, the victim of a dissected aortic aneurysm. What followed was a quick succession of losses which was almost more that I could tolerate, my brother in law, my grandson and mother in law all died before the end of July 2013. I was feeling totally lost and alone apart from Julia (who I couldn’t burden as she was also suffering) and Indy the wonder Collie. I spent hours cuddled up on the sofa with Indy and he didn’t mind me unloading all of my grief on him, He was a little furry Saviour during some very dark days. I decided shortly after Mack had died that I would start to foster dogs again as it has always been very rewarding and it felt good to help pooches that were also having a hard time. Not long after making this decision I came across Hamish at Irish Retriever Rescue and fell in love with his eyes, something in them reminded me of the sad eyes that Mack had when we first got him out of his tiny crate at Wiccaweys. Mack had already had a horrible life before being “rescued” by Wiccaweys, he arrived emaciated, filthy and petrified of everything! and then his “rescuers” stuck him in a small travel crate in the back of a van for 5 months! We would have fostered Mack sooner but we already had a nervous foster dog and would have struggled with another, as soon as our foster got a home we picked up Mack and brought him home.
Life was interesting with Mack, Mack’s take on being scared was if it spooks ya, ya bite it and then shout at it!! Our son was bitten more times than he cares to remember, 2 of my brothers lost chunks from their legs and another brother had his shirt ripped off. Walks were long because we had to swerve around all other people and dogs but we knew that there was an “inner Mack” that would be beautiful, it took 2 years but we finally found it.
This is the Mack that we discovered, a big, goofy, playful and loving companion. Mack would follow me everywhere and I always felt safe with him at my side, he was no longer reactive but he had a sense of a dodgy person when he saw one and would give a low growl then a fierce bark if needed. At home Mack was relaxed and contented, he would play with Indy then curl up on the rug that my Mum had given to him because she said the wood floor was too uncomfortable for him. :-) Mack was finally getting the life that he had always deserved and then he went off his food! This was unheard of for Mack as he loved to eat, after 24 hours of not being himself I took him to the vet who said he probably had a stomach bug? she gave him antibiotics and gave dietary advice. Mack had been on the 7 day course of antibiotics for 4 days and suddenly appeared worse, I rushed him to the vet and had to leave him for some tests, 4 hours later I got a frantic message from the vet to go down there. When I got to the vet office I was told that Mack was in respiratory distress and didn’t have long to live, I went into the treatment room and Mack dragged himself to meet me and collapsed at my feet, I laid down on the floor with him as he died. The tests had revealed tumours on his heart and liver which were the result of Hemangiosarcoma, the tumour on his heart had been bleeding and slowly filling his pericardial sac with blood stopping it from pumping properly. A very cruel end for a dog that had been through so much in his short life. Mack was only 6 or 7 years old!
This was the last picture that I took of Mack and it is fitting that he is next to his friend and mentor, Indy.
It wasn’t until we adopted Hamish that I realised how many little character traits and quirks Mack had, Hamish does all of the same sweet, soppy and cheeky things that Mack did, along with some of the cheekiest bits from Luca (our late Golden Retriever) I think Mack lives on. :-) Mack’s real legacy is that he inspired me to foster again so that we can help some more pooches on their way to a home of their own. The first of these foster dogs is Annie from Love Underdogs. She is very nervous/timid and still avoids me when she can but feels safe with Julia so that is a start. What Mack did teach me that will now benefit Annie is that you can’t train the nervousness out of a dog, you have to just be there, be consistent, give them your time and let them discover that they can trust you which in turn leads to them learning to trust the rest of the world.
I still miss Mack every single day just as I do my Golden boy, Luca. I could happily eulogise them daily but there comes a point when you have to let “sleeping dogs lie” and move forwards. My boys will pop up in the odd post or two but the annual remembrance postings will cease. Future pooches will reap the benefits of all that Luca and Mack have taught me and through them they will live on, forever.