When I think about Niki I think about a beautiful, tall, white dog which is unbelievably loyal, loving, lively and has big, brown and beautiful yet somehow sad looking eyes. Maybe she had that look in her eyes because of her history or maybe that’s just how it appeared to me.

When people saw Niki for the first time they usually experienced fear and the urge to run away. That’s probably because Niki did look like a big, crazy, bloodthirsty dog from the outside and went crazy over the smallest movements and sounds. To be honest I loved that about her. There’s nothing that could make me feel safer than a dog everyone is frightened of. Maybe going to the park wasn’t the easiest and most relaxing task with her, but I surely didn’t need to be scared about anything or anyone.

I didn’t know Niki when she was a puppy, but I’ve heard her story. It’s quite sad and sometimes I wonder if it’s the reason behind the sad look in her eyes. Niki was born on a cold and snowy winter night and discovered by a guard who was taking his nightly stroll in the neighborhood. Several puppies were lying covered in snow and the mother was nowhere near so when the guard took a closer look he realized that all of them, but one, had frozen to death. The little survivor was Niki. The guard might have been worried about whether the mother would return, but taking the surviving puppy with him was probably a safer option. The guard asked a man named Atila to take care of the puppy and he agreed, but said that it couldn’t be permanent since he already had a dog. However when someone came to take Niki permanently Atila had already grown to love her and was unable to give her away. So Niki stayed and when I got to know her I started loving her as well.

Whenever we were in the garden Niki was nearby and she would never leave us completely out of her sight. First we weren’t sure why exactly she would never leave our side, but we were told that she wanted to protect us. When we would put up a tent in the garden to spend a night outside Niki would always stay in front of it. One warm summer night I decided to just sleep outside on huge pillow and she was by my side the entire time. She would bark at everything, even the smallest movement of a leaf, but I was able to sleep peacefully, knowing that she would keep me safe and stand guard all night.

Niki’s attitude towards cats was rather typical, she hated them. So when we first got our cat Kaju, we were really worried that our dogs would try to hurt her, but somehow they seemed to realize that Kaju was part of the family and they didn’t mind her at all. Kaju was even allowed to sleep by Niki’s side and Niki would protect her as well. Niki always protected the ones she loved.

I could write about how Niki broke her leg and that she got cancer, but during the last few weeks of her life she wasn’t herself. One day she would be fine and the next day I would come home to a dog covered in blood. Niki was a real fighter and she would still try to protect me by barking at everything even when she was at her weakest. So I spend her entire last day sitting by her side, which seemed to keep her calm even though she could barely breathe anymore and couldn’t even stand up.  So I prefer to remember Niki the way she really was which is strong, loyal, loving and always barking at invisible creatures to keep us safe.


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