Good-bye, Mack.

Mack — aka The Scrunt, Mr. Mack, Mackie Mack, Mack Attack — passed away on Friday night. It seems unreal. Just a week ago we were hiking around the cliffs of Kanab looking for arrowheads together. And tonight he is gone. We miss you, Mackie. We’ll love you always.

Born as a stray in the wild west, Mack was troublemaker from the start. He was found by tourists driving through Monument Valley, Utah. He was a scrappy little rez mutt, no more than 8 weeks old. They stopped to ask a tribal member about the pup, who said he was chasing them on horse, and they should take him. The couple took him to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, as they could not keep him, and so begins his story.

It was 2005 and Steve and I had recently moved to Kanab, UT to work for Best Friends. Best Friends was still a tiny animal welfare organization — but that would change. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and we were thrust into National news for the work we did saving animals during and after the storm. As part of the efforts to help animals, foster families were in desperate need to care for all the displaced pets. We became foster parents to a tiny 4 lb yorkie named Yoda.

I fell in love with this little squirt, but as fate would have it (and very happily so!) his family was found and so we had to say good-bye. I was heart-broken. It was bittersweet.

This is the same time that Mack arrived at Best Friends.

Knowing that I was mourning my loss, adoption specialist Kristi seized on the opportunity. I remember the convo going something like this “hey, we have this new terrier that just arrived. I know you’re really sad about Yoda. I think you’d really like him. Are you up to fostering him?”

In my mind I was picturing another 4 lb designer dog, specifically one that I could carry around in my purse, go to coffee shops and basically be the Paris Hilton of Kanab. “OK!!” I said. “When can I meet him?!”

I drove up to the Sanctuary and let the staff know i was there to meet “Mack”. I went around to the back of Dogtown Headquarters, and there in a crate was a wiry, scrappy tank of a puppy. He was NOT happy. He had a drastic underbite and looked like he was somewhere between being really happy or possibly quite annoyed. If he could talk I’m sure he would have been cusssing and demanding he be LET OUT.

I drove home and told him he was safe — he’d have a big ol’ yard and a brother dog (Gandalf) and sister (Tae). He did not seem impressed. What was this crap about brothers and sisters?

First impressions — not so good. This little 8 week old puppy decided he was now the boss. Our husky, Gandalf, was found cowering in a corner. Tae was not impressed. Mack growled and snarled. I told Steve “I do not like this dog.”

Steve, always the voice of reason, said “he is a baby. he’s been through a lot. He is scared. Let’s give him time.”

That night he slept like a rock. he woke up and was a little bit less grumpy. He ate like a champ. He decided this was a pretty nice life.

A couple weeks passed and it was time to get his pic up on “petfinder”. Ok good — I thought. This is good.

The second I saw his scrappy little mug up on the website, I broke into tears. “WE HAVE TO KEEP HIM. I CAN’T LET HIM GO.” And so, that very day, he became Mack Williams.

Over the years there has been a few consistent traits about Mack. 1.) He HATED gandalf (and generally any dog that had wolf-like qualities — except Flora). 2.) He LOVED people. He wanted nothing more than to be with his people. 3.) He was fiercely loyal. He NEVER strayed on hikes. NEVER. “oh, see that bunny? I didnt.. I’m staying right here with you, my people!” 4.) He was WHATEV about cats — but cats LOVED Mack. ha! why? we still dont know.

When I birthed out human children, Mack was ecstatic! “more people!!!!” yes! he loved his boys. He made them laugh when they were tiny tiny babies. He protected them from that big ol’ wolf, Gandalf. And they loved him back.

Over the years, Mack never changed much. If he was upset, you knew it 🙂 He looked just like Stripe from Gremlins. It was funny and terrifying. When he was happy? He looked like a grateful dead bear. He was the dog that would come with us everywhere, because he could be trusted to stay right by our side. He never strayed.

A couple years ago when Gandalf suddenly died and our family was thrown into utter depression, Mack gloated. It was Grateful Dead bear 24/7. He was SO happy, that little shit. Seriously, SO HAPPY. It was maddening.

Then, a month later, we acquired Swagger. 🙂

Oh, that was not a joyous day. Mack was SO MAD. He didnt even pretend to be OK with it. He snarled, grumbled, growled. But, after a while he was “OK”. He learned to deal.

As it happens with life, time goes by, kids get bigger, life gets busier. Mack was always our “GO TO” dog for any adventure. He was dependable. We loved to give him special MACK time — one on one w/ his family — time to be spoiled and let him know he was DA MAN. He was so predictable!

Last week Mack started to cough. A LOT. He just didn’t seem like Mack. He was sluggish. He seemed a little out of it. We got him an appointment w/ the vet and it was discovered he was in the late stages of lung cancer. We were stunned.

We decided that we’d do whatever it took to  make sure that no matter how long he had on Earth – we’d make it count.

It’s crazy to think that the diagnosis wasn’t even a week ago. And here I am tonight — writing this tribute to my best friend. Mack lived his life fully — and with so much love and emotion. He was fiercely loyal to his human family.

This weekend has been a blur of memories and tears — we’ll never have another Mack. Mackie, we love you. I hope you are somewhere over the rainbow, causing trouble and scrunting around. You’ll always be remembered as the little gremlin with the biggest heart. I wish we could have more time with you, buddy.

Love alway, mom, dad, Harry and JJ xoxo

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