Annie had asked for a dog as long as any of us can remember. In her begging she included the typical promise that she would take care of him and made flip charts of all the reasons we should get a puppy. Finally on Christmas Eve 2000 her wish was granted. We got our sweet Nikki as a Christmas present and named him accordingly. He was dubbed Nicholas in honor of St. Nick, we've always just called him Nikki despite the feminine sound.
Nikki became our cuddle buddy, our protector and our playmate. He would run a "racetrack" around our house to get all his excess energy out, he once peed on a bullies backpack for Annie, and would crawl all over us until he found the perfect cuddle spot. Of course he had his moments of having accidents in the house, of eating our food and jumping all over our guests. But we loved him.
He was my Mom's shadow, my dad's best friend, Annie's playmate and my cuddler. Whenever I go home I always make a point to make sure to leave my door open a crack so he could nudge his way in so we could spend the morning in bed together.
I snuck home last weekend to try and make some life decisions (still pending) and Nikki deteriorated very quickly in the week I was home. He was limping, confused, slow, losing weight, and just not acting like our energetic dog that we had loved so much. It was clear that he was hurting and it was just breaking my heart to see our snuggly fun pup looking at me with such sad eyes. My mom and I took him to the vet and tearfully made the decision to let him rest.
It seems silly to be so sad about a dog but when it is YOUR dog, it just breaks your heart to lose that part of your family. So while we've all cried and been very sad about it, we just made the decision to take care of our puppy just as we always have.
Nikki was my healer. He snuggled with me endlessly while mending my hurting heart, licked my toes as a reminder that he loved me and was always so thrilled to see me walk through the door. There's nothing like that love and sweet Nikki will always have a place in my heart. He was a good dog, as we often would remind him.