Tribute - Some angels have four legs and fur

By Jane Adams

Nikita Isabella – thank you for being you. I will love you forever…

How do you even begin to pay tribute to such a wonderful four-legged angel? How do you put in words all the gratitude and gratefulness you have in your heart for 13 years of unconditional love? You don’t. All you can do is treasure in your heart all the wonderful memories you have built up together over the years and treasure them forever (and often wipe away the tears as the memories flow).

After our beautiful Collie, Ranger, turned one, we knew it was time to start looking for a soul mate for him. So in June 2001, much similar to the joy experienced when a close family member brings a new child into the world, our beautiful Nikita Isabella, the most beautiful Golden Retriever, was born. Ten weeks later, and with much anticipation in our hearts, she was finally brought into our home and introduced to our family. It took quite a while for our Collie to accept this bundle of golden fluff, but eventually she charmed him too and our family was complete.

Sweet memories

Nikita has been gone three months and ten days as I write this, and the lump in my throat – along with a smile on my face – pretty much tells the story of her life.

Nikita Isabella was always the lady of the house. While she was never the brightest of the dames, we always said we chose her for her beauty and not her brains. Her favourite game of all time was statues – she would stare you in the face and challenge you not to blink, and on most occasions she would win. Although her breed labelled her a Retriever, she never really got the hang of that title and she would joyfully watch as you threw any object away in the distance and look at you with such joy and expectation that you (and only you) would go off to retrieve it.

But having said that, her favourite place in the whole world was the beach. We went down to our holiday home on the KZN South Coast many times every year and she was often overwhelmed with the joy of trying to retrieve waves. This was her playground, the ocean her joy, and her daily early morning jogs with mommy were our quality times together, ending with a good hard run with our feet just touching the waves.

She and Ranger became inseparable and he treated her like a first-time daddy looking after his newborn baby girl. She very seldom barked and never showed any form of aggression whatsoever – this was Ranger’s territory and she happily left it to him.

She was the clumsy child who encouraged us to put her on a medical plan. Between being stung by a swarm of bees when poking her nose in the wrong place to somehow being bitten by a spider, she was always in the wars and gracefully took her medication or accepted her wounds being bandaged.

Life changes

Sadly, our human family separated and our hearts were torn apart when the only solution was to split her and Ranger to live in separate homes. Nikita Isabella was my shoulder to cry on and my comfort zone for many months as we recovered from our lives being turned upside down.

I was then fortunate enough to find a wonderful partner and Nikita Isabella found a new canine family and welcomed them into her heart gracefully. She was forever the matriarch and a loving member of the pack and spent the last six years of her life watching as her new family evolved with a new canine addition and two new little human ones.

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

On Monday the 10thof February 2014, Nikita Isabella suddenly stopped eating and began fading away in front of our eyes. After visits to vets and specialists, to our horror she was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer that was spreading fast and for which there was no cure. On Tuesday the 18th of February we received the news that she was fading fast and we had to make the hardest decision of our lives.

I held her in my arms as she left us and I told her to go to Ranger (who had passed 18 months earlier). Gently I told her to think of the ocean and sand and to run to where she needed to go.

Three months and 10 days later, there is still a huge void in our lives and I’m not convinced it will ever be filled. Nikita Isabella – thank you for being you. I will love you forever…


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