Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Bye lil Bud Bud

Tomorrow will mark the one month anniversary of the day Ed, I, and many others said good bye to Niko. I have thought long and hard of whether I would write this post and how I would go about it. It pains me to write about it but I want to do it in honor of our beloved best friend.

We were spending the week between Christmas and New Year's at Ed's parents. As I've mentioned in other posts, it truly was Niko's favorite getaway spot. He was familiar with the endless acres of land, the house, and family. In the car rides up, when we said "Grandma and Grandpa's!" his head would pop up and eyes would be alert to look out the window. His tail would wag with excitement as he jumps out of the car to greet everyone and go explore.
The "come when called" command was always a challenge for Niko. Although we had him leashed when we were in urban areas, we made a conscious decision to allow him off leash opportunities in what we believed were safe conditions. Ed's parents house was one of the places because of the open land of fields and woods.  Niko had spent a week full of play, treats, and time with family, including Ed's nephews who adored Niko. In fact, the day before his last, Niko was tired out from spending hours playing with nephew Peter who is 6 years old.

On December 30, 2011, while Ed and I were still asleep, Niko was let outside to go to the bathroom. When called to come inside, he insisted on staying out. It was surreal to be woken up and told Niko was hit by a car and needed to be taken to the vet ASAP. We learned afterward that a lady was driving to work that morning. She caught sight of Niko and slowed down her car. When she saw that he was standing in the lawn by the flagpole, she accelerated, thinking Niko wouldn't move. For whatever reason, Niko darted out at the wrong moment and was hit.

After he was hit, Niko walked around the yard, probably in shock. The driver who was very upset, rang the doorbell to let us know. Ed's father picked Niko up and brought him inside. There were no visible injuries aside from a little blood on his hind leg. Niko walked into a bedroom to lay down. This was something he used to do when he wasn't feeling well and wanted to be alone. Once we found out which animal hospital was open at that time (before 8am), Ed wrapped Niko up in a blanket and brought him to the car. Up to this point, all of us thought he would survive due to the fact that he was able to walk and he wasn't visibly hurt. However, Ed was not optimistic when Niko didn't squirm when he was picked up. I sat with Niko in the backseat. I was silent most of the ride from shock and disbelief. I petted him, held him, and we looked at each other, communicating silently. The ride to the hospital was less than 10 minutes, but I could feel Niko slipping away. He moved his head towards the front of the car where Ed was. Ed petted his head; Niko was reaching out for one last contact with his Dad. Moments later, Niko took his last breath. It happened right before we reached the hospital. I say it was Niko's rebellious way of telling us he had always hated going to the vet. When we arrived, I asked for Niko to be taken inside just to make sure he was gone and the technician confirmed it. We brought Niko back to the house and there was no question that we would bury him in his favorite place. Niko is buried by the tree pictured here that overlooks the fields he used to run in and the woods in the distance is where we used to go hiking with him.

Niko was two and half years old. I feel very sad he was taken from us so quickly. We can't help but wonder if we did the right thing. I will say that Niko lived a very full life, had many experiences, and was loved by all. If we hadn't given him off-leash time, he wouldn't have done and seen half the things he wanted to. My friend Mona captured it well: "Niko was an adventurer and his parents accepted his free spirit." If I had to choose a favorite off-leash experience, it would be the time we went on the canoe/backpacking trip in the Adirondacks a few months ago. The trip was not possible if we did not trust him off the leash. I smile when I think back to how he sat next to me when we had to take a break from transporting the canoe. Off leash, Niko had free reigns to run off, but he chose to stay close to us and wait until we were ready to move again.
I had taken the following picture two weeks before NIko's fateful day and had planned on writing a post about this sleeping position. I like how he intricately crosses all four of his paws like that. I'd like to think that he's resting peacefully like so.

Even after a month had passed, we miss Niko every single day. Life is just different without him. We both have dreams of him now, when we did not when he was alive. I especially miss his soft fur and how he cheers me up on bad days. Writing this blog was more fulfilling than I had imagined when I started it and I'm happy it is there for us to reflect on our days with Niko. Through the blog, I found other Shiba Inu bloggers from around the world. You can bet I'll continue reading up on you guys and living vicariously through you. 

I am concluding this blog with a few pictures from when Niko was a puppy to his last Christmas.  And a list of the multiple nicknames we had for him: Niko Peeko, Bud Bud, Bum Bum, Bumblebutt, Pup Pup, and Foxy. Niko lives in our hearts forever.


  1. This is terrible. Am so very sorry to hear such sad news. Hoping everyone is doing all right.

  2. i miss and think about Niko all the time. I love you Jeh

  3. I am so sorry that he's gone but it looks has if he had a life full of beautiful things and I guess that what counts the most.

  4. Thank you Gina, Tracey, Cynthia.
    Cynthia: I revised the post to include Shibas across the globe in Paris. Give Akira a hug for me =)

    1. We are still thinking about Niko tonight. I will give Akira a special hug for you.

  5. I am extremely heart broken for you and for Niko. I'm so sorry this happened... =(

  6. we're very sorry to hear about Niko. thank you for caring for him so deeply during his time here and for sharing him with all of us.

  7. woah, i'm so shocked and sad about this terrible news. my heart is aching. we always enjoyed seeing photos of niko here, going on his adventures. i'm so sorry for your loss....

  8. I too am so very sorry for your loss. I hate to read stories like these but my hope for you is that your heart will smile with memories of the good times you had. They never fully leave us and he will always watch over you. Many hugs for you guys.

    amanda + knox

  9. I'm so sorry for your loss, but it sounds like Niko had a fantastic life with his family. Thanks so much for sharing, thoughts are with you all.

  10. We are so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Niko has a wonderful life exploring the world around him and was loved tremendously by you guys.

    We completely know how it feels to lose a furkid at such a young age. Our little Kicho passed away around the same time your little Niko did. I would like to think that they met on their way to the Rainbow Bridge, running around fields of green, and at peace. Biggest hugs to your pack. <3

  11. This must have been a very difficult entry to write. It was certainly a tough one to read. Thank you for sharing Niko with all of us. May all your fond memories endure, and may you all heal with time.

  12. Rest in peace, Niko. I'm not a pet person, but I always enjoyed the brief moments I had with you - such a friendly animal, very warm, and very adventurous. You will be missed.

    Although your life was brief, I'm happy you lived with two loving parents who treated you like a member of the family.

  13. I'm speechless over the overwhelming response to this post. Thank you for the kind thoughts and empathy for us. Most of all, thank you all for reading about Niko.

  14. I'm soooo sorry for your loss my heart has ached so much after reading this post. Rest in peace little Niko I hope you are running your heart out in the endless fields. My boyfriend and I have followed your blog since the beginning and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing with all of us. May time heal your wounds.

  15. Niko was very lucky to have such a great family; may he rest in peace and I'm sure his spirit is thinking of you, too.

  16. Melissa, I am so very sorry for your loss. I visit your blog often but took a break after I moved. I came back to check if you had posted anything new... and now I'm speechless with tears streaming down my face. Niko looks identical to my boy Akira and my heart grieves for you. Again I'm so sorry.

    ~Sandy in California

  17. Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Shiba Inu Community at Our members will love it.
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  18. We lost our Shiba Inu Rocky this morning. He was never trusted off leash. We tried several training classes but in the end decided he was an on leash dog. This morning on his walk the leash somehow came unhooked. No idea how it came unhooked but he immediately jumped into the busy highway and was hit.

    I heard him crying on the highway. I picked him up and rushed him to the vet. Called my wife and she met us there. He held on just long enough to say bye to mom and he slipped away.

    Rocky was 4. Taken way too early.

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