RIP, Happy Dingo McGee, circa September 1, 2001 – March 13, 2012
Adopted September 14, 2002
photo by Niki Rossi
Happy Dingo McGee was the most loving and loyal dog I’ve ever known. He lived every day with passion and enthusiasm. He always wanted to please his people, and his favorite things in life were Jen and me, his fur sister Stella, his vittles, and his zoomies — sprinting laps around the backyard from one fence to the other, bouncing off the fence as he propelled on to the next lap:
Working from home like I do, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of good years with Happy Dingo by my side, day and night.
I first met Happy — then named Split because of his escape-artist tendencies — in 2002 at the Marin Humane Society, which I visited on my lunch break from work one day. When I saw him in his cage, I knew he was the dog for us. And he was a popular little guy because we ended up being third on the waiting list. We got the call that our name had come up, so we took Stella to meet him, and it was love at first sight. Stella and Happy ran and frolicked around the pen at the Humane Society, and we knew he was coming home with us.
Happy wanted nothing more than affection, and we dubbed him the Ambassador to Humans. He was always the first to greet our friends and family, and would park himself next to whomever was willing to shower him with love. Sometimes he’d even sneak his way into an unsuspecting visitor’s lap on the couch, to snuggle up as close as possible.
With his border collie roots, Happy always wanted to herd Stella, chasing her around the house and the yard for years. As Stella’s aged and slowed down, she even tolerated his running around her in circles and nipping at her as she laid cooperatively on the living room floor.
A native Californian, Happy didn’t like to be cold, and at night on his dog bed in our room, he’d park himself right up against the radiator for extra warmth.
Happy loved to lick up empty yogurt containers, and in the past 11 months, became best buds with Grace, learning that the ideal place to park himself was directly beneath her high chair so that she could take a bite of food for herself, then throw the next one to him. She thought it was really funny, and one of her first words was "Happy."
There were few things in life Happy didn’t like — feet, possibly because he’d been abused as a young pup before we rescued him — and being wet. After a bath, he’d take drying himself off into his own hands (and paws):
In recent years I’d bring Happy running with me, and he always did his best to keep up, even when he’d eaten too many cookies the night before. Only a few months ago when he started to develop hip pain did I stop bringing him running with me. That little guy was born to run, so maybe my running passion was subconsciously influenced by Happy Dingo.
Just a few weeks ago he woke me up in the middle of the night when the smoke detector in the basement was beeping (dead batteries), so we dubbed him Fire Marshal Dingo. He was very proud of himself.
In 2003 when we drove cross-country from San Francisco to Saratoga Springs, Happy and Stella rode in the way back of the Subaru. By the end of the journey, Happy had gotten fed up with being way back there, so he climbed into the tiny space between the luggage and the roof of the car. He was one determined little guy, and was full of tenacity. If he wanted something, he was going to get it. He was quite the little escape artist.
His passing was very sudden and still hasn’t sunk in. Everything was fine up until this past Sunday, when he stopped eating, and just last night he started having a hard time breathing. After taking X-rays and doing blood work, the vet said this morning that he had a mass in his right lung (possibly Cancer), and there was a lot of fluid in his lung; the prognosis wasn’t good. Putting him to rest was the only humane thing to do, but I still don’t understand what happened and why it all happened so suddenly. He was such a little fighter, it makes me wonder if he’d been sick for a while, but just hid it from us because he didn’t want us to worry.
In pain or not, he always loved to sunbathe – even in the smallest patch of sun –and to cross his legs:
I love you, Little Buddy, and thank you for 10 great years. We’ll never forget you and the joy you brought us every day.