Ode to Nine Nine's

Nine Nine's is the nickname of my Husky pup NIKI
Some cultures (and hearts) receptively wait 1 year to speak of things passed. 
Niki died just about 1 year ago. 
This is his Eulogy.
Niki was born in the Yukon.
He is looking at the Yukon River from a bluff just above Dawson City.
He was born just down the river on a dog lot.
He lived there for 5 years with about 40 other sled dogs.
This is what he looked like when I took him on.
He was 5 and was to be shot (along with a few other dogs) that summer.
Many hardcore sled dogs are run hard, fed shitty, and live in the coldest of cold winters and hottest of hot summers with only a plywood box for protection.
By 5 years old they are run down, have injuries and are neurotic.
Niki was all the above.
He was skinny as hell with no fur on his nose....he was just plain ugly.
But there was some sorta magic sweetness to him that I believed in.
I had to teach him how to climb a step (let alone many steps!)
How to be INSIDE. 
How to walk on carpet, concrete, tile, wood floors.
He had NO idea how to and would just stall and lie flat like I was dragging him thru hot lava.
He had to meet new dogs that were NOT sled dogs.
Buddy, a HUGE black lab, was his first encounter.
They became best freinds and yard mates for a couple years.
Buddy taught him many things about being a domestic.
Niki adjusted fast and despite his nervousness was a really HAPPY guy.
He just loved not being retained on a chain or leash.
And this was one of the miracles of him.
It is very very rare that one can own an ex-sled dog and keep it off leash. 
Very very rare to not have them run away, fight with other dogs or disappear.
Somehow Niki just NEVER took off!  
He stuck close to me and for the rest of his life and all the places we traveled and lived 
Niki was RARELY ever tied up again!
Niki got to travel ALOT! 
This was his first road trip from Dawson City to Victoria BC.
Filmmaker Lulu Keating drove us down and she let Niki have the whole back seat.
On this trip is when I truly fell in love with him.
Even though he ate a whole extra large bag of pepperoni sticks (while we were inside the gas station) and ended up farting the whole three days.
The stinkiest three days of our lives!
1 year after just me and Niki, Jesse and Bev entered the picture.
These became two very important people in his life.
They loved and cared for him for many years to come.
He loved to sleep in soft moss in the shade of the forest on a hot summer day.
Niki's biggest trip was a road trip from The Yukon to Baja Mexico.
This trip was to change all of our lives.
See Niki not only loved his people freinds.....
Niki LOVED to make dog freinds.
We camped the whole way down.
Niki would sleep outside the tent (unleashed!!).
Every morning, as we slept in, this is what we would wake up to....
Niki whining gently outside of the tent wanting us to start the day.
And he ALWAYS had a new friend to introduce to us.
The first poor, abandoned little Mexican dog he brought us we named Pepita.
And Niki begged us to take the little guy with us cause he found him sleeping under a garbage can.
Good god...look at this could we say no.
Pepita traveled with us.
We settled in Todos Santos for a couple months.
We were all living a sweet lazy life, until......
Pepita just disappeared.
(this was the last photo of him)
Again...we could leave the Niki, unleashed, in the yard and leave for a few hours and he would stay.
Pepita stuck close to his mentor and savior Niki....but how and why he disappeared we dont know.
 Even though we were sad..... Niki continued to collect a motley crew of buddies.
 I would call him over from his wanderings with freinds and he would bring them all over and beg for me to feed them all.
 And then there was MISS NEGRITA.
Another skinny, mangy, neurotic dog that Niki truly adored.
And this sweet girl wormed her way into our hearts.
 Long story short....Negrita made the long road trip back to the Yukon.
Niki and her were forever best buddies.
 They were a couple of characters.
Always in conversation with us and between themselves.
Many winters and summers passed in the Yukon and Niki and Negrita became well adjusted rescue dogs that kept me busy every day.
They were my best freinds.
A cross Canada trip (here they are on the Canadian Shield on the shores of Lake Superior) landed us in Halifax.
 Niki was definitely slowing down by the time we got to the east coast.
He had a stroke the year before and we though he was done for.
                                        But somehow he bounced back and hung on another three years.
It was his extraordinary spirit and love of life that kept him going.
Niki adjusted well to city life retirement.
Peeing on EVERYTHING and walks in parks and making freinds with EVERYBODY pleased him.
These pictures in the park were his last walk.
You would never know that he was in extreme pain and walking, getting up and down caused him to yelp and cry cause it hurt so bad. 
Even though his body was finished his mind and spirit were still so full of light.
Niki IS, BY FAR, THE MOST, love and light filled being I have EVER known.
He was simply HAPPY everyday.  EVERYDAY.
For now he rests in an urn on my alter.
Soon I have to let his ashes free so he can run and play and wander unhindered.

I am so so grateful that he came into my life. That he brought Negrita into my life. That he taught me what JOY is.


Here is a link to a video of Niki.
He is glorious and funny but my voice over / dog talk is TOTALLY RIDICULOUS! 
But anything Niki is worth embarrassing myself over.