Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not Like Other Dogs

This post isn't about my knitting (guess who is having trouble getting that baby present started?) or even about someone for whom I'm likely ever to knit anything.

This post is about Mack. I have dear friends who don't want to talk about or read about dogs, and they may now push another button on their browser and mosey along. Go ahead, we'll wait. . .

Okay, Mack isn't like other dogs. Really, I know every dog owner, just like every parent, feels that their little one is secretly more special than others' average dogs or children, but Mack really is. I have independent confirmation.

Mack came into our lives on a whim, by accident, nine years ago. We were sitting in the front yard of the house we were sharing with friends, and he came running along the street, accompanied by a golden retriever. His tongue, as I recall, looked as though it weighed about 3 pounds. Down to his knees, it was. And he was wearing one of those cartoon bulldog collars -- the ones with the little silver pointy things sticking out?

So we scooped up the dogs and tried to find owners for them, but were stuck with them. Mack was the one we ended up with. He was gorgeous and nice, and we just knew, even then. Not like other dogs. He ended up being the big, calm dog that meant "dog" to our kids. He started out terribly afraid that we were going to leave him. He'd wail when left in the car or tethered outside of the library. Once he ate the door frame of my parents' apartment on a visit. Sometimes, helpul people would call the police, certain that he was being hurt or had been left in the car too long. I loved that part. He does that less and less now.

Once, when we were living with yet another set of friends, I looked up to see their then 3 year-old standing on Mack's side, using him as a stool to reach the sink for hand-washing. Mack just looked at me. He has been subjected to numerous indignities by toddlers, from being smacked with a block, to having his tail pulled, to having his food taken out of his dish while he eats. He's the dog that my oldest child learned about dog training and walking and expanding her sphere of independence with his company. And through it all, he's been patient, and dare I say, kind.

When my dog Jackie died, before I had children, I wondered if I would ever feel this way about a dog again. Mack has been a dog of my heart just like that, even with my own children to love (another worry I had). Fun to run and hike with, cozy to hang around with, quiet and gentle when things aren't going so well, he's a real friend. After watching him in the house one day, a friend told me to not ever get a Labrador assuming that it would be like Mack. "He's not a typical Lab," she said.

And tonight, Mack's hurting. He just had surgery today on a nail bed tumor that the vet had some bad feelings about. She said she took some of the good bone above the nail bed, just to make certain that she got as much of the dangerous stuff out as she could. He's never been a huge stoic, and he's true to form tonight. So spare a warm thought for a Very Good Dog.


Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

:-( Poor guy! I have such a soft spot for labs. Emma and I are sending your healing thoughts, Mack!

allisonmariecat said...

Poor sweetie. I hope he feels better soon.

sewingsuzee said...

Mack is truly and absolutely a one of a kind dog. I will admit to you that sometimes I'm not even sure Mack *is* a dog. So much wisdom and patience in one being is really not of this earth.

Poor baby. Poor you. I know watching him hurt is terrible.

Brittany said...

He's beautiful. I hope he feels better soon!

Janis said...

Awww...We hope that Mack feels better soon!!! Lily sends a hug.

jen said...

What a sweet, benevolent face your lovely dog has!

Dont' you just love how you can tell so much about their personality from their expressions?

And labs in general.... *swoon*

sewingSuzee's mom said...

Hi again....I just read your blog about Mack. What a sweetie he is....I can't wait to meet him when I get back in June...Hope he is all better by then. He looks a lot like my black lab, Cassie, but she would never be described as "calm"; however, she is getting better now that she too has a white chin. Sharon

String Bean said...

Poor pooch. I hope he heals quickly and completely. I hate to see my pup in pain. *gives sugar*