Love at First Sight
February 2023 | Making Amends | Our Personal Stories

Love at First Sight

Through drunken chaos, early sobriety, divorce, marriage and joy, what she learned from Mac was unconditional love

I can’t help but think about the story I once wrote about her in this very magazine in May of 2014. I was praising her for how she saved me. I wrote about digging out of more bad situations than I ever want to remember, and how she quietly witnessed all of it.

My friend fiercely loved me in spite of my bad behavior. She always had my back. And just like the problems I attempted to escape by drinking would inevitably be waiting for me, so would she. With grace, my dog waited. I could count on her just as sure as the world would continue to spin. And oh yes, I did say dog. 

The first time I laid eyes on her it was a drop the mic, love at first sight moment. She was born in the bible belt, smack in the middle of a sticky blazing summer. She was dubbed Miss Mac, and it fit her. An inherited shadow for the next 16 years, smack next to me through divorce, the deaths of seven loved ones, 10 moves in as many years and frequent spells of self-imposed depression. She was my ride or die, my first and only dog. And I swear she made me a better human. 

My memories with her are both awesome and haunted. I put her through a lot. Abusing alcohol and thinking it didn’t affect her was the lie of the disease whispering to me. Forgiving myself for the selfish decisions I made is a whole other beast. She was there during my chaos and still licked my face. This is called unconditional love folks, and I think we need a lot more of that. 

But happy endings do exist. Once I got sober, I worked the program diligently and I had a new kind of strength I had never felt. AA made me proud of who I was. I was no longer the pouty victim. I greedily began collecting yearly sobriety coins at meetings and started making up for lost time.

All this prepared me for what happened next. Miss Mac and I met our perfect soulmate! And we married him. Not an easy transition, but she did say I could keep him. Eventually she would patiently wait for him to walk through the door at the end of the day, even when his routine changed, as it often did. For years she did this.

I’ve thought a lot about the insane connection Mac and I had. I guess you could say I raised a baby, toddler, teenager, adult, and geriatric in the span of time that I had her. All at the same time she was really raising me. 

The long chunk of time she and I had together makes this separation so painful. And although her passing is sometimes tempting me to drink—not a chance. I’m not about to blow it now.

Miss Mac had me sober for her last nine years, and I have a sublime picture already brewing in my mind of our next meeting: Her running through the grass, barking and licking my face, welcoming me home. And me, for sure ugly crying and laughing—definitely not with my tail between my legs. She was a wise teacher. She was with me during so many challenges. She was this girl’s best friend.


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