Nakita was just over 2 years old when we adopted her. The first time we met Nakita, we pulled into this driveway, I got out of the car but left the door open, thinking that we were just going to look at her. Then the homeowner opened the back gate to greet us and Nakita darted straight in the opened door of our car. It was a match made in heaven. Her success story goes like this:
After Nakita’s second litter of puppies was sold, her owner abandoned her. She was locked in the basement of a 3 unit home most of the time because she played rough with the homeowners other three pooches and, when left outside, she would find a way to escape from the yard and was returned by Animal Control two times. A third capture would mean that she would be permanently taken to the kennel, and eventually killed if no one adopted her. Therefore, the homeowner would just give her a tennis ball and we were told that she was just fine playing by herself down there. I went down into the basement and witnessed feces and urine on the floor. The odor was foul. The water bowl was empty with bugs in it. You still could see that she was full of energy, but, you could also tell she wanted human attention badly and needed outdoor exercise. But she was skinny, very thin. She had not been taken to the vet as far as they knew. So that was our first stop.
We took her to Greenville Animal Hospital where tests revealed that she was 15 lbs. underweight and she had a strand of Lyme disease. So immediately she was put on antibiotics and we were told to feed her extra, to help put the weight back on before anything else bad happened.
Now, Nakita needed to be spayed, and quickly trained in order to live in our complex. After that operation, her behavior changed. She started sleeping more and became unresponsive to basic commands. Kathy and I knew that we needed her to pass the AKC Good Citizen Test before she could be accepted as a service dog. Nakita took a private course at a major pet store and we were given the tasks and instructions that she needed to complete in order to pass the test. We worked hard every day at it. The instructions were vague and it took a considerable amount of time to accomplish each command. After her second try, she passed all 10 of the requirements. We now had our service dog, but there was so much more that she needed to learn. That’s when I discovered Animal Behavior College and their professional certification in Dog Training course.
Nakita and I took the ABC course together. What I learned in the course, I practiced with her. Indoors and outdoors, she showed self-discipline and exhibited calm behavior. As our service dog, we were able to take Nakita everywhere we went and make new friends up and down the entire east coast from Florida to Maine. Nakita had over 30+ friends at our local dog park. I was proud to watch her help other pooches overcome behavioral issues there as well. Her natural ability to communicate to the other pooches has helped those modify their bad behaviors, such as dominance, uncontrolled barking, and rough play.
Last March I was out walking Nakita and noticed something was wrong. She was walking in circles, not the usual way like before when she had to go. So I took her to my Vet the next day. He lifted her head to check her eyes then he dropped a book on the floor, Nakita had no reaction. I was told she suffered a Stroke. The Lyme disease had entered her brain and now she was partially blind and deaf, but in no pain. After a few months she developed a UTI. When I tried to give her antibiotics, she threw them up. I knew what she was telling me. So I called a Mobile Vet to come out and after a long walk and a Big steak, she went peacefully in my arms. She was 14, and my best friend.
I was the proudest owner of a happy, well balanced pooch. I think if you asked Nakita to describe her life,she might say if she could speak, a line from the song Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now, I see”. Thanks be to God. She will be dearly missed everyday but she remains in my heart and I will see her on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.