shih tzu smiling

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.” – Sydney Jeanne Seward

I loved this dog.

It has taken me a while to write this post. A week to be exact. Seven days. Almost 168 hours since we’ve said good-bye. And I still can’t believe that MacLeod is gone. Because he didn’t live with us – he belonged to my family – it is still easy for me to imagine him snoring loudly in his sleep at my sister’s or parent’s place. At 15 years of age, he did do a lot of sleeping. And snoring.

But, it wasn’t always that way. MacLeod and his sister, Anthea, came to our family when they were both wiggly, little shih tzu puppies, both from the same litter. Like any puppy out there, they were both unbelievably cute. And although I loved Anthea and her love of exploration, it was MacLeod that was my favourite.

MacLeod, aka Mackie, Big Mac, Maxster, Mister Magoo, was a character. He was your everyman’s dog. He had no airs about him, took you at your word and had a ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ way about him. He loved people, playing, balls and getting dirty. All the while being gorgeous.

Somehow, over the years, I had become  “Auntie Karen” to MacLeod. When he would hear those two words, he would get beside himself with excitement, whining and crying in anticipation. So much so, my family would not tell him I was coming to visit until I was less than 10 minutes away. When I would finally arrive, he would be there, ready to greet me at the door. And then, he would look up at me, turn his mouth up at the corners and give me an honest-to-goodness ‘grin’. After the initial fuss, he would turn his attention to my belongings and go through my bags in hopes of finding a treat, a new ball or something else wonderful that he was sure I had brought for him. And, when I finally settled in a chair to rest, there he would be – climbing on my lap and resting on my leg.

Time, of course, marches on. To see him get older, and less playful was hard. But when he got sick, I was heartbroken. My friend wasn’t the same. Getting up to greet me was difficult – laying back down was harder. There was no more joy in the thought of playing with a ball. And no more grin.

And so last week, my sister made the decision that the time had come to let MacLeod go. And we gathered, as we have for all our family’s pets, to say our good-byes. I had promised him I would be there when the time came, and I made good on that promise by holding his paw gently as he found peace.

While it is still hard to believe he is gone, I am so happy he came into our lives and that he allowed us to share him for a little while. Thank you Mackie. Please know we will miss you always.

I loved this dog. I still do.

shih tzu in bowtie

 

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