2017-10-18 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Mac, a 14-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner, went to the Rainbow Bridge last Monday. For his sake, let’s hope Dog Heaven is as spectacular as the life he had the last seven and a half years after being adopted from Babylon Shelter. He experienced “Weim Time” to the max.

In June 2010, Mac (then known as “Casper”) was turned into the shelter, along with a Pit, by a man who could no longer afford to feed his dogs. Although he appeared 20 pounds underweight and hungry, Mac was loving. His papers showed he’d been purchased at a pet store as a puppy born April 17, 2003.

Right before Fourth of July that year I featured “Casper” wearing a red, white and blue boa alongside a kitten in an Uncle Sam hat as the “Pets” column poster dog. Next I called a Weimaraner rescue covering NY and NJ that had helped a Babylon Shelter Weim several years before, but they were overwhelmed with dogs at the time.

Mac (then “Casper”) as the “Pets” shelter poster dog for Fourth of July in 2010 Mac (then “Casper”) as the “Pets” shelter poster dog for Fourth of July in 2010 We also had a phone number for an “unofficial” Long Island Weimaraner rescue contact. Turns out Barbara didn’t work with a rescue group. Instead, she would adopt shelter Weims to be her pets. When she came to meet Casper, she brought Mandy, a Weimaraner adopted from Brookhaven Shelter. She took Casper home, and renamed him Mac. Within the first week, he jumped over the high fence surrounding her huge wooded yard. While she was out searching in panic, she ran into a driver who had picked him up. Mac never escaped again. He got along well with Mandy and later with Maggie, a younger Weim who would join the family two years later.

The first weeks were the beginning of pup paradise for this once starved dog. Barbara is a retired teacher so her dogs have her undivided attention. “Mac has gained five pounds in the two weeks that I have him. He now weighs 57 pounds. My goal is 70. He eats breakfast, lunch and dinner. I cook two of the meals for both my dogs. He eats premium natural dog food. Mac now runs off leash with Mandy in the woods at Blydenburgh and Caleb Park in Smithtown. We are out for two hours. He also swims. There are many places here that we will go after the summer like the beaches where there also are pine forests. I travel to different places for a change and go with a friend with a German Shorthaired Pointer. Mac is a love. A great dog who deserves the best to make up for his previous life,” Barbara wrote in an email on July 26, 2010, two weeks after taking him home.

Mac (in the back), Mandy and Maggie having a Meet n’ Greet at Last Hope in 2012 Mac (in the back), Mandy and Maggie having a Meet n’ Greet at Last Hope in 2012 However, within that first month, her vet also discovered a lump in Mac’s throat which turned out to be thyroid cancer. He did well after surgery, and continued his romps through Suffolk parks every day, rain or shine. Thyroid cancer was the first of several health crises. Over the years Mac also had three root canals and high blood pressure. Last year he lost an eye due to high blood pressure and almost lost sight in the other eye to a sudden infection.

Mac and Maggie swimming at a Smithtown park Mac and Maggie swimming at a Smithtown park Each time Mac bounced back and resumed his daily jaunts in the woods. When you consider his original owner couldn’t afford dog food, whereas Barbara saw him through each medical emergency with the best veterinary and home care, you realize being surrendered to the shelter saved his life more than once. Mac’s surrender and subsequent adoption at age seven more than doubled his actual lifespan. As the years went on, he would double back to Barbara to walk slowly beside her, if he felt she couldn’t keep up with the pack.

In 2012, an eight-month-old female Weimaraner puppy was surrendered to Hempstead Shelter because her owner in the armed forces was about to be deployed. She was quite tiny when compared to other pups of her breed at eight months. We brought her next door to Last Hope, and I called Barbara. Mandy and Mac came for a fun-filled Meet n’ Greet which resulted in adding a baby sister named “Maggie” to their Weim family from

Brookhaven, Babylon and now

Hempstead shelters.

The grey ghost trio assigned themselves seats in Barbara’s Jeep for their daily tours of the parks. Maggie filled out quickly with Barbara’s home cooking. She was no longer a pygmy Weim. She became Mac’s partner in crime as he showed her where to swim and sniff plus how to dig in the dirt for moles and in the sand for mussels. Mandy was content to do her own thing nearby.

On the way home Barbara often made a quick stop at the McDonalds’ window for a cheeseburger appetizer before their real lunch. These energetic dogs burned tons of calories. For the rest of the day they had the choice of snoozing indoors or venturing into their spacious yard through the doggie door.

Weimaraners are Sporting dogs with lots of stamina even as they age. They are genetically hard-wired to run and hunt. Most Sporting dogs are not content to be couch potatoes or cooped up in the house all day. Barbara has shared her life with nine rescued Weimaraners, often two at time, sometimes three. She understands and appreciates the attributes of her chosen breed, and sees that each of her dogs lives the life they were meant to live. She embodies the essence of purebred rescue.

Mac celebrated his 14th birthday in April. Last Monday, Mac thoroughly enjoyed his run at Caleb Smith Park and was sitting erect in the passenger seat next to his mom the way he always does. As she headed for McDonald’s, she realized he’d collapsed and was dying. She rushed to her vet in Farmingville where the doctor tried to revive him. This was not meant to be. It was Mac’s moment to go to the Rainbow Bridge. More than likely, he’ll sniff out plenty of moles, mussels and McDonald’s there. Run In Peace, Dear Boy.

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