Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mack & Katie

My mom, Katie, is this little red headed Irish babe, a total force to be reckoned with, running around at all times, taking on her kids, household, and the world.

Us kids usually being more difficult to manage than the world.

She is also exceptionally short. Shorter than all of her kids, even the baby by a small margin, and we don’t often let her forget her height when she is around us.

Out of all the people and pets who live in our household, she is really only taller than one. And that is because we have a Yorkshire terrier among our ranks, Mack the Knife.

My english major of a soul is dying... I meant to say "I am taller thAn you". My apologies to all.

The love Mack has for Katie is quite possibly the greatest love affair in history. Beyond Anthony and Cleopatra, Scarlett and Rhett, JFK and Jackie O, Ross and Rachel, the couple from season 13 of The Bachelor, and even more passionate then the love between the Obamas—Mack and Katie win.

Which is even MORE amazing because it is almost entirely a one sided emotion. Mack being completely and totally obsessed with my mother. Which, since Mack is supposed to be my dog, I find fundamentally unfair.

I had begged for a puppy, written reports, made posters I would cleverly leave on my parents bed, and eventually once we got Mack, been overjoyed when my hard work paid off. Sadly, from the very first, he seems to have considered himself my mom’s, not mine.

Mack follows my mom around like her living shadow. It is almost as though he is trying to make sure she is always secure, always protected, and he considers himself her 7 pound body guard. He would absolutely take a bullet for the woman. He very rarely strays from my mom, usually only doing so to bark at people on/near our lawn or scare away small animals who are threatening our home’s security.  There is a very specific zone in which Mack feels happy and safe, my mom being the center of that boundary.

It is always amazing to observe the single minded devotion Mack has for my mom. Sometimes, it borders on sad when you realize how great the difference is between how he feels and how my mom does. His feelings are simply not returned to the Armageddon-may-take-me degree he feels for her. My mom is definitely fond of the little guy, he is very very cute and he is, after all, entirely devoted to loving her. It can just be hard sometimes because… Mack is a jerk.

Mack is like… your racist great uncle. You love him, of course. And he is so cute in his little old man way. But, he is also crazy, likely paranoid and extremist. And he is mean to everyone outside of the family.  That is exactly Mack. He is really old for a dog, pushing 12, and he is definitely a punk basket to everyone who is not a family member or a family friend he has tried to attack 100 times in the past and has just given up on. He goes ballistic whenever people come to our house, trying to get them to leave, until one of us calls him off and he sulks off to protect my mother from the stranger in defeat. Oh, and delivery people, Lord help us.

It is a wonder we haven’t had to lawfully put him down. The fact that he is about as threatening, in size and stature, as a beanie baby is probably the only thing that has spared his life.

Essentially, like your great uncle, my family and I are the only people who appreciate  Mack being around. We are the only people who even like Mack. He is grouchy and perpetually freaked out that everyone who enters our place is a terrorist. Our neighbors definitely hate the constant barking from Mack, his alarm system to alert the neighborhood when there are birds, squirrels, or children playing, eventually becoming repetitive. All of our friends seem to hate him if only because he seems to hate them, rarely warming up to anyone outside of our family. And even then, members of the family can be the object of Mack’s loathing.

Or at least, that’s the case for Toby.

Toby is the golden retriever my family got this past summer. When we brought the puppy Toby home, Mack was mortified and then quickly angered. He attacked the little fluff, which was smaller then him at the time, and even made his ear bleed before we all banished Mack to other corners of the house.

Therefore, grouchy old man Mack, was nothing short of devastated by the addition of Toby. Why were we all playing with the enemy? What did we mean when we said “play nice”? And where in God’s name was Katie?

We set up barricades around all the areas Toby was growing up in to protect him from Mack. This usually worked well since Mack wanted absolutely nothing to do with Toby, but whenever my mom would go to check on the puppy or play with him, Mack would flip a flap jack and bodily throw himself against the gates, yipping and barking until Katie came back over to where he could see her.

My mom, obviously, was less then thrilled with this situation. Mack’s obsession with her was making her life a living, bark filled, hell. Plus! She never got to play with cute, puppy Toby!

As happens with puppies, much too quickly Toby was a full sized dog. While Mack is an old, grouchy, man dog, Toby is like Doug, the dog in “Up”. He has absolutely no clue what’s going on 99.9% of the time, is easily distracted, knows he’s fridgin’ cute, loves everyone and everything, and therefore thinks everyone and everything is his friend. Especially Mack.

Mack is his best BEST friend.

Of course, Mack still hates him with every fiber of his being. If not more so now that Toby is too big for Mack to attack and he is nothing short of vigilant in his pursuit of friendship with him.

All Toby wants, more then anything, is to play with Mack. He will walk up to a sleeping Mack and whack him with his giant paw, intended him to get up and run and play. He will chase Mack down when Mack is trying to guard my mom, intent on having him play tug of war. Toby will spaz out with joy whenever Mack is in the room, ignoring furniture, people, and WALLS in his attempts to be in Mack’s proximity. Our doors have been clawed to death.

The gates that were once barricades against Mack have become his only salvation. Due to the crazy happiness that rushes through Toby, we had to cut holes in the gates so Mack could get away safely. Toby could accidently break Mack’s spine in his excitement. We keep the dining room portioned off from the rest of the house so Mack can duck through the gates and hide from Toby for a few hours peace or in case such an attack is eminent.

Mack’s life is pretty much hell right now.

And Toby and Mack are pretty much making my mom’s life hell right now by acting like lunatics and destroying her house in the rampage.

And my Mom is then upset with my Dad because he works outside of the house, so she has to deal with it on her own.

And then my Dad is upset with us four kids because, by having four of us, he never intended on having to deal with the pets himself.

And we are all annoyed with the dogs because, if they could just be cool, we wouldn’t be in the hot seat.

So, in conclusion, if Mack could just not be a grouchy old man dog and could play nicely with Toby, there would be peace on Earth.

For now, however, there is only peace when Toby is dead asleep and Mack is with my mom. Which kind of works … Well, for everyone but my mom. Who I am told once had a life outside of the dog drama but, no one (my mom included) can remember that far back.

(Mack on my mom's knees (blue jeans), Toby nosing in.) 

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