This is a picture taken by the Chronicle Herald at Point Pleasant Park in 1999 - it's got Andrew and Angus and his Dad and me and my ex in the forefront and Charlie and Leonard running around in the back ground. There's also Janet Chernin's Oreo in the forefront and she's in the background with a pack of dogs on leash.
Andrew Arthur MacKay was a 100 lb collie who Charlie, Leonard and I walked with every day without fail (almost) for a couple years at Point Pleasant Park exactly at 4pm with his brother Angus and his Dad Glenn. Andrew somehow could contort his very long collie head and actually smile. He could also smell a cookie from a mile away and would never take no for an answer - and with a face like his you could never turn him down. If you were going to be at the park around 12 noon or 4pm you always took extra cookies with you because you KNEW Andrew was going to be there so you'd be needing them.
He had the most glorious and majestic of barks - not a normal bark, it was more like a woof that you'd read about hear in your head than what you'd expect to hear in reality. But when your dog actually IS Lassie - you'd expect that I guess.
I got the always inevitable email today that Andrew is gone, and for some reason it is just so sad. It is like the end of an era, and I know how much Andrew was loved and by how many people he was loved. He wasn't a rescue dog who had a hard-knock life. He was hand picked as a puppy through study of several different breeders and then had a very coddled life. He really WAS a member of his family and it really brings home the sad fact that dogs lives really are way too short. 11 years really does seem like such a tragedy for such a gentle soul and such a close relationship. It's just not fair somehow.
It makes me think of Charlie and his current health problems and his struggles and knowing that he's not going to be around forever - and Buttercup - she's 11 years old NOW. But it's got to happen to all of them, and then us. And not in that order, perhaps.
(I'm privileged to say those bandana's were made by me!)
This is a picture I took of Andrew and Angus and made into cards for their Dad when he did in-home dog boarding.