Goodbye Niko

This week our family said goodbye to our most loyal friend and the star of this blog, Niko Bear G.

Niko has been in our family for almost 14 years.  Kylie and I adopted him when he was 8 weeks old.  He was our first kid.  It was Niko that trained us to get outside for a hike or bike ride every day, rain or shine.  If we didn't we (or our furniture) paid the price.

Niko was built for snow and loved the mountains.  He enjoyed leash walks, but it was in the mountains that he came alive.  We are lucky enough to live in a place where the mountains could be his home.

His puppy stage was marked by boundless energy and enthusiasm.  Typically dogs grow up around 2 or 3, but Niko calmed down around 7 years old.  He was our constant companion on hikes, bike rides and picnics, rounding up the stragglers and keeping watch over all of us.

 Mountain biking was Niko's favourite thing, and in the last few years accompanying me trailbuilding  was a major pastime.  He was always gentle with the kids on the trail, both the volunteers and families hiking through.  Over the last year, as his joints got too stiff for biking, the slower pace of trailbuilding became his favourite pastime.  Adding kids to the mix brought out new protective instincts. Niko was gentle with the smallest, even when getting pinched or poked. And if I got too far ahead, or someone fell too far behind, Niko made his concerns clear and kept us tight.

Years of biking and hiking paid off and Niko was able to stay fit enough to hike right up until the end.  Just three weeks ago he was chasing mice through a boulder field like a young dog.  When the end came it was surprisingly quick.

Always a steadfast presence, his absence is felt more deeply than I expected.  As our first dog and our first kid, there is a hole there that no other dog can fill.  Niko we love you and feel blessed we were able to provide you with a life full of love and family and chasing squirrels.