April 07, 2006

Goodbye Dear Friend

    In Memory Of




Sorrowfully we have lost a member of our family. It has been a trying last couple of months and the loss could not have come at a worse time. I am deeply saddened from the recent events. Knowing it was coming doesn't soften the blow. I want to share some thoughts with you (the reader) regarding Zakk and what he meant to our family.

Ayden has experienced his first loss and it has been pretty confusing to him. My wife and I really didn't know how to break the news and it probably has made it that much more difficult on him. Ayden never referred to Zakk as his dog. He was often referred to as "Zakky". Since Zakk has left us, Ayden wants to know where "his dog" is. It makes it that much more difficult.

I decided to get Zakk at a real low point in my life. I was living with my Mother and had just started dating my wife. It should have been a happy time, but it actually was a tough time of trying to deal with adult-hood and the direction my life was heading in. Zakk would bring more purpose and responsibility to my life. I had always wanted a dog that I could truly call my own and I had always wanted a boxer. I have always felt that they are beautiful dogs and that their looks seem to express "I could tear your head off if you turn your back" attitude, but trust me, it's all bark no bite. They are known to be loyal, intelligent, and very friendly dogs that love playing and seem to have a real zest for children.

I can still clearly remember the night I went to pick up Zakk. I was so excited. My wife decided to take the trip with me. I had called the owner ( that I had found via a newspaper ad) letting him know I was coming and the estimated time of arrival. When we arrived at the house, it was kind of a run down little house in a rough neighborhood in a small town. I was somewhat nervous about knocking on the door after surveying the house. I thought maybe it was a mistake to get out of the car with the cash. Maybe I would be beat down for the cash knowing that the owner requested cash only as payment. I told my wife to wait in the car even though my gut was telling me to turn the car around and head back home. I knocked at the door and a pretty big guy answered the door very fast as if he was waiting at the door. In his arms he held Zakk. It was instant gratification. Here was this very skinny puppy who looked like he had been starved for days. It didn't matter to me, I was hooked. I asked if I could see the other dogs. The ad had mentioned that there was a litter of six pups. The guy said that Zakk was the only one left and that he was the runt of the litter. I asked to see his mother. The guy yelled out and the mother came running to the door. She was a beautiful dog. She was somewhat overweight, but had a grace and very kind demeanor about her. I knew that this guy was just somewhat down on his luck and that he did take care of his dogs. I was embarrassed that I judged him so harshly. I told him I wanted Zakk. There was never really a second thought about it. Even though he was skinny and looked somewhat unhealthy, he was going to be mine. My Mother expressed her concern about Zakk the second she seen him. She was afraid that the guy had ripped me off and Zakk was doomed to die. After a couple of days of being in Zakk's company she was quickly to regret those first impressions. I still give her grief about it to this day. I knew she meant the best for me and was just trying to protect me, but it'’s still fun to remind her just how wrong she turned out to be.

Zakk was no ordinary boxer or dog for that matter. He had qualities far beyond those of other boxers or any other dog. He was a very intelligent dog that seemed to have feelings and emotions similar to those of a human. No matter what, if possible, he was always at my side. I have memories of many late nights working on the computer while Zakk laid in the floor beside my chair, giving his signature sigh, as if to say " It'’s late, let'’s go to bed already!" Regardless of the situation he would never leave my side.

Zakk would always meet me at the door and was always happy to see me. He seemed to share whatever emotion I might be feeling at any given time. If I was sad or depressed, he seemed to be right there with me sharing in my pain. If I was feeling elated he was right there wagging his tail sharing in my happiness. He never liked it when I raised my voice from being angry. Zakk seemed to always help keep me in check if he was around and I got upset or angry. He seemed to feel any inflection in my voice and always seemed to be able to tap into whatever emotion I was feeling. Similar to children everyone likes to think that their dog or cat is special and gifted. I honestly believe that Zakk was a true one of a kind.

At the time that I first brought Zakk home, I was very busy working a full time job and trying to deal with the new relationship that was forming with the lady that would become my wife. My Mother seemed to take to Zakk as a new son in the house. She felt that special bond with him that I shared. She spent lots of time in helping me train Zakk while I was away. He was really a breeze to train compared to most dogs. He always seemed like an adult dog in the way he took to any new task. Of course we struggled with the puppy that loved to chew things. I remember my wife and me finding a really nice camera in a retail parking lot that someone had lost. Being very late at night and the store being deserted, we took it home very happy with our new discovery. I left it sitting within reach of Zakk and the next day I came home from work to find our newly acquired toy, torn to shreds. I always told my wife he was just reminding us we should have tried harder to find the rightful owner of the camera. Whatever the case, it became a tasty treat for the energy filled puppy! I couldnt stay mad at him. I could never stay mad at Zakk. He always seemed to have me wrapped around his paw and he could do no wrong. There are many stories regarding Zakk, but I will keep them close for now.

I will miss my friend deeply. It has been just a few days since he left us, but it feels like months. I never thought I could ever let myself get that close to an animal, but I did and I don't have any regrets for doing so. We shared in the task of taking care of each other and I feel it was to the best of both of our abilities. Zakk was only part of my life for close to 11 years, but he had an impact on me that will last a lifetime.

I love you my friend and I thank you for always being there for me and always listening to what I had to say. Always willing to protect me and always forgiving me for my shortcomings. You never held a grudge or judged me. You could never be replaced and you will never be forgotten.
Goodbye my friend...until we meet again.

1 comment:

MOM said...

A Dogs Prayer
You were a good master for when the great master seen fit to deprive me of my health and sight you did not turn me away from you. Rather you held me gently in your arms and skilled hands and granted me the merciful boon of eternal rest..and I left you knowing with the last breath I drew that my fate was ever safest in your hands.