Mackey was a male Cocker Spaniel, pointer cross that my parents purchased as a family and hunting dog when I was about six months old. My father liked to hunt pheasant and ducks.

Mackey was a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When my parents started teaching me responsibility, caring for Mackey became my first family job and one I kept up through the day he died.

Mackey lived in the garage and the fenced in back yard. When I was growing up, animals did not live in the house. Mackey was my constant companion when I was out back. I never thought a whole lot about him because he was always there as a part of my life and as my personal outside friend that I could count on as always being there.

When we were 15 years old he taught me something about life and friendship that I will never forget.

It happened on a late spring morning when I was running late for school. I rushed out into the garage to get my bicycle out. Mackey was out in the back yard. He heard me and came running to greet me like he did every morning. Normally I would spend two or three minutes petting him and generally saying good morning before getting my bike out or heading for the bus stop. It was a morning ritual for as long as I had been in school.

I was running late and didn't have time for him. I shut the back garage door just as he approached it and pretended that I didn't see him. I rationalized that if he thought I didn't see him it would make my disappointing him "OK" because it was not on purpose.

When I got back from school my mother told me that Mackey had died that morning. She said he died peacefully in his sleep curled up against the back garage door.

To this day I have never forgiven myself for being in too much of a rush to say good morning to my dog. Mackey had been a part of my life from before I could remember. I knew he was getting older, but it meant that he was not as much fun to play with and that he did not want to play as much. I was in High school and many outside activities were entering my life.

Until that day I did not truly understand the concept of having someone that was always a part of my life die. Mackey was always there, always full of unconditional love. In a deep emotional level I never understood that he would not always be there.

Mackey taught me about mortality and never being able to correct a wrong.

At the time I was sure he died of disappointment and a broken heart. I thought that maybe if I had taken to time to hug him that morning he would not have died. But he was dead and gone. There was no way for me to make it right for him.

I also learned that there was a dog size space in my heart and that I was incomplete unless it was filled. Since Mackey had always filled it I didn't know about it until he was gone.

Since that day I have always made it a point not to be too busy to say hi or bye. Because we never know what life will bring. Mackey taught me that what is done may not be undoable and any act with someone else may be the last. Life does not always meet our expectations.

It is best not to create regrets in the first place.


In memory of Mackey. We were puppies together. We grew up together. He taught me responsibility, showed me unconditional love and became one of the guiding spirits in my life.


This picture of Mackey was taken near Christmas of either 1948 or 1949 which made him either two or three years of age.

The rocking chair he is sitting in was bought for me.

He worked as my Fathers bird hunting dog during the first six years of his life.

Mackey was white with a few large red patches.



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