7 minutes reading time (1437 words)

Six Years

Today is October 3rd. For most people, today is just a normal day. A day like any other. People go to work, go shopping, do normal things. Today is not a normal day for me. Today is a reminder of a loss that even now, six years later, I'm still not recovered from. Six years ago today Nikita passed away in my arms. Yeah for most people the loss of a dog is just part of life. They mourn, they move on. For me, Nikita was always more than just a pet. She was my baby. Losing her was like losing a piece of my soul.  

 I adopted Nikita from a shelter when she was almost six months old. I had gone to the shelter to look at puppies. I wanted a tiny little pitbull that I could love and enjoy watching grow up. When I got to the shelter they told me her story before they brought her out to meet me (she was the only 'puppy' they had at the time). She was only a few weeks old when they found her and her brother. It was the middle of winter and they had been found in a dumpster out in the cold. Some heartless person had thrown them away like they were a pieces of trash. These two little, helpless pitbulls were all each other had in this world. The shelter took care of them and got them healthy and ready to adopt. Within the first month, her brother was adopted and she was left alone, in the shelter, abandoned by the world.

The girls working at the shelter explained to me that she was very skittish around people but she was also a super happy dog. They all felt bad for her, one of them would even take her home every few days because she felt so bad for her and wanted her to know love. They had named her Nikita after she had been at the shelter for 2 months because they didn't want her to be the only dog without a name.

I had decided (unconsciously at the time) to take her home as soon as I heard her story but, when the door opened and this happy, wiggling, skinny dog came running towards me I consciously knew she was coming home with me. It didn't matter what it cost, how much work it meant, this amazing little dog was full of love and I wanted to be able to be the one to give her a life. 

 I wasn't prepared to go home with a dog that day. I had to stop and buy food and bowls and even a leash but the second I got her in the house, I knew I had made the right choice to save her. She just wanted to be loved by everyone, she wanted to love everyone. She introduced herself to my sister in law by running across the room, knocking her over and French kissing her. This scrawny little ball of love overpowered everyone who came into her life with unconditional love.

I had gotten a dog because her story broke my heart and I couldn't walk away. At the time I had no idea how much she would change my life. I didn't know that she literally would be the thing that saved me. She grounded me after a hard day. She made me smile even on the days when I was so depressed I couldn't get out of bed. She gave me a reason to want a better life because I wanted her to have the best life possible. She was my reason to keep living when I no longer wanted to live.

  When she was diagnosed with Addisons disease I worried every day about her medication and if she was eating or drinking enough. It was like having a baby only worse because this little one would never be able to feed herself. She would never be able to walk herself or be left alone. She became my whole life. When she ate through a bedroom door during a thunderstorm because I wasn't home (she didn't like thunderstorms and I guess she thought I was in my bedroom or maybe she just wanted to be somewhere where she felt comfortable), I spent weeks worried that she would die of internal bleeding or something because she ate a freaking door. She had rubbed off all the skin from under her nose, it took months to heal back.

It wasn't the first time she had done something silly like that. She ate a remote control and Big Boy plastic piggy bank at my brothers' house. As angry as I got over things like that when they happened, I never could stay angry at her. As soon as she saw me she would wiggle her butt so hard she would almost fall over. Hell half the time if she hadn't seen you in a day or two she would happy pee all over the floor as soon as she saw you because she was so excited. I can't even count the number of times she would get so excited she was hard to calm down.

I can't even put into words how she made people feel. Everyone who met her loved her. She was more than just a pet. She was the perfect companion. It's been six years since she died in my arms and it hurts just as much today as it did that day. I still walk into the house where she passed away (my mother lives there) and I expect to see her sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for me. I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night because I feel her lay down next to me, even though it has been six years since a dog has jumped into my bed. 

People die, pets die, it's part of life. People will tell you it gets easier with time but it doesn't. It doesn't matter if you lose a grandparent or parent or a child. It doesn't get easier; you just find a way to learn to live with the pain. The pain never really goes away. It just lives inside you in a different form. You push it aside; you manage to find a way to keep moving forward in life knowing that a part of you that loved them is now broken.

I've done a lot of soul-searching in the last couple of years and I know that things happen exactly the way they need to happen, even if I can't see what those reasons are at the moment. Nikita leaving this world is a memory I will have burned into my brain forever but, it's also something I know needed to happen. She was two months away from being eleven years old. Of course, we didn't actually know her real birthday because she had been tossed aside in a dumpster so I gave her my birthday month. She got to celebrate her birthday with me all month long and be spoiled silly.

She lived longer than the vets thought she would in the beginning. They told me when she was diagnosed that I'd be lucky if she made it to her 6th birthday. I'm grateful for the ten plus years I had with her. I'll forever be grateful for all of the amazing life lessons she taught me. For the ability to discover who I actually am because of how deeply I cared for her. I will never forget how she not only changed my life but saved it.

I was a confused and emotional teenager when I adopted her. She helped me grow up, helped change me into a better person. I would not be who I am today without having her in my life. She is and always will be the thing that saved me.

I miss her every single day and although she wasn't a person, she impacted my life as if she was.


I've spent today crying, writing, remembering. Thinking about the changes that have happened over the years. The people that have come and gone from my life. The people who remain. The things that I now value in life and what it all means. She wasn't a person but for ten plus years, she was my baby. 

Nikita, I miss you every day. I think of you every day and I'm grateful to have been the one to spend your life with you. I hope, wherever you are, you have lots of kongs filled with peanut butter and stuffed bears to suck on.............  HUGS 

Thankful
Losing My Purpose
 

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Monday, 20 August 2018
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