Remembering a Treasured Hero


Excerpted from ACA's Sept. '11 newsletter

We have had many dogs over the years in our Breed who have left an impression.  Some in the obedience, rally or agility ring, others in therapy work. 

. . . Our dream ambassador might have a long and distinguished track record as a therapy dog, working at hospitals, children's camps or prisons.  Excelled in various competitions . . . winning awards from the AKC (ACE) and OHS (Diamond Collar Hero Award).

Oh wait . . . a good therapy dog might also cross into the realm of the National Animal Assisted Crisis Response Team, traveling to console those affected by tragedies such as those at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois Universities. To do this effectively, the dog must be able to read people, knowing when to just “be there” and when to display his fun-loving, willing-to-please personality.

We've been fortunate these past years to know just such a dog, an outstanding companion we recently lost.  His name was Zadok.

This happened suddenly as I neared the end of this writing.  It was difficult to write this.  I sought the thoughts of those who knew him best.  We haven't even touched on funds Zadok helped raise for rescue and what a valuable asset he was in fighting BSL.  There is no way I could do justice to this dog's legacy in a newsletter.  I asked his human best friend for some thoughts, and while the loss hadn’t really sunk in, Julie had a few poignant things I'd like to share.

Julie said, “Even I am not sure how to summarize Zadok.  He taught me how to live life; that giving is truly better then receiving.  He shared his joy with every single person he met.  Yes he did obedience, rally and agility, but therapy was his true calling.  He always knew what each person needed from him, whether it was to offer his soft fur to cry in or be a goofy dog to roll around the floor with.  He would sniff out people he knew in the hospital even through closed doors.  He could tell when someone was about to pass, and he would spend time with them so that they didn't need so much morphine.  Then he would sit with each member of their family as if to say everything would be ok.  Having a student at Virginia Tech come up and say that the dogs made it ok to smile again was amazing.  At NIU Zadok worked his way up from ‘homeboy’ to ‘homie’ within the week.  He just always seemed to fit in wherever he was.”

Thank you, Julie Burk, for sharing this with us in a very tough time.  More importantly, thank you for sharing your boy with all of us.  Thank you for all you did with Zadok because as good as he was, it was YOU who made him special, and I'm sure he repaid that love and devotion to you every day.  You both were so lucky.

Please take some time to do what I did . . . scour the Internet to read and listen to some of Zadok's accomplishments.  You will be amazed and just maybe it will inspire you to help make your dog the best they can be.

A few of his titles...

His name started with Westar's Mighty Faithful Zadok . . .

His name ended with CDX, RE, AX, MXJ, XF and THD . . .

His call name was recognizable on its own . . . he was Zadok.

Thank you again Julie . . . keep shining Zadok.