Blog Master G

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In Memory of Happy Dingo

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 · 10 Comments

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.

Tags: dogs

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jack A. // Mar 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Jen & Gabe, so sorry to hear of Happy’s passing… he truly was a GREAT dog and I will treasure my lap times with him! I think you were right on about how he may have hidden his illness up until the end. His name says it all and he will be greatly missed. Again, so sorry… I so hate this part about having pets and dread the day that Jasper will need to move on. Hugs to you both… Jack

  • 2 Heather // Mar 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Gabe, I’m so sorry to hear this. I know Happy had a wonderful life with you Jen, Stella & Grace. Hugs to you and Jen. So sorry that the loss was sudden and so soon after your MIL’s pup too: (
    Take care,

  • 3 Blog Master G // Mar 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Jack and Heather. It’s been rough. All the support makes it a little bit easier.

  • 4 Karen & Bill // Mar 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    That was SUCH a touching & sweet tribute to Happy, Gabe. I have tears in my eyes for the love you all felt for this sweet, silly doggy. Happy had such a great personality & I’m so sorry this loss was so sudden & unexpected. Even though it’s shock & so fast, at least he didn’t suffer & you didn’t have to watch him suffer. I remember when you adopted him, too. Thank you for sharing the story of Happy & all of the cute pictures. Big hugs to all of you. xoxox

  • 5 H&N // Mar 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Long live Happy’s happy spirit. He can hang out with Walter at the Rainbow Bridge. XOXO

  • 6 Andrew Elder // Mar 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I’m so glad I got to get in some head pats not so long ago. He was a bright light of a pup, I know you all will miss him terribly. But a good dog leaves pawprints on your life that give you a path to run forever. So long HAPPY D!

  • 7 Niki // Mar 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Happy was the best dog. You know how much I loved him!! I am so sad and so sorry to hear this news…

  • 8 suzanne // Mar 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I remember the day Happy came home–the posts on your blog and the pictures. He bonded instantly with Stella and his energetic presence.

    I loved happy ecause he sat with his paws crossed just like my Border Collie Sally.

    Its always so heart breaking to lose a beloved furry friend. They are with us for such a short time, but bring us so much joy.

    I am so glad that Grace got to meet Happy and throw him some cheese. He was so patient when she petted/grabbed his fur.

    Stella must be wondering what happened to her friend.

    Oh, how I know you feel right now. Hugs to you during this sad time.

  • 9 Blog Master G // Mar 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Thank you, everyone, for all the kind words! Really appreciate it and enjoyed getting your comments during this difficult week.

  • 10 Jona // Mar 16, 2012 at 9:07 am

    oh Gabe, that was so sweet and just made me cry at my desk. My first dog passed very suddenly a few years go and I can agree, I think it’s because they don’t want you to worry. I never met Happy but he did look like quite the dog of many traits– your family was so lucky to find him!