Remembering Niko

Remembering the journey


with 8 comments

“Thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories and a picture in a frame.”

Thank you for visiting Niko’s site which will continue to be a work in progress. I have put this site together for two reasons. First and foremost,  as a tribute to my wonderful friend, Niko, to share his story and our journey. At the time of his death, nearly half of my life  had been spent loving this incredible being, and I don’t want to forget any memory of him. It has been a long road, getting used to life after Niko. The world is a little darker place, but my life is better for having known such a great love.

The second reason for this site didn’t become clear until mid 2010. Grief has taught me compassion. No one should feel alone when faced with a major loss, but often society and loved ones do not know how to react to grief – especially pet loss. It makes them uncomfortable or they just don’t understand. I want to extend a hand to all those faced with such heartache. I want them to feel they are not alone, and their feelings are normal. Validation can mean so much during a time of despair. It means a lot to me to know this site has helped comfort someone, if only in the smallest way.

Niko's most 'famous' portrait - taken in April 2008, under a weeping cherry tree

Just a Dog

by Richard Biby, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,” or, “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you will probably understand phases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a human.”

So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog.” just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”


Written by rememberingniko

February 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

8 Responses

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  1. He is greatly missed!!!


    March 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  2. It’s so indescribeable when someone else “really” understands you. “Just a Dog”, the times I’ve heard that in the past, the times I’ve cried wishing I had just one more day with ‘just my dog’ or just one more hug, one more anything. Yes, having had 12 years with that dog was more than anyone should ever hope for, but I never thought about it ending until it was thrown into my face. Lymphoma, what a evil disease that I hope I see a cure for in my lifetime, not that it will be soon enough. Thank you for creating this beautiful remembrance for Niko, it has helped me immensely and I’m sure gorgeous Niko is so proud of his owner who continues to help because of their lifetime bond of love.

    Oh and you are right, next time I hear “just get over it, she was just a dog” I’ll remember that I should feel sorry for that person, never having had experienced total unconditional love and their life being so much poorer than mine.

    Carol Birdwell

    February 2, 2011 at 12:49 am

    • thank you for your kind words carol! i’m really glad to hear that this site was able to help you some. i know how much you miss your lily girl.


      February 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

  3. “Just a Dog” was just what I needed…

    Thank you!!!


    February 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

  4. Wow! Something pointed me to this site today and now I’m in tears over a dog we lost over seven years ago. I agree with you, she was part of the family and I really wish she was here with us. No other will ever replace her. Oh, why did you make me cry like this? 😉

    On another note, your writing is excellent; very compelling. Thank you for using your talent and skill to help others.

    Jeanee Layman

    February 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm

  5. Thank you for your healing words. I still mourn for my old dog Moose who died nearly forty years ago, and I still cry when I think of him.

    Cheryl Fontaine

    April 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  6. I love our story…and the comments others left..@Cheryl your love for your Moose…<3

    I lost two of my dearest friends, Honey who we had for 16 long years that weren't long enough in 9/09 a month before my daughter was born…then we had to put my sweet Beauty down in 2/10 she developed lymphoma and couldn't breath not long after she lost her sister Honey…Beauty absolutely never left my baby's side..she protected her like she did us and she loved her and us so much she would pretend she wasn't in pain, only when i noticed she was bleeding internally did i force myself to take her to the vet for her last visit…it killed me..but i stayed with her to very end..i am crying just thinking about her…she was only 6 years old…and i know she would have been my daughters best friend…


    May 12, 2011 at 1:30 am

  7. Wow! Such a powerful poem. It brought me to tears.
    Especially because 4 months ago, I got the devastating news that my cat, best friend, and so much more was in heart failure.
    I can’t put into words what happened to me that day. It gave me new appreciation for every tiny thing he did.
    I’ve had 4 months of cuddling and learning the lessen of how important every moment is. The time is now here where its only fair to let him go. Its brutal.
    Thanks to Hart, I found a kitty that I bonded with immediately, and is hopefully coming to be a part of the family on Weds.
    New life, joy, laughter, soo excited.

    Frances Orpin

    September 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm

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