Kate and I have sad news to share. After 10 glorious summers at Weequahic, Camp Dog Mac has passed on. Unfortunately, the last trip to the vet revealed multiple, inoperable tumors. After a last few good days with us at home, we put Mac to rest this afternoon.
Camp was easily Mac’s happiest place. He’d start each summer excitedly sniffing the air as we pulled onto Woods Road following the 13-hour trek from Georgia. He’d bark and howl and run all over camp. All of the animals who had called Weequahic home for the previous few months took notice – the “alpha” was back.
Once the kids arrived, Mac spent each morning waiting patiently at the flagpole for the day to start. As soon as we dismissed, he headed straight for his favorite spot: the fishing dock. He loved to challenge the campers to see who’d get the fish off the hook first. Sadly for the fish, Mac won a few of those contests.
He was a big fan of the UPS driver who delivered treats along with the boxes and an even bigger fan of Chef Daniel and his crew, especially when they forgot to put the trash up into the ‘Mac-proof’ bins. His true love was the attention the campers provided in buckets.
A few prospective families refused to come to a camp with dog allowed to roam. With a smile on my face, I’d always reply that I understood and that, considering Mac was way more popular than me, he’d be staying just as he was: free and trusted. Why didn’t he ever leave camp? There was too much love and too much to do.
When not traipsing around camp, Mac would be found in Kate’s office or my own. He was the first to give a tail-wagging greeting to any camper or staff who walked in, instantly putting everyone at ease. Many a free play, he was found in the company of a home-sick camper, barking at the video drone, or, more recently, gallivanting around with the Nugent’s dog, Gus. At flag lowering, he was ready to ‘help’ any camper who miss-judged their birthday cupcake catch.
At Lights Out, Mac would follow Kate through the younger girls’ bunks saying goodnight. What could be better than a high-five from Camp Director Kate followed by a sniff and nuzzle from Mac?
While he started camp with a huge grin, he ended it each summer by hiding from us, refusing to leave. Just like our campers, he spent the first few days back home moping, mourning the loss of the connection and community of Weequahic. He truly loved being at camp.
We’ll be sad to miss our four-legged friend. He’s been a big part of our family for a long time. Rather than mourn too long, we’ll do our best to move to the ‘celebration’ phase of remembrance. We’ve so many memories to rejoice over and will remain ever grateful for his time with us.
God speed, Augustus McCrae Kelly. You were a damn good dog.