Saturday, June 22, 2013


This past weekend marked one year since we lost our beautiful sweet puppy Nick, David's childhood yellow lab.
It's hard to believe its been that long, but on the other hand I find myself forgetting. Not forgetting Nick, just forgetting little things. It's difficult to admit but it sort of happens with everyone you lose. You remember them, think about them, but there's certain things that slip from your memory if you don't consciously make an effort to remember them.
Since my grandfather passed away, the thing I have made a conscious effort to remember is his voice. It may seem strange, but he had the best voice. When he visited me as a child I would sit in his lap and ask him to read me countless books, over and over. I loved listening to him. When I was older, I just sat and listened to his many life stories, and he made everything sound fascinating. He had some adorable version of a Rhode Island accent and I just ate it up.
Same with Nana, his wife, who was a wonderful grandmother to all of us. Oh man did she have an adorable voice. Her accent was the Boston/Maine one, and especially the way she used to say my grandfathers name Jawhn (John) was so precious. I hope I never forget it.
When my Aunt Ruth passed away a couple months ago, I decided the thing I wanted to consciously remember about her was her laugh...the way her face scrunched up when she giggled. My Aunt Flo (her sister) died several years prior, and I think I was still too young to choose something I wanted to specifically remember about her, but I suppose, similar to Aunt Ruth, I'd pick Aunt Flo's smile. They were such poised, proper, polite and sometimes stern ladies, but they had the world's biggest hearts and loved their family more than you could think possible. My brother and my two cousins and I spent much of our childhood at their home, and my favorite moments were them laughing with each other (or sometimes at each other, which was hilarious) or smiling at us just being silly kids. Those are the things I want to remember.
With Nick, I remember her and miss her every day. Her pictures are all over our house, as is the shadowbox I made when she passed. I see a lot of her in Oats, so those things make me smile. I remember her bark, how loud and deep and sometimes ferocious it was; her funny sneezes; her very slobbery kisses; her love of belly rubs; her harrumphs; her famous attitude (she didn't take crap from anyone); and her overall incredible personality.
What I don't want to forget is the way she made me feel. All dogs provide unconditional love to their owners, but Nick was different.....Nick changed my life.
As a child and all the way into high school, I had an extreme fear of dogs. I don't know why. I struggled with the fear for many, many years, and inconvenienced many people (and dogs) because of it. I was uncomfortable just being in the same room as a dog, even a sleeping one. It was ridiculous and unwarranted, and I regret wasting so much time being afraid.

But Nick embraced me from the first day I met her, and it surprised me that I never felt scared around her. She just loved me, without reservation, and I had never known what it was like to feel that from a dog. I don't know why I had such a connection to her, but we were immediately buddies, and I owe so much to her for showing me that there is nothing to fear. I was not her family, and I didn't even know her her whole life, but she let me in, let me get to know her, let me learn that the bond between a person and a dog is incomparable to any other relationship. It is pure, unconditional love....
Conquering a fear you've lived with your whole life is not an easy feat. Overcoming it to the point where it literally does not exist any more...I think I'd call that a miracle. Without Nick, I would never be the person I am today. I don't care if that sounds silly. It's true. She showed me how to love a dog and she took away all my fears. She's the reason we have Oats, and the reason why I will continue to open my home and my heart to dogs for the rest of my life.
Nicky...I love and miss you every day. In my eyes, you were the world's greatest dog.


basha said...

such a moving post, thank you, Jen

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