Ambassador of Happiness,
this girl's best friend.
Wish you all had known him, because everyone who did loved him. Living in the heart of downtown, Mac made friends with everyone who passed by (especially if they passed by with french fries from the Sparetime Tavern), so he had friends I've never even met. For awhile there was a man who would let himself in the gate and sit under one of the maples, scratching McKinley's ears. I've a feeling Mac gave as good as he got in that friendship. One Easter, McKinley introduced me to an angel of a child named Gabriella, who brought me an important message, in answer to a prayer. That's a story for another day, but it was sweet gentle McDog who invited her to my doorstep.
Neighbor kids not allowed to have dogs would throw his toys for him, though I can't say as Mac really ever got the point of fetch. He'd do it for awhile, though, if it made you happy to watch him run. Running he got the point of. Running is what sled dogs do best. The louder you yell, the faster a sled dog will run away from you...unless you yell "cookie!" This was one of the first things Mac taught me. Do not step out the back door in your underpants and a tank top to get his food dish, if you have the kind of door that can lock behind you when a happy dog jumps on it, was lesson number two.
In recent years, neighborhood children caught on that I'm a sucker for any kid selling stuff, or wanting an odd job for spending money. McKinley, too old to be any trouble on a leash, got taken for a lot of walks last summer. He really was getting old, because one day the girls had collected a whole menagerie of pets to take on an outing, which, along with three dogs, also included two wagons, one with two rabbits, the other three guinea pigs and a white rat, which I didn't see until after I said, "Yes, he can go". I spent an hour in absolute terror of having to replace someones beloved furballs. Thankfully, being a malamute, Mac was so intent on leading the troupe, he never noticed who was following. Whew!
Although he wasn't much of a house dog, McKinley preferred to be wherever I was, so he went on errands and to work with me, whenever possible. He sat in the front passenger seat, with his front paws on the floor, and his chin on the windowsill, smiling as only malamutes can, at everyone we passed. For this he earned the title of Ambassador of Happiness. Judging by the smiles and waves, I'd say he cheered a lot of people,especially Harley riders, who I suspect are just reincarnated malamutes, anyway
One summer morning, after a particularly fierce storm, I found a tiny bird's nest in the yard, and on closer inspection, discovered it was lined in McKinley's hair. You may think you have a certain function or purpose in this world, but this nest reminded me that we never really know all the lives we touch, nor how we touch them, so just be present, and be fully yourself. In a cartoon version of this, I envision Snoopy's friend Woodstock and all his little bird friends wearing sweaters knit from malamute fur...do other people think of things like this?...the brain works in mysterious ways.