I. MACOOOSE

My brief story of the bond I shared with two gay guys, the anguish and pain when one died and the cancer that robbed me and my dad of our life together.

It’s me. 1 year old

I’m told a dog is a man’s best friend. From a dog’s mind, some men are a dog’s best friend.

I shared my mother’s womb with 10 sibling puppies, all just like me except I was the naughtiest and the one with an odd colour. My siblings were all white, like my mum. As a puppy, the day my mouth got round my mum’s tit, I was a mummy’s boy. If she were out of sight, my heart would be thumping, and I’d be fretting. It’s a trait I never grew out of.

For a while me and my siblings did nothing but play, sleep, drink and poop.

But then I noticed many strange humans were coming to our house and when they were there, my mum got locked in the next room. It was nerve racking for a wimp dog like me, even more so when my siblings started to vanish one by one. But I wasn’t worried as long as my mum was about.

Then one day two guys came to our house. There was only me, one sister and three brothers left. The rest had vanished and to who knows where.

My sister hid under the table and the other three got too excited, like they always did. I wasn’t much interested in visitors and the two guys didn’t seem that special to me. Besides, I was fretting because my mum was locked in the next room.

I’d noticed that one of the guys focused on me since arriving, as if he knew something I didn’t. Reluctantly I let him stroke my ears and my long nose, but then he whispered sweet nothings in my ear, something along the lines of me being handsome and going to live with them.

The cheek of it all. I cocked my head as if I didn’t understand a word he said, then turned my back on him and sat against the door. I could smell my mum the other side, so I was safe.

Anyway, the guys left and everything went back to normal.

Would you believe it! Two weeks later they came back. By now I had found I could bark, so I gave it all my worth and I thought I’d given them second thoughts.

But no. It seemed it was my turn to disappear. The guys wrapped me up in a blanket, carried me to their car and off we went, me a trembling wreck because I knew I’d never see my mum again.

It was a long journey for a baby dog, as big as I was. Halfway I puked all over the seat, enough to require a stop and a walk. It was to be like that for a long time, get in the car and within 5 minutes I’d turn green, before my stomach emptied anywhere in the car.

My first night in my new home was panic stricken. They left me alone in the kitchen, knowing I had never been left alone before. Well, I was having none of it. I hollered the place down until well past midnight.

Only then did the guy who seemed to like me more come and sit with me. I played him for good because he ended up taking me into the bedroom and that’s where I slept for the rest of my life, right next to the bed, just to keep an eye on their antics.

I’ve got to say, I bonded with these two guys like glue. The one who claimed me to be his became the dad I never knew, and that pesky fretting came back whenever he wasn’t around. I grew to love them both because the other guy, Ian, wasn’t too well and I kept him company lots of the time.

I have a huge story to tell of my life with these two guys, too long to share here. I count myself a lucky dog, but shared my dad’s heartache and sadness when Ian died.

I went to the funeral, in the big black car that followed the hearse. At the crematorium, I had to be quiet, which I tried to be. When it ended, it was me who stepped up to the coffin, for I knew my Ian lay there and from the tangible pain I felt was all around me, he wasn’t coming back.

For 18 months after that, it was just my dad and me. He and I became closer soul mates and along with my two daily walks, every evening we’d have fun playing carpet ball, or play fighting as he hid my precious ball.

Then I started to feel odd. My appetite gradually went, and I felt my strength declining. I got taken to the animal doctor many times, once having many X-rays.

Not long after that, I could feel my life draining. My dad cried and cried and cuddled me for a week until the time came when he knew he had to let me go. I knew too, like dogs do.

I died in his arms, at the animal doctors.

I’m still with him. I know I left paw prints in his heart and so many hairs that they’re still climbing out the woodwork, just to remind him I loved him the same way.

Now I’m in another dimension, having a ball with Ian. We both loved my dad and one day we’ll all be back to normal, and I’ll never fret again.

In memory of Macooose, the blonde bombshell of my handsome German Shepherd dog. 2004–2012