In the late afternoon summer days of August when the sunflowers pop their heads out of the draws and ditches, and the fields gleam yellow with wild buttercups, I can feel my Nicky and see with my heart the joy he felt when he would run leaping through the fields.
Some say that dogs are made of the same “stuff”, “ether”, “energy” as angels, and no other dog in my life exemplified it so much as my Nicky. Always happy, loving and inquisitive. We were inseparable and it seemed as if we could read each others’ minds.

One morning when he was only a year old, I was in the shower getting ready for work and idly planning my wardrobe for the day. I had decided I needed to wear my black pumps, but being prone to a little “disorganization”, I couldn’t remember into which closet I had tossed them. When I opened the bathroom door, both shoes were neatly placed side by side in front of the door. No one else could have done this because he and I were the only ones in the house.

When he came home with me as a five-week old puppy, he lay next to me in the truck with his little head on my lap. He died the same way eleven years later on an August night, quietly, with his head in my lap.

Many dogs have come into my life and then made their journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Each one was such a special gift and no matter how prepared I was, their passing left such a painful absence that it can only be described as a “hole in the heart”. Healing sometimes takes years, sometimes lifetimes. This ultimate illusion of “loss” and the faith that what we love is with us always, is much easier to accept when our world hasn’t been rocked by death. It’s much more difficult to have faith when you want to reach down and pet the soft coat that was once a comfort to you and you only find air.

When something we love “disappears”, it seems especially important to hang on to some kind of tangible proof of their existence. This is why photos and keepsakes become so important. Even though we celebrate their lives, human or pet, in our hearts, we want to have something in hand, something that was theirs . . . something that says, “Yes, I was here.”

I wish each of you many beautiful moments with the “Nicky” of your life. Enjoy the antics and mischief, play with them as if there were no tomorrow and you had never grown up. Remember that life and death should never be about regrets or missed moments. Cherish them today for their and your lifetimes.