Mack, my big, tall, sweet, and best-in-every-way buddy died unexpectedly on July 1. He was getting old and stiff but wasn't ailing in any obvious way. RK had taken him fishing the day before and sent pics of him smiling on the river bank. He chased me around the driveway on my bike on Friday morning, squeaking and half barking, like he did from the time he was a puppy. Mid-day he was acting off and at 1 am he was in obvious distress and we took him to the emergency vet. They stabilized him and told us to call at 7 to check in, but we got the call at 5 that he had died.
Mack was a shining light of a pup. His joy of life, of running, chasing, snuggling, eating, chewing, seeing friends, meeting strangers, hanging his head out the window, going new places, revisiting old places, was pure and enthusiastic. I remember leaving him with friends only twice. One of those times he ate a half pound of coffee beans and spent the weekend awake (sorry, Jeanine!). The rest of the time, he was with us and with Emma, his mentor, idol, and crafty companion. He was not quite as fond of the new pup (I mean, puppies are annoying), but he accepted her with grace.
Early on, I feared he shone too brightly, that no creature so fully alive could endure. We almost lost him last summer to bloat and a twisted stomach, but he survived that ordeal, and I began to relax and even thought that maybe he would make it to 12 or even 13, a very long life for such a big dog. He was 11 years, 5 months, and 12 days old when he left and I know I am lucky to have felt so loved for all of the days we had him.
Mack was trusting and generous with affection and anyone who was fortunate enough to know him was welcomed with his big bark and long wagging tail. I miss him every day, but one thing he taught me is that there is always more love.