Remembering Niko

Remembering the journey

Memorial Messages

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paw print impression

Niko touched a lot of lives in his 16+ years with me. His passing was acknowledged by people far and wide. I received emails, cards, flowers, and forum posts in response to his death. This page is dedicated to sharing these, so I may forever hold onto them. The outpouring of love and support were truly heartwarming and I’ll always be so grateful.

LymphomaHeartDogs is a support group for people who have dogs that have been diagnosed with a type of canine cancer called lymphoma, lymphosarcoma or canine lymphoma. In order to belong to this group, your dog *MUST BE IN CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT*.

Below are some of the kind words from those that shared in our battle against Lymphoma, as well as others that shared their feelings via email after hearing of Niko’s passing.

:::

Bettina – I am so very sad for you as I read this.  You loved Niko so much and I am sure your heart is breaking.  I will light a candidate for Niko and all the other beautiful fur angels out there tonight.
My thoughts are with you.
Catherine & Jack

:::

Bettina, I am so sorry for your loss.  You are in our thoughts & prayers during this difficult time.
Lisa & Cayanne

:::

Bettina,
It makes me so sad to read your e-mail. I feel our Niko and Skyler had so much in common, their age and the Cushings. I know how heart broken you are but in time, you will feel surely blessed that you were able to have Niko so many years. He will live on in your heart forever. You will never forget him but it will get a little easier as time goes on. I lost my Sherlock 1 month ago and even though I cry a little each day, it is getting easier. I hope that you take care of yourself and find comfort in anyway that you can at this difficult time. Hugs, Georgia

:::

Bless you Bettina for being so unselfish and let your boy go when his time came. I am so sorry to hear he lost his fight. You are very lucky to have had him so long, but it doesn’t make it any easier when it is their time to leave us. He was a very lucky boy to have such a loving mom.

Take care of yourself and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Life is so unfair sometimes that in spite of all that we try to do, we can beat this horrible disease and it’s side effects!
Rest in Peace Niko!

:::

Bettina,

I am so sorry you did not get the long remission you were hoping for with Niko.

Just know that I share your grief and sense of loss, and understand how empty and quiet the house seems without your sweet boy.

I hope that knowing that others mourn Niko with you helps ease the pain of losing him, and that soon, one day, you can think of him with a smile in your heart instead of tears in your eyes.

Tami
Maggie, Cruiser, and Surfer, too!

:::

Godspeed Niko~our most sincere condolences to you Bettina.
Lynn and Destiny

:::

OMG Bettina, I am so so sorry. I can not believe it either. Sweet Niko did put up a good fights but knowing now that he is free and romping with the other babies must give you some relief. You were the best mommy to him and gave him many more years than the average fur baby, wow 16+ GOD BLESS NIKO.

:::

I’m so sorry, Bettina! You did everything you could for Niko and he thanks you for it. I like to think he found Rain and they are playing right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Suzanne and Angel Rain

Fall 2007

Oh Bettina, I’m so sorry for your loss of Niko. What a brave and valiant fight you both fought. You loved her so, and doing that last painful thing for her showed just how much. My heart goes out to you!
Amy P. and Hunter

:::

So sorry for your loss Bettina
Love N Hugs
Jo & Toby

:::

Bettina,
My heart sank when I read about your Niko becoming an angel. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Teressa & Kennedy

:::

Bettina,
I am so sorry to hear about Niko. I am so happy that you were able to spend so many happy years with him. He sounded like such an amazing little guy, from the moment you adopted him. Hopefully you will be comforted by your memories of so many years together.
Our Sincerest Condolences,
Hilary and Lilly

:::

Bettina,
I am so very sorry you have lost your dear friend Niko. I pray you will have comfort in all the wonderful memories you have from the past 17 years. What an amazing life to have shared…
Hugs
Carol and My Sweet Angel Marc Anthony

:::

Oh sweet sweet Niko 😦 Bettina, I know that you know having him in your life for so long was a miricale & a blessing, but it doesnt help that HUGE gaping hole you feel right now. But I have a small smile on my face thinking of the old wise boy up there, the King of all our angels, b/c of his age & wisdom. Sana was a big dope … 😉 So maybe Niko will keep him in line. ((((((hugs))))) R~

:::

Bettina,
I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Niko. The special bond that you had will continue on, just in a different way. I know that it will be difficult not to have his physical presence, having been with you almost half of your life, and all of your adult life.
His final resting place will be a beautiful tribute for such a special being.
Dori and Angel Drake

Spring 2007

:::

These next notes came after I shared the tribute I wrote for him…

:::

Bettina – what a beautiful tribute. I cried when I read the poem as it is so true and I know my time will come to make the choice for Bear. Niko was a beautiful dog and I can only imagine the loss you are feeling after 16 years with you. My heart goes out to you – you did a wonderful tribute – Niko is proud of you.
Linda and Bear

:::

Bettina, wow, HOW lucky was Niko to be blessed by having YOU as his mama. For as much love as he gave you, you did the same in return. A beautiful tribute.
Leisa

:::

Bettina
Your story of the first meeting, to the disappointment of the “hold until 4”, the joy of finding out he was for you and the years of love, fun, companionship and the tribute in death is a remarkable one. I am so touched by your words, Bettina. You have truly captured what your relationship was and is like with your “heart dog”, even now.
To show the progression of his life, through your eyes, your love was engaging; made me laugh and cry. The pictures of him lit up like a Christmas tree; the raincoat, him sprawled out on your bed, enjoying the company of the three girls (your mum, you and a sister?), him licking his nose when getting the chest rub, the snow falling on him…what wonderful memories.
These are memories that will last forever and your bond with Niko is a good part of why you are the loving, gracious person that you have become.
Thank you for sharing this part of your life.
Sue and Trigger

:::

Bettina, this was so wonderful. I loved your story and the pictures and videos enables you to know Niko. You had a rare gift of life with him for 16 beautiful years and lots of memories. He loved life. I absolutely loved the rain coat pictures, christmas lights oh and the one of him laying on his back with the paws in the air reminds me of how Thunder sleeps sometimes. Cheroush those memories, laugh and cry with your family because it seems to me he was also their heart fur baby as well.
Luv, hugs and wet kisses.
Amy and Thunder

:::

I love your tribute—thanks, Bettina! We all loved Niko as part of our family even though he had always been “Bettina’s dog.”
Imagine him with Gusti, Ned, Bismarck, et al, playing together talking about the good old days on Seneca Road and the fun they had with us.
I have looked at most of your 102 pictures—some are so precious of baby Niko and then old man Niko—and I can’t help but smile to have been blessed
with a wonderful pet like Niko—MR. PERSONALITY!
Your poem is lovely and so sincere from your heart, I understand your heart ache, your sense of loss though the joy of having had him for 16+years should
outweigh it all—just imagine never having had Niko in your life at all! Good thing I stopped at the pound that morning!!!!
Sweet little daughter of mine, I wish I could lift the pain out of your heart and sing “Heile, heile, Gaenschen, es wird ja wieder gut! Kaetzchen hat ein
Schwaenzchen, es wird alles wieder gut.” Remember?
I love you and share your sorrow-
Mom

loving the snow in 2003

Oh. My. I’m crying my eyes out over your beautiful poem Bettina…it’s so lovely. Then I watched your videos and smiled through those tears. As special as sweet Niko was, his owner is even more so. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Wishing you comfort,
Amy P. and Hunter

:::

Oh Bettina, I am sobbing. 1st, what a wonderful Mom you have! Thats SO cool about the adoption! 2nd, the poem … beautiful. & 3rd – LOVE LOVE LOVE the pics of Niko. Boy, that was one LOVED ADORED doggie. & 4th, thank you for donating to the MBF, they were a big help with Kibos chemo.
Im sorry you are hurting – I still hurt over Sana. But they are together, talking about what GREAT MOMS THEY HAVE! ;(

R~

:::

Beautiful tribute; love the adoption story, poem and the keene fashion sense in the rain . . . laughed through the tears….Bless you!
Debbie & Rusty

:::

That poem is really sweet. Thank you for sharing all the great moments of Niko’s life.
I love you! If you need to talk, please call me. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Love,
K

:::

This is such a wonderful tribute and the poem is so special. I read it on the main list first. I plan on putting Dunkin’s little videos on Youtube soon. He has one from a fly ball tournament that out team put out that I shared with the main list.
Thanks for sharing this and mentioning the Magic Bullet Fund. That’s a great idea.
Ginny, Dash and Angel Dunkin’

:::

Bettina,
This is great stuff! There are soooo many good pictures in there! Fun to look at! Too bad Hooter and Niko didn’t get to hang out and be buddies! This motivates me to go through Hoot’s video and upload some stuff. Thanks for sending this along. And thanks for showing interest in Hoot’s pics on my page.
SS,
CM

:::

Bettina, tears are streaming down my face. I’m very glad that my help & advice played a small part in giving the both of you this extra time together.
Debbie

:::

Hey there,
I am so sorry to hear about your boy. I am crying for you and him while I write this (don’t tell anyone that).
While I can never know what it feels like for you I know how horrible it has felt for me the two times I went through this in the past and I know it hurts. I was not able to be there for my buddies; the first one was my childhood dog who I had from when I was 5 or 6 until after I graduated high school. I could not bring myself to be there for her. I respect and honor your courage.
Hang in there. The pain and bad memories fade over time but the good memories stay with you forever.
If there is a heaven I know that all dogs go there for no purpose could be served by keeping the purest hearts ever created from heaven.
–TS

:::

Bettina,
It is very warming to hear he was surrounded by family. I know he was the light of your life and he was lucky to have such a loving caretaker in his life.
I have no words of wisdom. Yet a peice of my heart is here to help fill the gap.
Thank you for letting me know.
Love ya,
Michael

:::

Bettina,
Such a sad day….I’m so sorry about your Niko. I know you are in pain and disbelief. You have been a wonderful Mom and you must know how much are babies appreciate our love for them when that terrible time comes. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Sweet journey, Niko.
Monica and Angel Scooter

:::

Bettina,
I’m a sobbing, smiling, mess after watching Niko’s video’s and seeing all the pictures.
What a special guy. As lucky as you were to get so many years with him, it could never be enough. Thank you for sharing your boy with us.
Sometimes, certain people and dogs touch you a little more than others on the board… maybe it was that like Kennedy, Niko had other issues to deal with besides the Lymphoma, and maybe because she also shared a Cushings diagnosis (though hers was borderline). Whatever it was, I always closely followed your post on Niko.
Your donation to The Magic Bullet fund is a loving tribute to Niko, and a much needed help to some other sweet dog in need of treatment. We also recently donated to the Magic Bullet fund. (to honor the birthday of a friend’s dog who is a Lymphoma dog too.)
My thoughts & prayers are with you,
Teressa & Kennedy

:::

Thank you for letting me know.  Thanks for your kind words.  He did respond well for quite a while.  It was a pleasure to see you both, especially to see him in your lap on the couch in the reception area!
JK (our holistic vet / acupuncturist)

The thread from our Cush site. It was started  by Debbie (StarDeb55). Debbie is the same person that inspired me to seek treatment when Niko was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her cush pup Barkley had been diagnosed and treated with a single agent drug (doxorubicin) several years earlier. Barkley was a mature pup, like Niko, and he got an additional 20 months after treatment. Debbie discovered that her treating oncologist had moved to Virginia and was practicing at Southpaws!! So off we went to see the very same vet for the very same treatment plan. I will always be so greatful to Debbie for helping me see there were options. I got 8 months of cancer free time with my boy because I listened to her.
Debbie is also the person that told me about LymphomaHeartDogs. I would not have made it through treatment without this group of people.

Niko Memorial Thread on K9 Cush

taking in the snow in 2005

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FACEBOOK

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So sorry. Cherish the beautiful memories you have with him. Sending lots of hugs,kisses and love your way. ~ Catherine
:::
Oh sweetie…i am so sorry. ~ Alpana
:::
Such an awesome pet/friend/and companion. He will always live on through you and everyone that remembers him. We love ya B. ~ Chris
:::
I think that planting a tree for Niko is a wonderful idea. You will always be able to go there to think of him. I am so sorry for you loss T, I know that he was your best friend. My thought are with you. ~ Monique
:::
i’m sorry bettina. ~ Jennifer
:::
I’m so sorry Bettina…it’s never easy to say goodbye to a pet. They are our family, after all. Know that you guys are in our thoughts – Annie
:::
I know right now there are no words ….. know that I am here and my heart aches for your loss. ~ Laura
:::
I’m so sorry… I’ve been right where you are now… I’ve lost 2 dogs that we’re like my children and I know your heart is broken. Please find some comfort in the incredible love you shared. Sweet Niko… you were so lucky to have each other. xoxo ♥ ~ Shannon
:::
Sorry for your loss girl. Keep your head up and remember that he is in a place where there is no pain. ~ Joseph
:::
sorry B, he’ll be missed ~ Luke
:::
My prayers are with you Bettina. Stay strong. ~ Sherry

December 2008 photoshoot

sorry to hear it, but take comfort in the fact that he’s no longer in any pain! ~ Jeff

:::

Oh Bettina, you’re making me cry. I went through this a couple of years ago with my Yorkie, Spike. Now I’ve got an almost 9 year old Boxer, Bella. She’s slowing down, and I’m not ready for that pain again. My thoughts are with you. I think that planting a tree is a beautiful way to memorialize your sweet Niko. ~Danielle K
:::
Bettina sorry to hear about Niko! Just know that he is in a place with milk bones and pig ears galore! ~ Lauren
:::
Rest in Peace, Niko. A fine Roo who will be well remembered. Wishing the best to you, Bettina. ~ Jeremy
:::
i’m sorry. know you are surrounded in love to help you through this tough time. ~ Jennifer
:::
So sorry to hear about Niko. He was so lucky to have had such a wonderful life full of so much love. ~ Christina
:::
The memories will last forever… and the hurt will ease…..I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!! ~ Rhonda
:::
Bettina. This brought me to tears remembering letting my last one go. I feel your pain and know the empty feeling you have. Nothing anyone can say to make you feel better but know I’m thinking of you! I’ll fly your rig this weekend and think of dear Niko! ~ Esther
:::
Run free, sweet Niko. No more pain, no more pills, but once again whole in body and mind, still full of love for his mom and thankful for all she gave him.Peace to you, Bettina. ~ Leslie
:::
oh, Bettina. I am so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy. Our hearts are with you as you grieve! Big hugs to you… ~ Anne
:::
My heart goes out to you B. I know what it’s like after having to let go of Charlie after 16 1/2 years. Niko will always be in your heart. And he knows that he was very, very loved. Love you sweetie. ~ Diane
:::
ohhh geesh…love love love love to you. ~ Shannon
:::
Awwww….So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you. ~ Lynn
:::
Thanks to you, Niko had the best life! ~ Kerstin
:::
Tears in my eyes – he was so loved, and always will be – he’s in great company up there xxxxxxxxxxxx ~ Priscilla
:::
I’m sorry Bettina ~ Nick
:::
Sorry, you mention the bridge, so I take you know Rainbow Bridge. He’ll be waiting, frisky as ever… ~ Bolas
:::
so sorry to hear, great write up about him. i know you will miss him so much ~ Ernie
:::
I am very sorry Bettina. Niko was a family member to you and his loss has to be devastating. ~ Libby
:::
B-Sorry about your little friend. Any time you need a four legged companion to bring up your spirits, you know Bear is ready to spread some cheer for you. ~ Owen
:::
Bettina, so sorry for you. He sounds a special little man. ~ Linzi
:::
This is beautiful and I am aching for your loss. He was the most special four legged creature I’ve met in a long time. ~ Laura

Me and my boy, Christmas 1996 (ignore the floor – it was being re-done)

:::
He was wonderful. For the time i got to be a part of his life he was always in the thick of things. My best wishes and cosmic hugs. Love ya Betti. ~ Andy
:::
Goodbye Ebineezer Sneezer. ~ Doug
:::
I know how much that sucks having been there more than once myself. Just remember that all dogs go to heaven. ~ Timothy
:::
Sending you love and strength. Roo’s very lucky to have you. ~ Carole
:::
Oh Bettina…it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. So sorry for your loss ~ Melissa
:::
I’m so sorry, Bettina. Sending love your way. ~ Rosa
:::
I am so sorry, my heart goes out to you ~ Fantasia
:::
Oh, B. I’m so sorry-but he was a very lucky pup to have you looking after him and loving him for so long. Lots of love to you. I’m here if you need anything. ~ Carolyn
:::
Niko was the best, I’m so sorry for you. I still miss Dr. Buddy Klaw, my cat, everyday. I have his plaster paw print in my living room right now. But I know he’s safe now, surrounded by kittie porn, cuz that’s what he was into. He was a perv. Niko was the most lovable little pup ever. ~ Ryan
:::
I pray that you can find peace and comfort in this difficult time for you. You gave Niko the best possible life on this earth that he could have had. Hold onto that and find happiness in the sadness. ~ Chris C
:::
Oh sweet B, I am so sorry for you. He was such a loving, wonderful puppy dog. This makes me so sad. You took such good care of him and he knew it. I’m here for you and I’m thinking about you. All my love to you and Super J. ~ Liz
:::
My sympathies , hope all is well ~ Bob
:::

Me and Niko in 1998

Love for you and yours, those here and those gone have been honored to be loved by you. ~ Carole
:::
I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful dog and you gave him a wonderful life. ~ Lisa
:::
So sorry for your loss. Our sympathies to you and J. ~ Cathy
:::
lots of love for you right now – hope J hugs you very very tight…. xxxxxxxxxx ~ Priscilla
:::
I’m sorry, pudd’n ~ Pete
:::
Hi’hon, I’m so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you. What a beautiful boy you had and for so many years, what more could you have asked for. ~Lov’Ya~ Heather
:::
I think this sums up Niko pretty well too!
“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things – a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a… nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
~Phil
:::
<cry> our dogs really do become part of us. ((hugs)) ~Amy
:::
i am absolutely positive that you were the best mom and j was the best dad that any dog could ask for. niko undoubtedly understood and returned the huge love and connection that you had together. he had a great and long life and i think the hardest thing to face is that our furry friends just can’t live as long as we… can. it breaks my heart to hear of your loss, because i can’t imagine the pain i will be feeling when that happens to me. you are strong and your hearts were as one and they always will be. love you. ~ Jennifer S
:::
To know Niko was to love him , he touched all of our hearts making him a part of us – Ozzy , Rhonda , and myself will carry that piece around with us forever ~ Christof
:::
Just want you to know that you’re still in my thoughts. I was absolutely heartbroken when we lost my childhood dog, Muffin. Niko was a sweet pup with a lot of personality, and a super sweet face. Love you. ~ Carolyn
:::
So, so sorry. Hugs to you guys. Niko was an awesome dog with an awesome life. ~ Tara
:::
words cannot express…love and prayers ~ Kat
:::
So sorry Bettina. Pets are such a special part of life, and it’s so hard to lose one. Thinking of you. ~ Wendi
:::
Bettina…i am sorry sweetie…you must be hurting. Niko was lucky and very special. xoxo. ~ Alpana
:::
I’m so sorry, Bettina. xo-d ~ Danielle L
:::
Niko was so lucky to have you, sweet Bettina! What a great life! <hug> ~ Shana
:::
Oh, I know what you are feeling, Bettina. I am still heartbroken as well. I feel your pain–it is a physical ache that hits me at any time without warning. I will write more personally later. i am devastated for you and crying right along with you at this moment. ~ Leisa
:::
Bettina – I’m so very sorry… I’ve been away since Thurs afternoon and only just got back online and found out the sad news. I know that was the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make, but one made in love. Niko was indeed a very special ‘fuzzy person’ – to know the Roo was to love the Roo! He had charm, manners …and charisma – a true gentleman – and his bouncy demeanor with unbridled joy for life was infectious. He will be missed by everyone who’s life he touched. Sleep well, dear prince … ~ Lori
:::

Me and Niko Christmas 1998

I’m so so sorry to hear about Niko – he was such a sweet boy. We are thinking about you!! ~ Angela
:::
I’m so sorry, Bettina. I know how much I Love my Phoebe and cannot imagine what you are going through. Your cousin,  ~ Katharine
:::
Hey Bettina. Thinking about you. ~ David
:::
Bettina- I am thinking of you….
What a CUTIE Niko was! I remember playing with him when he was a puppy….and laughing sooo hard. (I think some of that was captured on tape….) What a well-behaved dog he became. I am sure your heart aches right now, because it isn’t easy to say goodbye to a loyal, special, loving pet/…part of the family. We spend so much time with a dog–they love us despite everything and never fail to make us happy.

I know that he had such an amazing life.
Big, big hug B. ~ Isabella
:::
i was not looking forward to this day…when i would be sending you my condolences regarding precious niko-roo
my heart just broke when saw your post
lovey, i e-hug you with all my strength. love you and remember we’re all here for you. xoxoxoxoxoxo ~ Mel
:::
I am so sorry to hear about Niko. I know how much he meant to you. I have never seen such a strong and loving relationship between anyone and their dog. A love we humans could learn a lot from! Unconditional and always happy. He lived the best life anyone could ask for. I will be thinking of you my dear friend. And one day i hope to see what beauty his energy will create in the cherry tree you plant. ~ Scott
:::
Bettina,
I am so sorry for your loss. I know I never met Roo, but I’ve been following things via FB. I’ve never been fortunate enough to have that type of bond with a pet. However, I have lost people very close to me, and even cared for a loved one who was dying of cancer. It’s not something you’ll ever be ‘over’ but he is a part of who you are and will always be with you. Just know that it’s fine to be sad — even 6 months from now.
Hang in there, lean on your friends and family,
you’re in my thoughts. ~ Leslie
:::
i just found out yesterday afternoon….lisa called to tell me the news. i’m so sorry…. i wish i could be there…. it’s too early to call you and it was too late when i got home last night but you are definitely on my mind. i can’t wait to hear your voice. i’m so sorry…sweet roo… ~ Christy
:::
I have been so out of the loop lately and I just back tracked a bit and read the news. I wanted you to know that you and J are in my thoughts often, a little more right now, ~ Dee

We also received some really lovely cards in the mail

Written by rememberingniko

January 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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