Remembering Niko

Remembering the journey


with 6 comments

I can’t believe this year will mark 5 years without Niko. I still can’t believe I have to live without him. I’m still surprised that I made it out of the darkest, most difficult time of my life. I still go back to that dark place sometimes, but I feel more confidence that I can pull myself out.

I guess I should set some goals for this year. For someone that likes structure, I sure am bad about setting goals for my own life. It’s not like they need to be monumental goals – like running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Just things that I know will make life good.

Finding my confidence with agility. Hayley is awesome and we are having so much fun running agility. I know we are a good team, I just need to be more confident, more aggressive, so we can keep on improving. I have been very good about maintaining the focus of ‘we are doing this for fun’. That is the heart of it all and we excel there 🙂

Finding ways to open people’s minds about rescue. It pains me that so many in my life do not choose to do a rescue when they add a dog. I find myself getting angry about this and it always takes time for me to get over. That may not change, but what I’d like to do is find an approach that might open someone up to considering adopting – or at the very least – fostering. I’m not sure how to do this yet, as I don’t want to alienate anyone or make anyone feel bad (because then they will shut me out), but to educate them and take away the misconceptions of rescue.

I want to be happier. That’s a broad goal, I know. Who doesn’t want to ‘be happier’ really? I think I can achieve some of this by finding positives in things / people. I need to take a bit more time to enjoy those I love, rather than put them off when I’m busy – stupidly assuming they’ll be there  when I do find time. I have to make that time.  I need to slow down sometimes, and say ‘no’ once in a while to extra responsibility. I need to date my husband more often. I need to remind myself of the differences I’ve made, not the things I cannot change…. keep telling myself the Starfish Story. I need to focus on the good qualities in people, and not be distracted by disappointment in an area where they are lacking. We all have good and bad qualities. I must remember to appreciate all the good.

Helping animals and people is something that enriches my life. It can be hard though, and I can’t do it if I let it run me down (this is really the animal rescue side of things). There is so much bad in the world, it consumes me sometimes. I hope I can get better at focusing on the good. The more I can do this, the more resilient I can be and the more I can help.

There is more… I know… but since I’m terrible about finishing any posts, I’m ending on this for now. It’s Feb 6 and there are many days ahead. I already know some will be very hard.

Today, however, I volunteered to take 3 kittens on death row (slated to die tomorrow) from a rural shelter in NC. I saved 3 lives. I’m grateful for the various rescues that pulled together to make this happen. I feel good that I made that difference for 3 little lives 🙂 I need to keep that in my heart. ❤

Leaving with one of our runs from January’s trial


July 30, 2014

July is a tough month. It’s the month Niko died. I still miss him EVERY SINGLE DAY, but some days sting more than others. This year was easier in some respects, as I’ve been through this loop before and have developed a bit of a resistance to the intense grief. The thing that made this July harder than others, however, was NO ONE remembered. No one…. That broke my heart. I forgive them, because it was not a piece of THEIR soul that was lost 7/16/09. It was not their life that was forever changed… forever scarred. Here we are, almost done with this month, and I’m grateful.

Agility has been a saving grace. It has given me something to set goals with and strive for. It has given me focus and also some great highs. I need this… I need this… I have been so lost for so long. I still feel lost, but for these short bursts, I have purpose once again.


November 20, 2014

This year has flown by. Maybe it was because of the seemingly short summer. Winter seemed to last forever. I love winter, but it was nice to enjoy some sun and warmth. We seemed to have skipped most of fall (my favorite season) to get back to winter.

This year has had some challenges for me on a personal and emotional level. I’m happy to say that on a professional level, all is well. I’m truly happy in that regard, for the first time in years. Rescue challenges me… I’m sometimes not sure that I can keep going, but how could I stop. And I feel like such a cop out, since I don’t even do some of the hardest work.

My father’s Alzheimers is advancing quite rapidly, and I know his days of remembering me are limited. I’m doing ok with this so far, but I know the upcoming changes will be hard to adjust to. The lack of quality time I’ve gotten to spend with Jonathan has been taxing. I need to find a way to get us some real time together at least weekly. It’s been like watching someone slowly drown.

Agility is going great at least. Hayley and I accomplished our 2014 goals… we got our 2 Master’s titles – MX and MXJ. She has been in the top 4 placements a few times now, and we even won recently. Not bad for my little All-American rescue. Agility has also helped get me in better shape, which is a bonus.

So… onward and upward. Time to set some goals for 2015. Top priority is to make a little more time for those important to me. I can’t ignore problems… there is no true escape. And there will only be regret, later. Next week I go to Germany for the last time with my mom. It should be a fun adventure with all the ladies in my family. A good break from all the stress of life, and hopefully, inspiration for 2015 goals.



Written by rememberingniko

February 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Please know that your blog and your involvement in other support groups has made a difference to many people over the years. I personally found solace from you reaching out to me when my dog passed after a 3.5 year battle with lymphoma. You helped me over the hurdle of grief. Thankfully it’s no longer a hurdle for me – just happy memories and comfort that I will always have my angel with me. Even though we will never meet face to face, you have made a difference for me. But as you rightly point out, you do need to sometimes say “no” and take care of yourself and your family.


    February 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm

  2. Thank you. You have helped me understand that how I feel is so normal. I lost my Brittany, Riley this past Dec and my lab, Biscuit a year before that. I still fill the pain. You have helped me to understand. Niko was lucky to have you and such a beautiful friend you had. Run with the pack Niko.


    March 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    • Thank you for your very kind words Dale. I’m sorry you’ve had 2 losses so close together. I am glad Niko’s site offered a little comfort.


      March 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm

  3. Thank you so much for writing this wonderful blog – I bookmarked it when my dog Bonnie was sick with lymphoma and now, a month after her death am returning just to read again, and cry a little of course. I also felt she was my deepest soul mate and it is the coming to terms with the fact that I will never see or touch her again that is so hard. I have been through other losses in my life but this is a hard one.
    I didn’t join the Lymphoma Heart Dogs group because it is only for dogs who have chemotherapy but I also got a lot of wonderful support from the yahoo group Artemesinin for Canine Cancer. Beautiful people there.

    Bonnie had a different type of lymphoma – only one tumour that was attached to her intestines. It is the rarer type of lymphoma and not so researched nor improved by chemo. We had the 4-6 week prognosis and she lived 14 weeks with all the alternative medicines I gave her.

    I love those photos of Niko that you took the last days. DId you find, as I did, that when you looked later you could see the tiredness in his eyes? I see that look in Bonnies last photos and it makes me feel surer than ever that she was ready to go when I did make that call to the vet.

    I’m glad you kept writing even after Niko died – it is helpful for me to see how things pan out. I hope the kittens that you rescued bring you much joy.

    Thank you again


    • Kate – I am so sorry for your loss of Bonnie. Thank you for the info on the other group. I’m glad my site helped you a little. As I approach the 5th anniversary of losing Niko, I am grateful for all I recorded here to remember and to help others. When you mentioned the pictures, it filled my eyes with tears…. yes… yes… I saw it. May you continue to find your way without Bonnie. It is a long hard road, but there will come a time when you realize it’s a little easier to breath. My sincerest condolences. Thank you for taking the time to write to me and share your story.
      – Bettina


      March 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: