Zack, was the most important person, in the loosest possible terms, in my life the fist several months after the test results. Zack was one of the greatest dogs ever. He was a Rottweiler and that seems to run in the bread. He was intuitive, playful, sedate, pushy, accommodating and most important always happy to see me.
One winter when a major snow storm shut down Washington DC we went down to the Mall, pristine and empty, and played in the snow banks until exhausted. My favorite game was to throw snow balls for him. Some he caught and fell apart in his mouth. But the several he missed ended up back in the snow banks. Zack would dig and dig trying to find the ball which had since returned from whence it came.
This was an incredibly black time for me. If you carried the virus your were carrying the plague. People were afraid to touch you, much less kiss or hold you. People lost friends and family would shut them out. Fear was the word for a generation. No one survived it. It was painful mentally and physically. I had watched it first hand at that point with friends and co-workers. People would go to the doctors with a cold and a week later be dead with a lung full of fluid. Zack was my only confidant.
I couldn’t tell friends, My family was out of the question. So it festered. Having to walk Zack got me out of bed and into the daylight. Feeding and caring for him required that I not harm myself, So I spent my time at home curled up with Zack. He gave me a reason.
Later, while Zack accompanied me through the stress of law school and dating Steven. One of my favorite recollections about Zack was a night or card playing. I reached behind me to grab my glass of Bailys. Not finding it and another buddy unable to find his I went looking for the glasses I must have left in the kitchen when I went to refill and grab munchies. There was Zack, one glass empty and the other glass soon to join it. Apparently he was picking up the glasses and bringing them to the kitchen as not to be caught. He had a sweet tooth.
He was 14 when he finally crossed the rainbow bridge so you will hear more about him, I promise.