In Memory of Nicki (AKA Nickers, AKA Nippers, AKA Puppy Girl) (2002-2013)


You came into my life on October 5, 2004. You were the dog that was meant for me and you brought me joy for nine years. You were a one woman dog with two existential questions: ‘Are you going somewhere and am I going with you?’ & ‘ Are you eating something good and am I getting some?’ When I adopted you at the age of two, I was told that you really needed to bond with someone, and bond we did, like glue. I always said that I couldn’t lose you if I tried. You finally had your person and you were not about to lose me. On a hike, you could go off and follow your nose but you never lost track of where I was. You were a gourmet sniffer. You did ‘crazy circles’ to express your joy. You loved to chase the dog who was chasing the ball, and you were fast! (And the occasional body block with the right dog in your younger years!) You refused to believe you were a water dog even though you had webbed paws. You had a mind of your own and always knew which way you wanted to go on a walk. You would stop, plant yourself, and stubbornly insist on your way, but if I took you off the leash and said ‘Fine, go the way you want. I’ll meet you at home!’, you would happily change your mind and follow me anywhere. You weren’t going anywhere without me. You were a dominant female as far as dogs went, but completely non-threatening to cats, which worked so beautifully with your feline sister and brothers who consistently voted you the most popular one in the house! You loved an unfixed male; meeting one was always a special treat! Your demeanor was so calm (People always commented on that, along with your sweetness, your incredible ‘melt a heart’ eyes, and the expressive golden eyebrows). At the end, you handled illness with such grace and dignity, never giving up, making the best of every situation. I miss you so very much and yet your presence is still so strong. As I always told you, ‘You are the best puppy of ALL the puppies!’, and remember, ‘I ALWAYS come home to my Nippers!’ When the time comes, I’ll be coming to get you, and yes, you have permission to come running full speed and knock me on my butt. I know you’re looking forward to it!

Rita Smith, Portland Oregon