My very best friend

by Mike Starling
(Fishing Creek, MD)

The day he licked cancer and came home for a month

The day he licked cancer and came home for a month

Today I let go of my very best friend, Zak. He found me after the hurricane and insinuated himself into my life. He had been loose on the Island for 9 months and was getting underfoot at the crab factory.

Zak was a fetcher, through and through. He found me the same way he found everybody else, with a stick in his mouth that he'd drop at your feet and stare alternately at it and you, and wag his tail until you relented and threw it for him.

With an instantaneous burst of speed he'd bring it back in a flash and implore you time and time again, to never, ever stop. He was old, maybe 8 or ten, with white showing around his muzzle, but every bit a puppy, despite his scruffy, bristle brush hair from 9 months on the lam, living under houses and in vacant buildings that the hurricane left askew.

I was on my only three week vacation, and by the third week, he had stayed with me many days straight on the big porch we have facing the bay. One night before going in, I wondered "what would he do if I got down on the floor?" So I laid down on the floor next to my chair, and he got up from where he was, came over and laid down beside me, and snuggled his body into my side. I've never known unconditional love and joy and affection like I knew with Zak. In that moment, much to my wife's shock, he became our dog. She came to love him every bit as much as I.

People aren't that pure -- perfect spirits, unencumbered by the temporal awareness of anything other than here and now.

I will be in pain for a long time, but I hope there is an afterlife where we will meet again in a nice field, with a breeze and sunshine, and he'll show me how fast he is, how high he can jump in the air for the ball, and push his head into me wagging his tail and snorting through his nose, saying "I love you, Master" all over again.

Comments for My very best friend

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We Understand
by: Bob & Mary

So sorry.

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

I was stunned to read Buster's note to you. I always loved that dog beyond my words and now he is is sending you a message from heaven and it does it my heart good to think he and Zak have made friends. Wow! What can I say?

We understand your loss, your grief and you are in our hearts.

Bob and Mary

Hey, Thanks for sending Zak up here with me
by: Buster

Hey Guys,

The joy was all Zak's - he told me so. He sure tells some good stories about you - you must be pretty good guys.

He loved you guys and misses you too but he is in a good place now too. Lots of fields to run and sticks to fetch and some pretty good times up here. He and I are making friends.

Tell my old family, especially old Bob, I said hello, would you?

Anyway, Zak asked me to tell you he misses you (new angel dogs take some time learning the ropes up here) but hopes to see you again some day. Plenty of time up here so don't hurry, we'll be waiting whenever it's your turn to join us.

Your old Bob's pal "Buster."

P.S. Glad to see that little guy, Tucker running around my old yard - would you tell anything that what was mine and is still around is his to enjoy now? Zak says "woof."

Best Friend
by: Mary Lynn

Dear Mike,

I am so sorry for your loss. I know how sad you must feel. Definitely, to lose your dog is to lose your best and very dear friend. That was a wonderful tribute you wrote. I love how you found each other. Send my regards to Linda.

Mary Lynn

We feel your pain!
by: Zak

Dear Mike & Linda,

We were going through the same pain that you are enduring now, last July 14th, when we lost Molly.

I kept a journal after Molly died. I wrote my memories of all of her qualities, tricks, silly habits, Molly carrying down the newspaper and the mail from the end of the driveway, the way she would freak out when she saw a flashlight go on, the way she was constantly my shadow, how she danced for a biscuit, and dozens of things that I never wanted to forget. Most of the time the pages were sprinkled with tears.

The hundreds of times a day that you are reminded of Zak and miss his presence now, should be recorded while still vivid. The excruciating pain you feel now will fade as the months go by, but your love for him will never fade.

Our Love and Sympathy,

Donna & John

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