Nika & Noah, a Love Story

Our daugher’s dog, Nika, has been staying with us since early June, when Megan got her cast for a broken ankle. Since she wasn’t allowed to put any weight on her foot, she was using a knee scooter and it just seemed easier to bring Nika to our house, which delighted Noah, of course. This is the longest time they have been together since Megan adopted Nika in 2011, when she lived with us for about six months and Noah presumably taught her everything he knew about being a dog and living with the MacGregors.

They have a distinct language in their barks and what we think of as words seem to be expressed in the tone, texture, speed, and pitch of the barks. For instance, when both dogs get a marrow bone, Nika immediately takes hers elsewhere in the house or outside, where she hides it. There’s deliberate intent about her actions and Noah’s reactions that suggest neither of them live entirely in the moment, as I thought for years. Dogs, cats, and other animals plan, project, remember.

After Nika has hidden her bone, she then trots back into the house and barks at Noah, a certain bark that is the same every time and seems to translate as, Dude, share your bone, okay? Most of the time, Nika ends up working away at two marrow bones because Noah has given her his.

They also have games that are like competitions. This one seemed to be about who could dig the deepest hole and bury the Frisbee under mounds of dirt so the other can’t find it. Each day at the dog park, the hole got deeper.

Then there’s the game about who gets the Frisbee or the ball. Nika looks fierce in this photo, like she’s about to bite Noah’s nose off, but it’s mostly bluster.

Every day around 4 PM, we take the dogs to our dog park. And they know when it’s time. If we’re a few minutes late, both dogs start pacing, barking, run back and forth to the door. They spend a few minutes sniffing butts with other dogs, but generally trot off together to hunt for squirrels, happy to be together.

During many of these afternoons at the park, I follow them around at a distance, curious about what intrigues them – a particular scent, a bird, squirrel, ball, Frisbee, a hole. At these times, they really are completely immersed in the moment – a sensory moment that pulls them in completely.

Their memories of other dogs and people are astounding and it’s not just the smell of either one, but the voice (human or canine), the movement, the presence. The other dog or human may not have been around for months, but the recognition happens regardless. Hey, there, where’ve you been? What’s up? What’s going on?

 They also recognize places. On occasions when we have visited Megan and the car pulls to a stop at her cub, Noah leaps out of the open window to greet Nika before she comes racing out the front door. When Nika visits us after a long hiatus and we pull into the dog park, she whines and barks, her excitement so palpable it’s obvious she knows where she is and can’t wait to get out and run.

On one occasion, after Nika had visited and left, Noah sank into what can only be called a depression; he didn’t eat for 3 days.

It feels like these two have known each other in past lives, that they are soul mates, and perhaps that’s the synchronicity, that they would meet again through us. Both are rescues.  Accuse me of anthropomorphism, but hey, there is great love here. You can feel it when you’re with them. And at the end of the day, Nika and Noah are rarely very far apart.

 

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12 Responses to Nika & Noah, a Love Story

  1. Dale Dassel says:

    I love our puppers – Henry and Coco – our ‘tweenie dachshunds (sized halfway between full-size and miniature). Can’t imagine our home without doxies roaming around. Having dachshunds is a long-standing family tradition that goes back to God-knows-when, but I grew up with them. It’s sad when they pass on, and when that happens, it’s usually a few years before we bring new dachshunds into our lives (usually in pairs, somehow, so they always have a companion); partly out of grief and respect for the departed. It would feel wrong (and hasty) to replace a dog almost immediately, but I also like to believe that the time elapsed grants the soul of our previous pets the chance to go through the reincarnation cycle and be reborn into the dogs that we choose next. It really does make me feel happy to gaze into those beautiful brown doxie eyes and think that our faithful companions are looking back on the familiar faces that have always cared for them over their many lives. All pets love with unconditional devotion, and we humans should follow their example and return that love always. 🙂

  2. Vicki DeLaurentis-momwithwings says:

    I love these two dogs, you can see their bond.

  3. C.J. says:

    P.S. Storm is given doggie biscuits as treats, and we call them “cookies”. She knows that word ‘cookie’ with great relish, and when we lay several on her bed, she spends quite some time “burying” them in the folds of the fabric throws that are her bed. She nudges with her nose, uses her paws, hides them totally. Then later, she will come and get them one by one and take them into the living room to chew. It’s such fun watching her hide those treats, as if she thinks they might be ‘stolen’ from her!

  4. C.J. says:

    Adele, I am so very sorry about Simon, and know from personal experience the total anguish we experience when our beloved canine and feline companions have crossed the bridge. Rob and Trish, I love this story about Nika and Noah. I often have a conviction that these animals have souls that may , at one time or another, animated as human. They are astonishing in their ability to reason, remember, rationalize, respond. Storm is only four, will soon be five. She was just four months old when I brought her home, and I took her precious face between my two hands and told her quietly that under no circumstances could she leave before me. I meant it. And her intelligence continues to stun me. With my husband, she is a rough-house playmate. She jumps on him, plays all kinds of games with him, and when she needs to go outside and he is home, she flies round and round the living room barking and whining non-stop in a certain voice. She has NEVER jumped on me, altho she hasn’t been taught not to, and when she needs to go out and I’m the only one at home, she lays her velvet chin on my hand, looks into my eyes, and licks my hand. Like Nika and Noah, she definitely has a language of many sounds, and we pretty much know what she is saying with her amazingly diverse vocabulary. Their unconditional love and devotion surpasses human equivalents, and I consider them gifts from the gods.

  5. Thanks for writing this. It makes me cry. I just lost my cat Simon and reminds me of endless cat stories that would take a book to write about. Can’t say more now without getting hysterical. Sniff . . . sniff . . .

    • Rob and Trish says:

      I’m really sorry that Simon died, Adele.It’s always so sad. Our animal buddies just don’t live long enough.

  6. DJan says:

    I have loved these two dogs from afar for years. And I also love the story of their relationship. Dogs are very special people, aren’t they? 🙂