SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- He's a loyal traveling companion and loving family pet. Now, Zak is getting lots of TLC after his long journey back home from Nebraska to Poway, a suburb of San Diego. He got stuck in Omaha after his owner, a big rig trucker, died in a crash.
The coroner says Bob Shields suffered a massive heart attack and was probably dead even before his big-rig slammed into the side of the bridge in Omaha, Neb., but the Poway truck driver's trusty sidekick survived the accident.
Wednesday night at Lindbergh Field Zak returned to his family.
"It's all I got left of my husband. It was his best friend and last one to see him alive, so I can see my husband through him," Terry Shields said.
Terry says Zak spent his first night sleeping on her bed snoring in her ear, just like old times. But Zak's return is definitely bittersweet.
"My daughter didn't understand last night. She saw Zak and started crying. She realized grandpa wasn't coming home with him. She cried all the way home," Bob's stepdaughter Jamie Pickett said.
It's hard to explain just how much Zak meant to Bob, not only keeping him company on long trips, but also protecting his cab when he was away from the truck. So after the crash, finding Zak was definitely a priority. Terry jokes that if she didn't get Zak home, Bob would haunt her for the rest of her life.
"He got along with animals better than he got along with people," Terry said.
Jamie tracked Zak down through the internet. Donations got him home and a microchip to make sure he never gets lost again. Zak's family describes him as funny, goofy - a lot like Bob.
"He could make you laugh at any moment - at a funeral he'd make you laugh,"
Bob knew how to bring a smile to your face during tough times - exactly what Zak is doing now.
Terry will be flying to Omaha soon to bring Bob's remains and belongings back to San Diego.