My Dog Nicky

Reflections of my childhood...

There was never a time that I don’t remember Nicky. We must have gotten that little rat terrier soon after our move out of the projects and into our permanent little house which became more affectionately known as home, a small house, with a path out back that my parents built into a lasting memento to our family’s heritage. While I am able to retrieve from my mind much of the memories of my early childhood, some things still remain mysteriously incomplete. Thus, the formal or actual acquisition of our most honored and respected family pet, Nicky, a small black and white rat terrier that was loved and cared for almost equally with us kids.


that small dog proceeded to jump up and bite me through the upper lip

I felt particularly fond of Nicky which may have actually developed from a more healthy ‘respect’ for his territory and his ability to protect himself. I remember hearing my mother speak of a time that I failed to recognize Nicky’s space and the story goes that I was found striking that little dog across the head with a stick. Upon which that small dog proceeded to jump up in my face and bite me through the upper lip. Like I say some things I don’t remember very well in my childhood and this just happens to be one of the instances, but my mother often used this example to help teach me to respect and appreciate the space of others.

Nicky would help me clean my plate so I could have dessert

Usually a quit little dog, around mealtime Nicky became more and more noticeable and eventually mom would end up putting that little mongrel out on the back porch so the rest of the family could enjoy our meals. I do remember times that Nicky would help me clean my plate so I would be able to have dessert. Back then everybody fed the table scraps to the dog and Nicky was always happy to accommodate. He would eat just about anything and often help me with my oatmeal at breakfast time during my early childhood. Mom recalls the times I would take a bite then share a bite with Nicky. When I ask “when was Nicky’s birthday,” and no one could say for sure, I offered to share mine with him.

Did you have a pet as you grew up?

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Nicky wouldn’t share his supper with any other dog

Once my dad brought home a new little puppy for me Not that I was tired of Nicky, but I had to share him with the rest of the family and I just thought I should have a dog all my own. It was a little chow puppy and I named him Pal. Nicky was okay with Pal, but he wouldn’t share his supper with any other dog which Pal learned rather quickly. The dogs play well but Nicky soon established his dominance. Everything Nicky did, Pal would also try to do.

Nicky was on that rat like a duck on a June bug

We had a pile of old lumber left over after a major remodeling of our small home making the house half again as large as original. Mom wanted dad to sort through the old boards and savage what dad needed to keep and burn the rest. Of course the three boys had to help their dad as well as Nicky and the pup. As we sorted through the boards and the dogs snooped around a large rat bite Pal on the nose and started to run across the street. Nicky was on that rat like a duck on a June bug, catching that old rat in the nape of the neck and shaking it to death. Dad said Nicky had broken the rat’s neck. It just lay in the road with its tongue hanging out. Dad picked it up by the tail and threw it across the road in the bushes.

later that day, Pal died

We took the pup to the vet, but later that day, Pal died. Dad and I took him in an old cardboard box and buried him beside the old outhouse. I missed my puppy, and was glad that Nicky had taken care of that old rat, and I guess my interest was rekindled in that brave little rat terrier.

I never found out just how old Nicky was...

Nicky grew in age as the rest of us did and maybe faster. My sister married and started her family, and Jim and Jack graduated high school and join the service and that just left mom and dad and me… oh yea, and Nicky. My dad got sick in 1960 and in December of that year my dad died. It was never the same around the house with Peggy, Jim and Jack gone, and now dad. Just mom and Nicky and I, where once the house had seemed so full of hope and life. A few months passed and one morning mom found Nicky, lifeless and laying on his little rug on the back porch. Mom said she felt he had died because he missed dad as much as we did. We both just held each other and cried a while. We had experienced so much in such a short time. Later that day I buried that brave little pet that was so much a part of our family beside Pal. I never found out just how old Nicky was, but I was seventeen and now I alone was suddenly the man of the house.

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Comments 33 comments

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

This is such an amazing and sad story. I am moved to tears having lost many pets of my own including dogs. You were so lucky Nicky touched your life in a way that is still special to you to this day. The true meaning of "Dogs being a man's best friend". Thank you for a lovely and touching hub.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you mistyhorizon2003 for you tender reflections, I'm sorry though that it made you cry...

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

What a tender tribute to man's best friend!Dogs....They are part of our family. I still grieve 11 years later for my little 3 lb teacup poodle, Sassie. We buried her near a bed of white Irises. I can't see the first blooms of white irises to this day without seeing that little box we lowered into the muddy April ground. Standing there staring at the mound of dirt, I whispered,"I'll never forget you, my precious." And I haven't.(Crying now.......)

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks bayoulady, goodness I didn't mean to make everybody cry...

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Nicely told... it brought a bit of a tear to my eye, too.

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johnnynaakea 6 years ago

Great hub Samsons1! Truly, dogs are man's best friends.

steve-bc-ca profile image

steve-bc-ca 6 years ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

Nicky looks like the dog Wishbone off a program my children watch.. a really cute dog!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks carolina for your visit and your comments...

*thank you johnny, yes everyone seems to like dog stories...

*and thank you steve-bc-ca, for your visit and nice comments...

Specialk3749 profile image

Specialk3749 6 years ago from Michigan

This story brings back so many memeories of my dog! We have a rat terrier now. He belongs to my daughter. Sammy boy has brought a lot of love to our house...maybe it is a rat terrier thing. lol Thanks for the story!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks Specialk3749, for your nice comments and I must say your daughter chose a superb name for her pet...

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

For vaiou reasons until lately we have never had a dog for very many years, whether living circumstances or illness,It is nice you enjoyed yours when you were young.

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Never having a pet, I don't know the joys a pet and owner shares. I am always amazed how pets seem to become a part of the family especially a dog or a cat, it's like at times they become a substitute for children.

Brother Dave.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks dahoglund for your comments...

*thanks Dave for your observations...

cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Great hub, great story about dogs. Dogs always take a great part of my life. Dogs always touch my heart. Thank you for sharing this beautiful part of your childhood. Blessings to you always.

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"Quill" 6 years ago

Well done samsons1... a fitting tribute to a faithful friend. After reading what you have placed here we have all fallen in love Nicky... could we go so far as to say behind every good pet we find a better friend...?

Pass the kleenex, there is something leaking on my keyboard....

Blessings and Hugs

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks cristina for your visit and remarks...

*and thank you Quill, always enjoy your nice remarks...


miss_jkim profile image

miss_jkim 6 years ago

I had a wee little cockapoo growing up. She was part of our family too, but age made her blind and deaf and she had to be put down. Such a sad time that was.

I now have a Jack Russell that looks a lot like your picture. He is full of life and lots of love. I dread the day we loose him, he is "our little boy."

Thanks for sharing your story, it was lovely.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you miss_jkim for your friendship, your visit and your nice comments...

billips profile image

billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

What a lovely memorial for your brave little Rat Terrier - my daughter has four rather large rescue dogs - at Christmas a shelter near here was asking for volunteers to foster a dog for the holiday - of course she said yes and what did they give her? - a little Rat Terrier - after the holiday, she just did not have the heart to send him back, so the newest member of her pack is little Hank Jr. - terriers are to me the best dogs - I only keep rescue dogs now, but my two are terrier crosses - I am going to make sure she reads your story, and of course shares it with Hank Jr. - incidentally, Hank Jr. holds his own very well in the household with his two big brothers and two big sisters - regards, B.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you so much billips for your kindness in spending some time with me and 'Nicky'. You must keep me informed about little Hank Jr. Why not write a hub or better yet, get your daughter to write one and be sure to add pix. Appreciate your friendly reply...

KDee411 profile image

KDee411 5 years ago from Bay Area, California

Very sweet and sad hub. I had Spotty a little Rat Terrier when I was a child, for 16 years. My children had Sweet Shag for 16 years. Then Biz the crazy American Eskmo for 14 years stole our hearts. Than Blonde and Rudder both Golden Retrievers saw all the kids grow up and leave them. Now I'm so blessed with my Dolly, half Border Collie, half Queenland Healer she's the smartest and most obedient dog in the World. I loved going back on memory lane, remembering the love for each and every wonderful dog that has been part of my life. Kay

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks Kay for your most enjoyable comment. I likewise like to read of others' pets that have blessed their lives. We now have a miniature schnauzer that is just like a child with one exception. Duchess 'minds' very well...

how-to-make profile image

how-to-make 5 years ago from India

It really surprised my to see Nicky's affection for you and your love for little Nicky. Nice story. Thanks for sharing.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank so much 'how-to-make' for your visit and your nice comments about my article about my amazing friend 'Nicky'...

Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 5 years ago from Thailand

A beautiful tribute to your old friend. It is incredible how dogs really become a part of the family! They have such wonderful characters, if only they had longer lives!

Thanks for SHARING this personal story and memories, it was a very nice read.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you my friend for your visit and for making your kind remarks. Our pets do seem to become a large part of our lives and we can relate to their personal personalities...

dwachira profile image

dwachira 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

I love pets and i can tell from here how you loved your pet, i still remember those childhood days and although it is a numbers of years later, those memories with pets are still fresh. voted up and shared.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

thank you dwachira for taking time to stop by and comment. Yes, our pets are special and often times hold an equal place as family members in love and remembrances. Thanks for the positive ratings and sharing...

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

As children we also grew up with dogs...and cats. They were an intregal part of our lives just like your Nicky was in yours. Your story about your dear little Nicky is so endearing. Always so sad to lose our furry friends...but so nice to have them in our lives. Up and beautiful votes and will share.

Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

What a wonderful hub, samsons1! It brought tears to my eyes too and makes me feel a great affection for your tenacious little friend. My dog Charlie, affected me in the same way as Nicky seems to have affected you. We are so fortunate to have these wonderful and affectionate creatures in our lives. I hope you find as much joy from writing your article about Nicky as I did writing my article about Charlie.

Thanks so much. Voted up and awesome!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

*Thanks so much Peggy for dropping by and reading, commenting and rating my hub about my first dog Nicky. He was a great friend and protector and I still can see him sometimes standing at the top of the steps looking down at me with his tail just a wagging and barking as if to say, "let's play..."

*Welcome to my circle of friends Maralexa, and thanks for commenting and rating my hub about my faithful companion Nicky. Even though little Nicky has been gone for over fifty years the memories linger still. I lost another canine friend (Duchess) in early March of this year who likewise captured my heart in so many ways. I sometimes wonder if my latest little puppy (Poppi) will ever measure up to the likes of Nicky or Duchess and I kinda doubt she will. I'll just have to accept her and her qualities and be satisfied I reckon. I think in the end she will break my heart as well...

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Vickiw 4 years ago

This was such a beautifully tender account of a boy's love for such a character of a dog! Great writing, and lovely thoughts.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you Vickiw for stopping by and reading about my friend 'Nicky'. Your words are kind and impressive, and you are welcome to come again and look around anytime...

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