Nicholas,  aka Nick, NickE, Mr. Frisky was a foundling on the streets of Long Beach – no collar and no chip, but he must have been somebody’s baby because of his impeccable manners. Don Lane gave him his Freedom Ride on December 4, 2019 and named him Nicholas for the season.  We adopted him on January 5, 2020 and that became his rebirthday.  Three vets guessed his age from 5-9 years.  He was a sweetheart and a true gentleman to all he met.  After a too short three rebirthday celebrations he took a big chunk of my heart across the Rainbow Bridge.

Nick and I were almost immediate empaths, In the mornings while I did back exercises on the floor, he’d lie beside me doing puppy stretches – what a long boy he was. A favorite morning spot was the dining room, the center of our two-story home.  Coming down the stairs, I could hear his tail thumps before I could see him and his crooked little smile and then his half roll request for tummy rubs.  I’m fortunate to have in-home massage therapy every other week.  After greeting George at the door, Nick would wait until I was face down on the table and then lie down under the table for his massage from me.

NickE – the E for excited as the wild child thrashed his stuffed duck in the middle of the kitchen, swinging it by a wing, tossing, catching, throwing, pouncing and swinging again and again.  E for excited when he saw socks in my hand because that meant a walk and he would do zoomies while I put on my shoes – it never got old for him.  Mr. Frisky on his walks – the squirrels and sometimes found fruit, avocadoes, apples or peaches.  He especially liked crows, he’d bark and they’d hop and he’d lunge and dance at the end of his leash, barking until they flew away. When we got home it was crushed ice and a handful of frozen blueberries.

On February 12 he was out of sorts and we rushed him to ACCESS Pasadena where they confirmed internal bleeding and a splenic mass.  He coded twice during emergency surgery but my strong boy came back each time.  The surgeon said the hemangiosarcoma had metastasized to his liver and lungs but that once healed from the surgery, he’d be fine until he wasn’t. Even then, all the vets assured me that the progression would be sudden and with some discomfort but painless.

Late on the morning of March 6 he collapsed and was unable to get up. We carried him to his favorite spot in the kitchen and put a pillow under his chest to ease his breathing and so he could look out upon his backyard.  We loved on him and scratched his oh so soft ears and talked about past walks and all the squirrels and crows he’d vanquished.  He rallied in the early evening and although he couldn’t move, he was alert and enjoyed a variety of his favorite treats and the light was back in his eyes and he was home with his head in my lap and a paw in my hand when his Aunt Gerry, our vet, helped him transition across the bridge.

My favorite question on the adoption application is where will your dog sleep.  It seemed obvious to me the first time, wherever he wants, but then I learned that Sandy, our first Golden, had been kept in and slept in a backyard.   Home and its comforts are important and as my wife reminded me, especially at the end time. Nick sleeps in my chest in the hole left by the chunk of my heart that he took with him.

John and Pamela Halleran