As families across America gave thanks and celebrated their loved ones, our family learned we had to say goodbye to our beloved pet Zac.
Zac came to us a ball of fluff, easy to train, love and manage. He filled our home with love and joy–even when he’d enter the bathroom and run amok with a trail of toilet paper in his mouth. The tiny little bites from the teething were harsh and there were holes in our trousers, but we didn’t care. The cuteness and love and enthusiasm for fun made up for everything. We were never alone, his tail thumping loudly to greet us when we walked through the door.
He ran up and down the stairs, a bounding bundle of love and energy greeting the kids when they arrived from school. He saved the best welcomes for my husband who he believed was his master and soulmate.
One of the first few dogs in our growing neighborhood, he was loved by many. He enjoyed the groups of children that ran up to him and petted him while he stood and took it all in. Zac also loved yellow tennis balls! Everyone knew that if Zac was walking by, it was best to hide the yellow tennis ball. A new kid in the neighborhood might forget and let a stray ball loose and it would promptly end up in Zac’s mouth. You could yank at it, or shout, but getting him to let his yellow prize go was nearly impossible. Soon, young boys warned each other with “Zac’s coming, hide the ball.”
His favorite game was “Hide the ball,” a new take on hide and go seek. We’d hide the ball in different spots around the house while one of us held our hands over Zac’s eyes, keeping them closed. As soon as we let go with a cry of, “Ready or not, here Zac comes,” he’d set off, tail wagging, looking all over the house until he finally retrieved his squeaky ball to earn a hug and a “Good boy.”
Zac loved the water. He’d jump into a body of water with no hesitation and swim until someone forcefully dragged him out. On a trip to Pondicherry, he was fascinated by the waves.
When he was nine, Zac made the arduous journey from Bangalore to Boston. As we adjusted to life away from everything familiar to us, he provided comfort and endless amounts of love.
Soon after we moved to Boston, we’d wonder why he always dragged us through the narrow streets of Cambridge to a park that wasn’t particularly scenic. We realized that the park fertilized the grass with fish oil. Yummm from his perspective.
As I brushed his long, straight soft golden hair everyday, I’d feel my own anxiety slipping away. Over the years, the sight of a suitcase made him cry and he’d sit at the front door hoping no one left him behind. When we came home, he’d always greet us with a toy. If there was no toy nearby, he’d grab a sock, a blanket, or anything available to show us he was over the moon to see us back home.
His love of cars was much like a little boy’s. He could go on long drives and never get bored, although he might spread out like a prince while the humans adjusted to him.
Never the boisterous one to play with other dogs, he’d let them know with a light growl if someone came too close to him. But he was always polite and said ‘hello’ to most dogs.
When the world came to a standstill in the Pandemic, Zac was our therapy dog, and he was so happy that all his loved ones stayed with him. If anyone did go out, it was for Zac’s daily walks.
Mask up, stay safe!
Make way for the ducklings…and Zac!
From leaf peeping in NH, upstate New York and to New York City, Zac embraced new experiences as long as he was with his pack–our family.
He wore his jacket proudly and set off of on walks in cold weather like a true New Englander. He loved to frolic in the snow and loved the flakes.
Even though I read that 12 is his life expectancy and there is no escaping the dreaded C word, I hoped to keep him us with us longer. I knew letting him go would be the toughest thing, something I’d never have understood before I became a pet owner. Without him, I also no longer have my favorite subject for all the social media posts.
Dear Zac, thank you for the memories and for teaching us about unconditional love. As I go on to a life without Zac, I will try and remember he is not far. When I think of him, he is right here in my heart.