"The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of."
--Macbeth, Act II, scene i
Our dear fox-red Labrador Macbeth passed away on Monday after some lingering health problems. He will be deeply missed.
Unlike the gloomy Thane of Cawdor, Mac was full of Falstaffian appetites and good humor. He was a dog with a loud voice who genuinely enjoyed hearing himself bark, was a strong swimmer, and was covered in muscle but as gentle as a lamb. Even when he was just a hamster-sized pup, he was always hungry and anxious to climb behind the couch, under the TV cabinet, or work himself into any inconvenient spot he could find, grunting along the way. He was quick to make friends with strange people and dogs, and as long as you didn't mind some slobber, everyone adored him.
The Roommate brought him home in 1999, after the two Labs owned by her parents had a romantic liaison and whelped a litter of a dozen pups. They were in all shades from white to black, but Mac was the only fox red out of the group. The Roommate had also been the driving force behind the rescue of Wolfgang a year earlier, as well as Mac's mother Goldie being adopted by my parents. In turn, such exposure encouraged my brother and my friend Paul to get dogs after years of living without pets. We all thank her for bringing so many special animals into our lives.
Mac had such a broad personality that he acquired a ton of nicknames over the years. It started with Haystack and El Fuego and Dozer, and developed into Maccy Dog and Mr. Jowls and a host of others that are slightly embarrassing to list here. Like a character in a Dostoyevsky novel, one name was not enough for him.
Over the years I used him for a few shots of wine bottles, in part because he was so photogenic but in part because he'd schnorfle around the table looking for dropped morsels of food or stray ice cubes. Guests at the house got used to that massive head poking up from under an arm or between the legs. And when it was clear that no treats were going to be handed out from the table, he'd groan and flop over on the floor, covering a substantial part of the linoleum.
He was a handsome lad, and remains in our hearts and thoughts forever. Until we meet again, you're a good boy, Mac.