Drill Sergeant Mack

It used to be that we would bring Mack along when we went up north when we wanted to relax, because compared to Peterbilt’s meth-head energy level, Mack was the “easy dog”. Sadly those days are behind us.

Years ago, in 2010, Mack ballooned to a weight of 101 lbs. Outweighing him by a mere 2 lbs at the time, I would drag him on walks



and use every muscle I had to roll him off of the couch in the mornings.

"Don't look at me!!!"

“Don’t look at me!!!”

Despite those issues, his lack of energy was a welcome break from Peterbilt, who was at the time, much like caring for a toddler who drank a 6-pack of Mountain Dew. While Pete couldn’t let 5 minutes go by without my 100% attention being lavished upon him, I could lay out in the sun in the backyard without so much as a whine from Mack, who’d usually find a nearby spot in the shade. Hubs and I could watch a movie from start to finish without interruption with Mack. Weekends at the cabin would consist of us lounging around, Mack napping nearby.

We worked on Mack’s weight over the years and he gradually got down to a slim 73 lbs. Which sounds great and all but the problem is that now he has all of this energy.

The jury is still out on which reason is the main cause. Either is the lost weight has put less pressure on his joints, causing him less pain or he’s perpetually hungry which fuels his motivation to follow me around 24/7. It could be a combination of both. The cause is really pointless and he’s turned into a TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS.

This weekend, we made the 3 hour trek north to our cabin in Longville, Minnesota. We drove up Saturday during the day and made a few stops along the way. We arrived around dinner time, so we took Mack’s instant hysteria as hunger-induced and fed him. Nothing unusual there.

8 PM came and Justin and I were doing our usual lounge, feet slung over the sides of arm chairs and recliners, hopelessly addicted to our smart phones and iPads. Mack, on the other hand, was ready for bed! He started to whine, his ears hanging low in tired desperation. Looking directly at me and ignoring Justin’s commands to shut up, he pleaded with me to shut off all of the lights and go into the bedroom with him. At 8PM.

He’s pulled this stunt before with us during late nights and on New Year’s Eve, because this dog does not do well going to sleep late. But we just finished dinner and were enjoying a glass or 5 of wine. Our cabin is NOT an old folks home. We do not have dinner at 4:30, we do not sit around and watch Wheel of Fortune and we definitely, do not go to bed at 8 PM!!!!

We ignored him, went back to lounging and Mack eventually conceded and shuffled off to bed.

Then my cousin called me and we chatted on the phone. Mack shuffled out of the bedroom to once again, to park his ass directly in front of me and give me the biggest stink eye, ever. Ears low, head low, just leering. Hubs, who never interrupts me on the phone, even had to say, “Will, you look at him?!?!”. Mack was pissed. “Get your asses to bed!!!!”, said Daddy Mack. (Or is is Mack Daddy?)

I finished my conversation and gave in to Mack’s demands. Bedtime at 9:30? Sure, why not. “You win, Mack.” Mack, who you would have thought would have been delighted, was still ornery.

I could not have slept any harder. I love sleeping at our cabin. It was the best sleep ever…….

……until 5:30 when Mack decided it was time for breakfast.

That’s when the whining started. Then I felt him sniffing my face, hoping to see my open eyes. Then he tried Hubs. He shuffled off into the front room, then back into our bedroom again. Then he whined some more. Hubs, being the good hubs he is, took one for the team and fed and pottied Mack. Hubs plopped back into bed, which I felt because we were sleeping on one of those god awful Sleep Number beds. When your partner plops, you’re practically ejected off of the bed. We both felt the noise was over and drifted off back to sleep.

Then 7:30 came. Mack started to whine again. I yelled at him to knock if off already.

8:00 – Whining started again. Then silence. Drifting off again..

8:25 – Whining again. This time I took one for the team and got out of bed. Mack, elated at my rise, danced around and ran into the front room. He stood there. I walked over the front door to see if he had to go out, nothing. I walked over to the food dish – still nothing. What did this dog want? His nub was wagging frantically. I finally said ‘fuck it’ and gave him another scoop of food and went back to bed.

8:45 – Whining. Christ Almighty.

9:00 – Whining. Oh Lordy……..

9:15 – Whining turned barking. Fine, I’m getting up.

I started a pot of coffee and Mack grabbed his favorite purple ball and ran towards me playfully. Oh duh. This dog had been trying to get us up for the last 4 hours to play. A 12, almost 13 year old dog, acting like a puppy.  I would have been more happy if I wasn’t more tired.

Of course, an hour later over breakfast, Mack fell asleep. He even gave us lip for talking to loud while he was trying to sleep. Mack tells you when to sleep, when to get up and when to shut the fuck up. What a drill sergeant.

So, it appears our days of relaxing without having to be a dog parent have come to a bittersweet end. I’m happy that Mackie is so healthy, so late in his life but damn dog…..can you maybe put back on a couple pounds and give me a break?

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