I Learned Loyalty from a Dog Named Mac

I used to have a dog named Mac, and he was my best friend. Mac knew me, inside and out. Growing up, I wasn't allowed to have a lot of friends; I was in gifted programs at school, and nobody was ever good enough for my parents. No would-be friend ever survived their first visit to my house, and I wasn't allowed to spend the night elsewhere. Mac was always there for me, though. He was there for me until my first year of high school, when -- on what had otherwise been a good day -- he died, suddenly. He'd had what we were told was a benign mass that needed removed. When I came home that afternoon, my mother told me that they'd found out he had cancer throughout his body, and that he needed to be put down. 

I don't know if I believe her, to be honest. I could see her mind working along the lines of "Mac is old, and the expense of this isn't worthwhile. He'll forget about him." Either way, I came home to find out that my dog had been put to sleep, and I never got the chance to say goodbye, nor was I permitted to bury him. 

I learned loyalty from Mac. A girl I care about very much told me, earlier today, that I take some serious getting used to because I've this need to be useful. It comes across as being needy, wanting attention, wanting something exclusive, when all it is is a desire to be useful and helpful, to take some of the burden off of the shoulders of the friends I've finally managed to earn, as relates to the needs that they have in their own lives. Sometimes, I don't necessarily recognize when I ought to let them be themselves, or work things out on their own... but, finally, people are starting to understand that I'm trying to help. I need to temper it... but I'm trying to help, not take pieces of them, or lay a claim upon their lives, or get in their pants...

Alright... so, that last one has happened, a time or two... it even worked, so yeah. No regrets (hey, screw you, a good time was had by all :P).

I learned loyalty and friendship from my dog. It was, in some respects, a lonely way to grow up. Mac couldn't talk to me, or share in my love of all things geekish, or be stern when I'd done something that, deep down, I knew was wrong. But he loved me, unconditionally, and however much I might have taken him for granted, he was always there. Right up until the end, when he was pulled away from me while I was in class, laughing, having fun, having just made it into a gifted program I'd been hoping to get into. 

But... I don't wish that I'd had more human friends growing up so that I could have spent time with people, and not with Mac. I wish I'd had more friends so that they could have learned from him too. That sounds kinda silly, maybe. I don't know. Maybe a little overly idealistic... but I think that a lot of people could learn a lot more from their dogs than what they give them credit for. 

User Comments

Mac sounds like he was the best! I love dogs, and for this exact reason; they're so steadfast and loyal. We could all stand to learn a great deal from our #1 best friend! 

What kind of dog was Mac? Would you care to share more about him, perhaps some memorable times had by the two of you?