Watching birds is a hobby for the person who enjoys sunrises on the rosy side of the mountains. I am not an early riser, but Mackey was very tuned into the light of morning and was not afraid to nudge me awake at “Oh-God-Thirty.” This usually opened up a growl from my throat that made him retreat to his crate or the foot of the bed – but not for long. Within a few short minutes, he tried it again with various tricks. First he waited for some irregular breathing pattern like a heavy sigh or an eyelid twitch. He knew. If I tried to bury my face under the covers, he pushed his nose into an airhole like a mole excavating a tunnel and if his nose met mine, his tongue probed around like a heat-seeking missile. That warm, moist licker got me most of the time, but his other trick worked too. He found early morning a prime time to groom himself; I suppose the equivalent of our morning shower rituals. A little scratching behind the ear, cleaning between the toes, checking private parts, biting the hind leg-all of those served to shake the bed and annoy me enough to think about arising. After succeeding in getting me upright and out the door, we went in search of birds. When I put the binoculars up to my eyes and looked at a great blue heron, Mackey would sit patiently until we continued on our path. We will miss his companionship and love in all of our activities.
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