It was a cold fall morning in October 2006 when my wife received a call from her friend. She knew a lady whose husband was a breeder. He had 2 Chihuahua puppies. The girl has missed her second heat and it was time for them to go. She was looking for a home that would take both of them as they had been caged together since they were babies. I really did not want any more pets. I had Teensie, a Jack Russell and that was all I really wanted but I could not risk them being killed so I agreed to give them a home and we would find a home for them I could trust. All we were told was their names were Poncho and Nikki. We were promised the papers on them but we never got them.|
We left and went to our friend's home as the breeder did not want us to know where he lived. It was very cold that morning and he had brought them in a wire cage and they were in the back of his pickup. The cage was not even secured. He brought them to us, sit them on the ground, never said a word and left. The babies were so cold and scared. We took them out of their cage and put them in the cab of our truck. I huddled them against me to get them warm. Tears were rolling down their face and they were shaking all over. I cried for them that day. They were eat up with fleas, malnourished and they had never had a bath. We toughed it out for that long drive home. It was a smelly experience to say the least. When we got them home, I carried them in and my wife brought in the cage and set it on the living room floor. They began to squirm and I put them down. They ran straight to their cage and got in and then looked at me. Tears running down their little faces and Nikki's eyes were so big they looked like big black marbles. It was at that moment I realized just what they had been thru during their short lives and no one else was going to get them. They were mine and the bond would never be broken.
That day they not only got their first bath, they got 3 before we got all the fleas off them. After their third bath I wrapped them in a towel and huddled them close to me and they drifted off to sleep. When they awoke, their wire cage had disappeared and was replaced with a huge cloth carrier and no door, full of blankets and pillows. I put them down and they ran for it and huddled up in the back of it. Teensie tried to play with them but they freaked out. We were Later told that the breeder had big dogs also and they were allowed to bully Poncho and Nikki. Poncho and Nikki were now terrified of larger dogs. It took a long time of working with them before they trusted Teensie and eventually, Nikki became the dominate one.
It took some doing but we got some weigh on them. They were about 2 and 3 pounds when we got them. In a month they were about 4.
We were sitting on the bypass in Winchester when we discovered Nikki had a hidden talent. As we were sitting at a stop light, there an ambulance passed by and Nikki was mimicking the siren to perfect pitch. I tried to get her to do it again but she wouldn't. She was so cute. Soon after that, a fire truck passed us and she was mimicking not only the siren but the horn and the diesel engine as well. I was in Walmart later that day and as it was Christmas season already, there was a child's fire truck with realistic sound. I pressed all the buttons and decided to buy it. I brought it home and Nikki mimicked the sounds. Over the next few weeks I would say "Sing Nikki, sing" then play the siren for her. It wasn't long until I could say "Sing Nikki, Sing" and she would come running and jump on my lap, throw her head back and howl at the moon. I also discovered that when she did that, Poncho and Teensie would join her and that is how the Thompson Canine Trio was born. For the next 7 years we would call friends and loved ones on their birthdays and our babies would sing to them. So many people loved hearing our babies sing to them for their birthday and other special occasions. Many times however, she would just sing for me to cheer me up. I am not sure my little Koala Bear, (Nickname) ever knew or understood how much I loved her for that.
Nikki was just sweet. One of my favorite memories of her had to do with Livermush. Unless you are from North Carolina, chances are you have never heard of it but it is a delicious sage breakfast sausage. I had a bad habit of getting up in the middle of the night around 2 AM and frying some livermush and making a sandwich of it. I had just received a shipment and I had gotten up very quietly and slipped into the kitchen. I fried it, went to my recliner and sat down. Nikki was standing in the hall looking at me, tears running down her face. I told her to come and sit on my lap. She did and I fed her livermush for the first time. She smacked her lips and ended up eating all the meat off my sandwich. I went and fried more and we both chowed down. After that night it became a ritual for us to eat livermush nightly. I had a livermush eating buddy. She would always lay in bed tho, until I got it cooked and as soon as she heard me sit in the recliner here she would come, ready to eat. As soon as she was full she went right back to bed. These are the times I miss, these are the times I cherish and want to last forever.
Of all the pets I have ever had, Nikki was the smartest of them all including Teensie. She was also the smartest of any I have ever known. She was the boss of the house. She kept the other babies in line. When she yelped everyone listened. She would learn the other dog's instants and use them to her advantage. Just one example of this is when one of the other dogs would lay in her spot, she knew if they thought there was someone at the door they would come running. So she would waltz up to a door and yelp one time. The other would come running and she would go and get in her bed and go to sleep. Teensie fell for it every time for 7 years. When you told Nikki to do something, she understood what you told her and she would do it. She was so full of personality and life. She had a huge fan club of people she had sung to. She was the quiet one, she was the independent one and she was the loving one.
Nikki had two sides to her tho. There was the independent, prideful, "Ain't Taking Nothing off Nobody side." Many times I have sit and watched her as she would so discreetly ease up beside Teensie and gently bite Teensie's upper lip letting her know who was boss. When Snoop Dog moved in, within the week I caught her doing the same to him. I used to call her Miss Bossy as a nickname. But when you got past that rough facade that was her guard, you found out there was a very needy, scared little girl living in there. When we would have to leave her alone, which was only to go to church, her eyes would grow wide just like the first time she came home to us. We could not leave her anywhere with anyone, she would have a panic attack. When I picked her up and placed her on my lap she would drop that facade and become the most loving dog and you just knew that was the only place she felt truly safe.
She always had to have a treat to guard tho. I have always believed that was a direct result of always being hungry the first few years of her life, or maybe it was to show her dominance to the other dogs. She would practically lie on a beggin strip and if anyone came near it she would just growl at them. But I would reach and pick her up, get her treat and place her on a pillow I keep right beside me in my recliner and give her back her treat and just rub on her and she would be so content. So would I.
Once we had a Beagle named Daisy and she and Nikki became the best of friends. Nikki was already beginning to have problems climbing the steps to our home. I use to laugh so hard because Nikki would place her front paws on the next step and Daisy would take her nose and lift her butt up. Nikki would put her paws on the next step and Daisy would push her up. We lost Daisy because she would not stop until she dug her way out of our fence and went straight into the road. She was hit almost instantly. For weeks Nikki would go outside and look towards Daisy's grave and howl. No one had to ask her to sing. She knew Daisy was gone and I realized she was grieving over her death. Nikki and Daisy were two of a kind.
Nikki never had to have a collar or leash her whole life. She would always stay by you or follow you wherever you went. Sometimes if we were out driving somewhere and had to stop for her potty break, she would would be just wandering around taking her time. When I started calling her to go she would not come until she was ready. So sometimes after waiting and waiting on her I would say "Ok Nikki, let's go, I'm leaving" and I would go toward the car and she knew at that point it was time to go and she sure didn't want to be left so she would start running toward me. I don't know if she really believed I would leave her but she sure didn't want to take that chance.
Nikki loved ice cream cones. One time we stopped for ice cream in a drive thru and Nikki was sitting between us in the front seat and when I passed an ice cream cone to my husband Nikki quickly stuck her tongue out and got her a lick of the ice cream. The day we had to take that last trip with her to the vet we took her to get her last ice cream cone and a cheeseburger. I'm thankful she never lost her appetite for food up to the very end.
Today, September 17, 2013, Nikki's life had to be ended. Old age and neuropathy got the best of her. Having her put to sleep ranks in the top 5 hardest things I have ever had to do. We have never known her real age, only an estimate of around 14. The one thing she never got over was never having enough to eat in her early years. Right up till her last day, she would hide and guard food even tho it was always there for her. All she wanted to eat was always there for her. She never again knew hunger. I promised her and Poncho both as long as I was alive they would never go hungry or ever be abused again and I fulfilled that promise. I am only comforted by the fact that tonight she is with Poncho again who passed away 2 years ago suddenly of a heart attack. She will be cremated and return home to me.
Life can be so cruel at times. You can have a horse for 30 years. Some exotic birds such as patriots can live over a hundred years. But Man's best friend does good to see 14 years of life. I try so hard not to have any hate in my heart for anyone, but it is a bitter battle when I think about all those poor innocent animals that are tortured and abused daily.
I thank God we had Dr. Wayne Bailey and the staff of Countryside Animal Hospital. They treated Nikki with the greatest respect during her passing. They also comforted us as well. We could not have asked for any better for Nikki.
September 19, 2013.
Today, Nikki's ashes were returned to us. We placed her beside the chair she so loved to sleep in and where she would always be close to us.
Nikki it's been 6 days since we lost you. This weekend has been very difficult. Everything I do reminds me of you. Everywhere I look I see you here.
The Night I lost you
When I describe your absence,
What could I exchange for you?
Life is brief, but when it's gone,
It has been 6 months now and the pain is the same as it was the day you passed. I miss you so much. Your house is still in the living room, your toys are still in there and there is not a day goes by I do not miss my best friend. I wish I had had more time with you. I still look at your house and see you. I will forget and call you to come eat. I rescued another baby last week. Her name is Lucy. She is a 15 month old Beagle that was beaten and her pelvis was crushed. I am nursing her back to health. I think so often about you when I first got you and Poncho. You were so scared. I would hold you and let you sleep on me. You would listen to my heart beat and just sleep so peaceful. Lucy is doing the same thing. She just sleeps on me and listens to my heart. I remember you so well. I miss you so much. I love you and I will until the day I die.
They say time heals all wounds but that is not true. I had to take Teensie to the vet last week and there was the last room you were in. I could not go in there. They put me in another exam room. Teensie is now 15 and I fear she may be joining you sooner than I would live. Its just not fair. Parrots live to be over a hundred. Horses, 35 to 40 years. Why is our time together so short. Never a day passes that I don't think of you and wish I had our life together again. Never a day passes that I still don't cry for you. I Will always love you. Always, Brad
September 26, 2016.
September 28, 2016
My baby girl Nikki
We didn't know how we needed you .
We'll never forget the day you left .
You were special in your own little way.
Just know you'll always be in our heart.
The days are lonely without you here .
To be with Poncho and Daisy Mae.
Snoop and teensie miss you as well .
We'll be a family in Heaven you see .
Just wait for us at the meadows edge .
Please keep waiting for us to join you and we will all be a family again.
There is still not a day goes by that I do not remember you and cry over you. Something Snoop or Lucy will do that reminds me of you. You were one of a kind. I have made a new friend. Her name is Jazmine. She likes to sit on my lap like you did. We sit her sometimes. You would have loved her. Lucy came and sit on my lap this morning like you used too wanting a belly rub like you used too. You will never be forgotten as long as there is breath in my body. Soon I will be coming to be reunited with you. I love you. Daddy.