Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Missing the Manipulation

I'm such a dog person, always have been. I had a special bond with Nicky, a German Shepherd mix, who was my primary companion during my hermit years in Vermont. I've blogged about her several times over the years -- when she was alive (Dogs, Spot the Dog), after she died (A Year Later), and in my dreams (Detailed Dreams).Yesterday marked 3 years since I lost her, and I like to remember her with happy thoughts.

When I first got Nicky from a shelter (a corner of someone's barn) in very rural northeastern Vermont, she'd apparently been ripped off the teat a bit early. I could easily hold her in the palm of one hand. She was so tiny, despite my ongoing rule of no dogs on the furniture, I'd hold her in my lap in my easy chair while she slept. I couldn't resist. When she woke and started gnawing my fingers or climbing all over me, I'd set her on the floor. Nicky quickly learned to manipulate me.

She grew at the rate puppies who'll become large dogs grow, and in a few weeks, she demonstrated great cunning (and charm). She'd wait until I was comfortable in my easy chair, leap up into my lap, and immediately feign sleep. She'd learned I wouldn't put her down if she were asleep.

It was very funny. I could flip her over, hold her upside down, jiggle her little body, sing her name...Nicky would remain limp and "asleep." I recall laughing so hard my stomach hurt. She "slept" through that too. In the end, she established a tradition I loved, where every night, she'd curl up with me in my chair.

December 2005

Once she'd grown, I'd sit at my computer writing for hours and hours, while Nicky lay faithfully at my feet, waiting patiently. When her patience finally wore out, or her stomach growled, or her bladder filled, she knew how to get me out of that office chair. She'd circle behind me, jump up, put a paw on each shoulder from behind, and begin to clean my ears. A dog tongue in my ear is a certain way to get me on my feet. Then she could lure me outside with her energy, and we'd romp and play.

Nicky was a special part of my life for 13 years, and I still think of her often. I miss so much about her, even the way she manipulated me.


  1. My old cat Buster spent two days in the hospital last week. He's home now, but not moving so fast. I know 15 isn't old or young for a cat, but I also know his time is coming. Doesn't make it any easier to take though. I understand what Nicky meant to you, Keith. They're so loyal; I can't imagine ever returning that kind of devotion. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thank you for those wonderful and loving memories Keith.

  3. It's hard to watch pets age, especially if they get sick. I hope Buster stays healthy a good long while now, Joylene. Yes, you "knew" and loved Nicky though all our correspondence over the years. Jack, of course, joined me in loving the real thing.