This is the story of my dog Mac, who died saving the life of my mother in July 2004.
Growing up on a small family farm, in rual central texas, dogs were always a big part of my life. We had several, and I was taught as a child to always love dogs. As my father said, ” A dog that is loved, will love you in return, and be willing to die to protect you.” But at the same time, I was taught that like all other animals, dogs had a job to do, and their job was to protect us.

We worked out doors a lot, in an area infested with bobcats, racoons, cyottes, and snakes. All of these animals can be dangerous, especially when they carry rabbies. Anytime we were outdoors, we always had the dogs around for their ability to detect danger before us.

We got Mac when I was 12, after my prior dog was killed from a snake bite. The runt of the litter, he wasn’t half the size of my foot, but he took to me right away, ridding on my lap the whole way home, and playfully bitting and scratching at my hand. As he got bigger, he would never leave my side. He slept in the bed with me at night, and walked with me the half mile to the school bus every morning. And when the bus dropped me off in the afternoon, he would be there to walk me home. Sometimes, as we were walking, he would stop suddenly, spotting a rabbit, or a stray cat, look up at me eagerly, and I would say, “Go get ’em.” He would take off after whatever it was, but only untill he lost sight of me, then he would stop, and come running back to me, happy, tung hanging out, and knowing I would rubb his ears and say “good boy.” Other times, he would stop suddenly, and growel, I would look ahead cautiously, and see a snake coiled in the grass just ahead, but he never failed to let me know when something was wrong.

When I was 19, I took a Job away from home, and unfortunately, was unable to take mac with me. At first, he would lie in the driveway all day and night, waiting for me to come home. Eventually, he figured it out, and instead, took to my mother, as he did me. But when I came home to visit, you couldn’t imagine a happier dog.
I came home to visit one weekend, and as always, he was there, and happy to see me, but in his old age, he wasn’t quite so enerjetic. That evening, my mother took him for his evening walk down our long, country driveway, as had become their daily routine. I decided not to go with them. A few minutes later, I was standing on the front porch and saw my mother running towards the house, screeming for me to bring a gun.
As they were walking, Mac suddenly froze, and began growling. Out of nowhere, a large dog, three times macs size lunged out of the bushes and charged towards my mother. Mac sprang into action, and met the dog in mid air, giving all he had to fight off the larger dog long enough for my mother to get away. I ran as fast as I could to the sceene, and when I arived, the two dogs were still fighting, I called mac off, and he instantly broke, and ran away, giving me a clear shot at the other dog, which was clearly suffering from severe rabbies. As soon as the other dog fell, so did mac. I dropped the gun, and ran towards him. He was covered in blood, his once white coat, turned dark red. I picked him up, and ran home. When I got him into the house, and saw the damage under better light, it was clear. My hart broke knowing what had to be done. We were almost an hour from the nearest vet, and I knew he would never make it. He was lieing there wimpering in pain, it broke my hart to see him suffer, but I couldn’t bear the thaught of what needed to be done. As my mother was stroking his head, and telling him what a good boy he was, he calmly licked her hands. I picked him up and carried him outside away from the house, lied him down on the grass. He had stopped wimpering, and was calmly licking my hand as I told him how good he was. I was shocked that for the first time in my life, I was in tears at the thaught of having to shoot an animal, but he wasn’t just an animal to me, he was like my brother, my best friend. As hard as it was, I knew it had to be done. He was still licking my hand, as if he knew what I had to do, and he was trying to tell me it was ok. I told him how good he was, one last time, and that I loved him, then as I put the gun to his head, he closed his eyes, drew, and held in a breath, as though he knew it was comming. He was such a good dog.

Still today, I tear up thinking about that night, and I tell myself I did the right thing. Without a doubt, he would have died, if I hadn’t done it, he would’ve suffered longer. But It still hurts to think about. I had never had a better dog than him, and though I have a new dog now, and I love him too, I cant imagine ever having a dog that could top Mac. If there is a dog heaven, I know he went to the front of the line.

So for all you dog lovers out there, LOVE YOUR DOGS! Never neglect them, because they live to serve you, and they would die to protect you. I pray that none of you ever have to do what I had to, but if they are ever hurt beyond help, and are suffering, please, dont make them suffer longer. As hard as it is, its more cruel to make them suffer longer. And know, that they are proud to give their lives for you. God gives purpouse to all living creatures, and that is theirs. Their job is to love you unconditionally, and if need be, die for you.

James from TX

One Response

  1. Ruth Eichelberger Says:

    James, I just read your story about Mac. It brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful friend he was and how fortunate he was to have you and your family to take him in. Thanks for sharing your story.