Madeleine Graves
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Zack

My Hero

Zachary is an 8 year old Yorkie-Poo. He also happens to be my best friend. He came to me when I was in the 8th grade when all of my older siblings were leaving for college. In my opinion, he couldn't have arrived at a better time. For me, middle school was not only a time of awkward bodily changes, it was also a time full of pain. Nobody truly wanted to be my friend. I also got cyber-bullied a lot. A 13-14 year old girl with body image/confidence issues already knows her flaws, she doesn't need anyone else to point them out for her. I was beginning to slip into a depression. My only friends, my siblings, were all gone or in the process of leaving... This left me with my parents. Mom? Dad? I love you, but at that age, it was UNTHINKABLE to publicly be friends with your parents. Now that I'm much older, I do consider my mom to be my human best friend. She's pretty great. Alright, back to the loser years. Zack came to me on a crisp, fall afternoon. My mother was in front of my school to pick me up as was custom. This time, however, my father, who happens to be the school superintendent (that helps with my friend problem... not.), escorted me to her car. I didn't mind, usually he gives me money for a pop! This time was different. When I got to the car, I see this little black fur ball looking up at me from the front seat. He was jumping and whimpering and licking the window. My heart soared. I loved him already. 

Here's a video if you're curious to see the whole ordeal.

Things were perfect. I had Zack to cuddle me and guard me through the rest of middle school and all 4 years of high school. As college fast approached... my heart began to sink lower and lower with the thought of having to go to a new town, 2 hours away, without my best friend. I could tell that Zack knew what was going on. He would nose around my boxes and cry. The night before I left for school, Zack and I would spend the majority of our time cuddling and watching Disney movies while I fed him our favorite snack, goldfish crackers. When morning came, my little fur baby nosed under the covers and cuddled right up in my arms.

The Morning of the Move

I must have cried a lot while lying there with him. 

I moved. 

I actually adjusted pretty well. 

Zack didn't. 

Once we got into September of my first year at college, Zack lost a lot of weight and stopped eating and drinking completely. He was also in a lot of pain as he would constantly whine all through the night. My dad slept with him on the kitchen floor a couple of nights. It got so bad that my parents had to put water in their hands and bring it to him so he would lick a couple of drops off of their fingers. Of course, they took him to the vet.

Zack was diagnosed with Addison's disease. 

Addison's disease: A disorder in which the adrenal glands don't produce enough hormones.

It's actually incredibly rare. Anyway, he most likely had this for the majority of his life, but never had a stressful enough event occur to actually push him over the edge. When I moved, he got too stressed and depressed that his health really declined. He had gotten so thin. I was so sad that I couldn't be with him. Based on how bad he had gotten, he probably wasn't going to make it. 

But then he did. He got better. He needs a lot of medicine to keep his body going, but he's alive. After that incident, I came home the next available weekend and fed him yogurt off of my fingers and softened dog food. His teeth are really bad anyway, so he prefers softer food. He's lost a couple of teeth. He's a bit of a hick these days. 

Hick.

These days, Zack is still going strong. I still visit him often and FaceTime with him so he knows that I haven't forgotten him. He's my precious pooch and I love him dearly as does the rest of my family. He's really something special.