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
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
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
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.
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
Mackey was white
with a few large red patches.
to the page top