June 23, 2011

A Part of Me Died Today

Today I said good-bye to one of my best friends. I know some people would say, "it's just a dog," but she was such a special part of my life and that of my family.  Nikki came into our lives one May afternoon after I took my youngest daughter to the local shelter to look at the puppies. Theresa was always afraid of dogs and I thought that if she could be near ones in cages or get to touch some she might feel better about dogs.  She instantly fell in love with this skinny scrawny German Shorthair Pointer mix with long skinny shakey legs.  I liked the Labs and other dogs that were jumping around as we came near.  This poor little thing just stood on her wobbly legs, wagged her tail, and kept looking at Theresa.  She begged to have them take her out.  So I did and they placed her on a blanket on the floor with Theresa.  I think it was instant attraction and Theresa didn't want to leave without her.  For some strange reason, even though I had my doubts about this dog, I agreed to adopt her.

Nikki turned out to be the joy of our family for over 12 years. Her scrawny, trembling legs became amazingly strong, and she became an unbelievable jumper.  She hardly ever barked, but my husband taught her to "say" I love you, and very clearly I might add.  She got along beautifully with the cats and she was friendly to anyone she would meet. She was sensitive and loving and part of all family activities. 

Age and several medical complications slowed Nikki down during the past year. She couldn't jump anymore, sometimes could not get onto the bed (she slept by my feet most nights).  The last three months, with the discovery of a growth in her abdomen, her health deteriorated.  She was still active and even as late as last week was pretty active despite frequent emergency visits to the vet because of her health.  Yesterday she was very lethargic, disorientated, and this morning could not even get up.  I knew it was time. It's a difficult decision to make, but it is better than seeing her get worse and suffer more and more.

God brought Nikki into my life during a difficult time. She was my friend, my comforter, she made me smile.  I thank God for the twelve years I had with her.  I think God knew what He was doing when He created dogs.  I know Nikki taught me a lot about God's love. If a lowly dog could show me such unconditional love, how much more is the unconditional Love of God, who IS LOVE?  A few years ago I discovered the following video. I offer it in honor of Nikki.  I will miss you.

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