Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Owning pets is a double-edged sword.  I've been reminded of this in the last couple of days because two very good friends have beloved pets who are not doing well.  My heart goes out to them because I know how much it hurts to lose a pet, or worse to have to make a fateful decision.

As I stood outside with my good neighbor, Mary, this evening talking about her precious dog, Nicky, I remembered how much he has been a part of our lives for the last 17 years.  Nicky has been failing for quite awhile now, but I could tell by the look on Mary's face that this was probably going to be his final bow.

For some reason I don't have one picture of Nicky.  I'm thinking we have video of him, but this is the closest picture I could find that captures his essence:

Our family has known this delicate, yet Napoleanic dog, since he first started ruling the roost across the street.  We were Nicky's "vacation" family.  He would stay with us whenever Mary would go away or had a long day at work or was out all day.  He was a shivering bag of bones who worked his way into the hearts of a "big dog" household.  Other than Ziggy, I had not met a smarter dog.  He always had Mary wrapped around his little, scrawny paw, but it wasn't long before he had us in the similar state. I still have a vivid picture of Mr. Tennis sitting with Nicky on his lap and somehow still seeming quite manly.  Nicky is a five pound ruler of the universe. 

Nicky would strut into our house like he owned it and no cat (whom he interacted with the most) was going to tell him what to do.  Whenever Mr. Nick would visit, he and Susie, our black cat, would have what we called a "Mexican Standoff".  Susie was used to pushing our other two cats (Nicki and Bumby) around after the "alpha cat", Cheetah, left us.  She is a 15 lb no-nonsense gal and she was not about to let some little pipsqueak take over her house.  Boy, did she have a lot to learn.  It was the same everytime.  Susie and Nicky would circle each other.  Susie would be putting forth a feline throaty growl and Nicky would just be barking his fool head off.  Then.  They would freeze.  It was a stare-down.  Nicky would eventually not be able to take the anticipation any longer and would start barking again and Susie would advance hissing and bulging.

And that was it.  The barking would stop. The hissing and on-end hair would recede. The opponents would retreat to opposite ends of the house.  Every time.... It happened every time.

When Nicky, the dictator, would sleepover he always slept with The Writer or The Maven.  He could not be with Mr. Tennis or me because of THEM, the cats.  I still remember the year that The Writer asked for a small dog for Christmas.

Nicky was here for the "Jake the Snake" era and ushered in the Panda era, letting her know who was really boss, of course.  I still credit "Mr Nick" with getting us used to that small dog feel.

Nicky is still not out of the game, but Mary's distress got me thinking about Nick, and all the wonderful animals that have passed through the "Boston" family's lives:

Sundance (the parakeet), Fuzzbuster (the hamster), Ziggy, Cheetah, various hamsters (Shaq, Penny, Cinnamon, Chippy, Comet, Comet Jr., Simon & Garfunkel), Jake "the Snake", Floppy (the bunny) and Nicki, the cat.

1 comment:

eggzachary said...

I still feel bad for that hawk who strained a muscle trying to scoop up Floppy.