Nikki - My Dog My Best Friend Passed Away
A Best Friend
In the world of animals man's best friend is known as a dog. It's probably because a dog lives a simplistic life and no matter what your stature is or how you look, a dog who gets love, attention, and care is ever so grateful that they give back the same until the end. This brings me to Nikki, my dog.
Several years ago I became ill, sleeping long hours, constant headaches, and continual weakness. It was at this time I inherited Nikki. She was a mixed 4 year old, 20 pound mixed cocker breed. Her hind legs were longer than the front with an overhanging forehead. I wasn't much of a pet lover then, but she needed a home so I got suckered in.
She was a bit sassy, but I soon showed her who the boss was - she responded well.
Over the next several months we spent more time together. I stayed home a lot because of my illness. Nikki was a comfort to have around and became a great companion in the process.
What I didn't realize is I was about to learn a lot more about dogs than I planned on, so the story goes.
Nikki's Illness - What I Learned
I took Nikki to the groomers once a month. The groomer we used worked out of a veterinarians office close to our home. One day the groomer informed us that she was relocating her business to her home. I liked the groomer, so I continued taking Nikki to her. A strange thing happen after Nikki's first visit to the groomers new location (her home), Nikki came home sort of lethargic; scratching and sick looking. I didn't think much of it, a few days past and she was normal again.
A month passed and it was time for Nikki's grooming again. I took her back to the same groomer as usual, but this time I was curious about the environment inside her house. It was dark and looked dirty. Unfortunately, I didn't do this investigation until after the grooming.
When Nikki came home this time she became ill again, which was the start of something worse than before.
The scratching intensified, she lost her appetite and went from 20 pounds down to 14 pounds in a matter of weeks. This time the situation was serious and it was time to consult with a veterinarian.
Nikki hadn't eaten in three days and the vet hydrated her, but Nikki refused solid food. Tests and blood work was done, but the cause of this decline in health was still a mystery.
Needless to say, I became quite fond of this little girl and it was time for me to look for answers.
As sick as I was we went to the vets everyday for her tests and hydration, as she had not eaten for 5-6 days now.
In my research I came across something called Addison disease. This disease can be hard to diagnosis because it masks itself in other ways such as kidney failure or pituitary failure.
I approached the vet with the information I found, and coincidentally the vet had came to the same conclusion. Addison disease is the failure of the adrenal glands to produce a balance of chemicals required to survive - a potentially deadly disease.
The treatment was monthly injections of a shot called "DOCP." This injection would be for the rest of Nikki's life. It ran about $50.00 a month.
We immediately started Nikki on these injections and all seemed well, but it wasn't.
The decline in Nikki's health was so severe that she was weak to eat. Her vital signs had stabilized, but she remained weak. I let Nikki sleep in my bed so as to monitor any abnormal activities. One night I felt her shake like she was scratching, but I later found out that she actually had a seizure - she also urinated in the bed.
Sunday Afternoon - I Was Scared to Death
It was a few days later, on a Sunday afternoon, that she uncharacteristically lay in her travel cage all day. As I lay on the couch to rest I heard a sudden rattle of the cage. I approached her cage and she was laying on her side having a seizure.
A seizure shocks the body forcing out liquids mainly from her bladder and mouth. As I held her in my arms she looked at me as to say "what is happening," all I could do is pose a threat to the man above, I said out loud " Ok God, if you're going to take her you better take care of her," like I was in any position to make a threat.
I rushed Nikki over to the emergency clinic where they stabilized her and cared for her through the night. I couldn't sleep a wink that night, not knowing if she would survive the ordeal. She did survive and was transported to our regular vet the next day. She started eating again and in a few weeks time regained most of her weight.
How Did a Pet Help My Health Condition?
I learned that "focus" can be a powerful tool.
As sick as I was, when Nikki was sick she became the center of my focus. I took her to the vet everyday, and this is no exaggeration - everyday. So, being so sick myself, how could I muster enough energy to do this? The answer became clear months later - I was focusing so much on myself (illness) that I was a detriment to my health. I was becoming self absorbed with my illness, compounding the problem. Some might call it self-pity.
The strange this is, researching Nikki's problem also opened the door to discovering answers to some of my own health problems. You could say that "we helped each other in mysterious ways."
Nikki Passed Away on 1-5-2010 - I Miss Her Dearly
Life is strange, it delivers solutions in many different ways.
In this crazy world where we run around looking for this and that. If problems strike sit back, take a seat and maybe, just maybe, your Nikki will come to you.
In November 2009, Nikki became ill with internal problems. It was hit and miss, some days looked better, while others didn't.
It was January 5, 2010 that Nikki became very weak that day and I just had a feeling it might be time. Approximately 7:10 P.M. that evening, Nikki slowly looked for a dark, empty corner of the house to curl up in. She found a small space in a closet. I when over and picked her up. I cradled her in my arms, she looked straight into my eyes, as I did to her, and it almost seemed as she was telling me "I'm ready to go now, I'm going to miss you - I love you."
A few seconds later her eyes closed and the end was here. Nikki was at peace, no more illness, no more pain.
I didn't especially like dogs when this started. When this chapter came to an end I understood and fully appreciated the bond others discovered between a pet and their owner.
Coping with the death of a pet, a companion is hard. Emotions still surface, years later, and I wonder what coping means. I miss Nikki, it hurts, but life has set the rules of the game as such. Every dog owner who had a bond with their deceased companion expresses the same remorse.
Here's the question, would you do it again? For most people the answer is yes, so I guess the pleasure that a dog provides for us, no matter how short a time it is, out weighs the pain of death - this is the way it is.
Remembering Nikki 1-5-2016
Its been six years since Nikki passed away and it's still a somber day for me. I am probably the only person who remembers that this little creature even existed, as it is with every other dog owner who had a dear pet pass away.
I have adopted another dog since then, her name is GiGi. She's a mix of Jack Russel and Chihuahua. She weighs about 15 pounds, big eyes, and is smart as a whip. I love GiGi dearly, but there is a special place in my heart for Nikki. I guess I came to the conclusion that the pain associated when that fateful day comes is still worth the pleasure of dog ownership - even as I still feel the sadness of losing Nikki.
Why after six years do i still shed tears over this loss? I believe in part it's due to the two months of suffering Nikki went through. I question myself - could I have done more, should I have done more in searching for solutions? Did I do everything possible to try and help Nikki find a cure? The honest answer is - no.
Death grants no second chances. You're left with memories, and hopefully you have a lot of them filed away in your memory bank to fill the emptiness in days to come.
On the anniversary of Nikki's death I always take one hour before and after the time she passed, on 1-5-2010 @ 7:10 P.M., to remember, to laugh, to cry, and just spend a little time with her in my own way.
My Nikki dear, even though the rest of the world knows you not, I will remember you forever and remember that Daddy always loved you and will love you always.