SW Update – RIP Macallan! by John J. Kelley

Puppy Mac!

The circle of life is hardest to accept when it’s time for your dearest friend to pass on. Today, our beloved dog Mac died at age 13. People will say Lynn and I were lucky to have him with us for so many years, but there is never enough time.

Mac joined our world on St Patricks Day when Lynn surprised me with a border collie puppy. It was particularly sweet, since I had had only one other dog in my early years who also was a border collie called Spike. I lost that dog on the day my father died on my seventh birthday. Looking back I realized that Spike was more my father’s dog then mine, since he stood over my father and shortly there after disappeared. Getting Mac from Lynn was almost like finding Spike and closing a painful chapter in my early life – the circle of life.

Mac was unusually large for a border collie but a gentle intelligent soul that touched everyone that he met. He could outrun a Frisbee, run for hours, and herd anything. He was very protective of his younger brother Jamie. Once when coyotes lured Jamie into the brush at our ranch, Mac charged the pack and brought Jamie back safely.

Jamie and Mac on a hike up Troon Mountain in AZ.

On another occasion, we were at the car wash waiting for our car when a young mother with a baby in a carriage approached and asked if it was safe to pet the dogs. The baby pulled on Mac’s ears, poked him in the eyes, and laughed loudly. Mac sat quietly. A few minutes later a young man with a manly dog came by and the dog lunged at the baby, teeth showing. Mac raced over, placed his jaws over the face of the dog and drove him to the ground. I was fearful Mac might harm him but he just stood between the baby and the dog in that sideways look so common for border collies.

Mac was very smart. I often said he was smarter than most of the people I have met during my life. Back in New England one of his jobs was to get the morning paper. If there wasn’t one on our driveway, he would search the neighborhood until he found one. We always let him out through the garage and he came back in the side door. One winter morning I was out with him and told him it was time to go in the front door. He turned and looked at me oddly but trotted over to our actual front door which we never used. I looked at him and realized I had said the front door not the side door. When I corrected myself, he calmly trotted to the side door waiting for me to let him in.

The family photo

Mac could talk. He just used a different language. I don’t mean that he barked but rather he would make an endless variety of sounds that over time Lynn could understand. He would wake you in the morning, talk to you about how hungry he was, and constantly describe what he saw on his morning walk. It was my problem that I didn’t always understand.

As we grew older together, we became more and more alike. Protective of our routine and less tolerant of others, we enjoyed our time together.

I will miss Mac forever but will be forever grateful for how he explained the circle of life to me. I think I will be better prepared as life and death move on.



For more photos of Macallan and the story of his life, visit our FB photo album  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/edit/a.405448256132010.102989.100000005171769/

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