In loving memory of Nick

December 24, 2008 ~ February 25, 2013

On Monday, February 25th we laid to rest a great friend and companion. Nick, our 4-year-old Siberian husky, struggled with an auto-immune disorder for over two years. Unfortunately, the only medicine that seemed to work (we pretty much tried everything natural and traditional) was prednisone, and prednisone changed him for the worst.


While it made him physically healthy, the drug slowly ate away at Nick’s wonderful temperament. Always Mr. Easy Going, over time he became aggressive, short-fused, and anxious. Eventually his behaviour deteriorated so badly that we tried to take him off Prednisone, but he got so terribly sick so fast that we had to make a very difficult decision. Nick was laid to rest peacefully, with his family present and holding him, after having a few days out of a dog’s dream book. Hikes, cheeseburgers, riding shotgun – we gave it all to him in his final days.


Nick was a special dog right from the beginning. He charmed everyone who met him with his happy personality and award-winning smile. Nick loved and was loved by many – he has a large extended family. I have to extend a special thank you to Sylvia and Mitch for loving him as their own and caring for him in times of need. To Robin for taking care of him when he was awfully sick so that Cam and I could attend a family wedding and funeral. I also have to extend a special thank you to “Auntie” Jen and her family for helping us with Nick and giving him extra special love.


He was always smiling, just far too happy all the time. Nick was an ambassador for his breed and for positive training methods. He was the first dog I trained exclusively with clicker training and reinforcement-based methods and videos of him doing things Siberian huskies just aren’t supposed to do (off-leash recall, loose-leash walking) served as wonderful examples of the power of this training technology.


Nick was a charmer. He loved everyone and I think it’s safe to say most everyone loved him. He was as sweet as they come, and until the Prednisone took hold of him, never had a mean bone in his body. Anyone could do anything to him and he was gentle as can be with dogs, kittens, children, you name it. His eyes had an illustrious sparkle to them that spoke of joy, mischievousness, and wisdom (hidden below a layer of goofiness). When we say he was pretty much always happy, we aren’t kidding. And his smile…oh, I could go on about his smile. It was one thing people always noticed about him – that and how drop-dead gorgeous he was!


I will always struggle with the decision we made for him. I hope that we have freed him from a body that struggled, that fought to function properly. He just had too many things stacked against him. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be, but I am eternally grateful that I got to share a few years on this planet with such a wonderful, inspiring creature.


Nick taught me many things. He taught me more about training animals; he taught me more about loving them, too. He let me see how to take pleasure in the small things, live in the moment, and find joy in everything. He showed me how to be happy through great adversity, that there is no such thing as too many kisses, and that pure pleasure comes in the form of a squeaky tennis ball. He taught me how to let go. He taught me how to open my heart and love even more for the love and joy that exuded out of him was contagious. He taught me how to love better. He taught me that sometimes no matter how hard you try you can’t fix everything. He taught me how to make the most difficult decision for the well-being of a companion animal you will ever have to make. I will be able to hold this lesson, especially with me, and guide my clients in my professional life through it with more empathy and care. I can now truly say I have been there and I know how you feel.


He was my shadow, my friend, my swimming companion. I will always remember his face glowing with joy as he raced back towards me while free running with his tongue falling out of his mouth, seemingly too big for it. His gentle kisses, his adorable little waggly tail, and the way he walked, howled, and wooed are permanently etched in my mind. We have many amazing memories of this dog, for his life was short but wonderful. Full of play, love, joy, and enrichment. He was a fighter, but overall – he was love. I think he was made mostly of love.


A piece of my heart died too on Monday, and that will never come back. I can only hope to refill the hole his passing has left with pleasant memories slowly over time. I can feel his presence now; in the sunrise, the birds singing, all the little things that make me happy. I know in a way he will always walk with us, and I know now he is free and at peace. Rest well my little friend, and go on to bring joy to many more. A piece of my soul has gone with you. I love you, always and forever.


Rest in Peace, my Sweet Boy

December 24, 2008, ~ February 25, 2013

The tattoo of Nick's paw print I got on my wrist.

The tattoo of Nick’s paw print I got on my wrist.