Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goodbye Niles Allen-Jenkins

In November 2007, after the loss of my beloved dog Spike to a six-year battle with cancer, the Bluegrass Barkery and I teamed up to help raise money for canine cancer research. Spike had only been gone less than a month when I found myself standing in the kitchen of the Clay Avenue store taking pictures of patient dogs along with an even more patient Santa, Jim Harvey. I felt like I was standing in a dream as I was still in such great mourning over the loss of Spike and taking pictures to honor her death, did not seem real to me. Dog after dog and picture after picture, my day was moving along as usual with bouncy dogs and wagging tails; that is until I saw Niles. I had turned my head to glance into the store to see how many people were standing in line waiting for photos, when I noticed a large elderly greyhound standing quietly by his owner’s side. The main door to the Barkery was open as I saw them in near silhouette form. I could see from a glance that Niles was an older dog (one of the first that I had seen all day long). At that moment the room was silent and thoughts of my old dog Spike came flooding back to me. Spike was one day shy of her 14th birthday when she passed away; she has always looked so young and so strong up until six months before her death. The cancer and her diabetes had taken a toll on her once beautifully muscled body. I had to look away from Niles as I felt my eyes well up in tears, somehow he and Spike felt like one dog. As the afternoon rolled on, Niles found his way into the little make shift studio at the Barkery to have his photos taken with Santa. I stood in the corner filling out orders all the while I had one ear listening to Niles’s owner Robert, talk about Niles health. Robert talked about all the vet appointments, different medications, modifying the house, etc. So many of the same things my husband and I did for our baby girl Spike. So many similarities were stacking up for Niles and Spike, that Niles immediately found a special place in my heart. I remember clearly how Robert came over to pick out his selection of photos for printing and through the tears that were now streaming down my face; I offered him the entire CD of all the photos taken. I knew in my heart that time had become precious for the two. I think in death that we truly learn how precious life is, how precious time with those we love is. That was where my journey with Niles began. We spent many years in studio sessions at my house along with Santa photos at the Bluegrass Barkery. I always looked forward to petting Niles beautiful soft gray coat, and smelling his natural baby-powder-like scent. Niles was a special dog. He lived to the age of fifteen, an age that is unheard of for greyhounds. I know in my heart that the love of his owners kept Niles alive. Next to their lives, love was the most beautiful thing they shared together. Goodbye sweet Niles, may Spike be there greet you as you leave this life behind and race off toward Rainbow Bridge.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown...

1 comment:

TIMT said...

I must first send my regards on your lost.We are Whippet people and i have found them being so close in disposition it's uncanny.We adopted Ivan 11 years ago from an internet post in Alabama.We knew immediately knew there was a problem when we first met him.PARVO,it was almost his end but he made it and is our miracle dog.He is showing his age but at times looks like a puppy.I know that there will never be another Niles but I hope you can fill the void in your life.have a great day,Tim and Janie Terry.