Ten-year-old Marik, who lives in Ledyard, CT, was a happy and active little boy. Although born with bilateral severe hearing impairment and struggling with speech, Marik lived life to the fullest. In July 2012, before being diagnosed with cancer was a typical, rambunctious boy, he was playing with his little sister at a local pool when he appeared to have injured his leg. What he and his family thought was only a pulled muscle. As his mother said” A few days later he seemed fine, but the pain returned and he was taken to the doctor to find out the ugly truth. The Tucker family was looking for a shelter dog and spotted Zero on an animal adoption website.
For eight years, Zero’s life was without love or hope. The German shepherd, along with 40 other animals, had been severely neglected by their former owner, was rescued by personnel at the Oxford Animal Shelter and put up for adoption. He was covered with fleas and ticks, his teeth were very poor as well because all he ever had to chew on were rocks. He was attached to his dog house at least for 7 years they thought.”
Since Marik goes for treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital, it wasn’t too far for his parents to travel to Oxford earlier this month to check out the dog, said Kelli Tucker, Marik’s mother. “We wanted to see him first and we just fell in love with him and knew Marik would, too,” she said. They brought Marik to the animal shelter two days later. “When we saw the look on his face, we just knew he had to have this dog,” she said. “They bonded from the start.” The two also share something in common. Zero is deaf and Marik is severely hearing impaired, Tucker said. Some days, she said, her son doesn’t want to get up and do anything. “But if I say `put on your leg and go outside with Zero’ — he’s up and out,” she added. “Zero is not only my son’s pal, but he’s a great motivator,” she said. “He loves being with the family and wants to sit by you all the time,” she added. “He’s an absolute sweetie. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog.”