We met him in a Burger King parking lot in January, 2003. Westie Rescue of California had called and told us about a male Westie who was found near Modesto, California. No tags. No chip. All efforts to find his home were unsuccessful, so the woman who found him, took care of him and looked for his owner, reluctantly contacted Westie Rescue. She would have loved to keep him, but she already had two dogs and a new baby. She was on her way from Modesto to San Diego to drop him off with the wonderful folks at Westie Rescue when they contacted us. They knew us well; we had already rescued four Westies through them.
They suggested that we meet the woman who was driving him to San Diego somewhere near Los Angeles, where we lived, perhaps saving her from another three hours on the road. We agreed to meet at the Burger King in Santa Clarita, just off I-5.
As soon as we met him, it was clear that he would come and live with us. He would be a wonderful companion for our female Westie, Casey, our first rescue eight years earlier. We had recently lost our fourth rescue, MacGee, and Casey clearly missed him as much as we did.
Our veterinarian believed him to be four or five years old and pronounced him in good health although a little underweight. He had not been neutered, so we had that done at once.
He bonded quickly with my wife, Deborah, but it took him a little longer to warm up to me. We thought that he might have been mistreated by a male in his previous life.
In time, Mackie and I also bonded and while he was always Deborah’s dog, he was an affectionate and beloved companion to me as well.
When our first rescue, Casey passed away at 17 in 2009, we decided Mackie would be an only child. It was the first time since 1995 that we hadn’t had at least two Westies. At one time, we had three. We spoiled him even more than we had already and our bond with him grew stronger. Deb and I have no children, so he was our boy. During the daytime, he was wherever Deb was, but at night, he always snuggled up next to me in bed. Deb joked that he was Mommy’s boy in the daytime and Daddy’s at night.
It has always been painful to lose one of our precious canine companions, but Mackie’s passing has been especially agonizing for us. It is the first time in 19 years that we haven’t had a dog in our home. In the past, when the time came to say goodbye to one of our beloved pets, we took some comfort in still having the love and companionship of another.
As painful as our parting was, the kindness and skill of a wonderful and highly-respected veterinarian, Dr. Sara, made it bearable. Dr. Sara came to our home and tenderly and compassionately eased Mackie into the afterlife. It brought a certain beauty and closure to the tearful end of a precious and memorable chapter of our lives.
Mackie will be in our hearts forever.