My Beautiful, Courageous Girl!

by Claire Savage
(Durban, South Africa)

I fell in love with Nikita the moment I set eyes on her and the bond of love that grew between us was powerful. She went to puppy socialisation, got her Canine Good Citizen certificate and we were enjoying doing obedience training. She was just two years old when my husband called me at work to say our home had been burgled.....I rushed home, but he hadn't told me the whole story.

As I drove into the driveway, Nikita came running, her face in shreds, but her tail wagging in greeting. The burglars had beaten and stabbed her. In the kitchen corner, where the attack happened, blood and faeces were spattered to above my height (170cm). I rushed her to our vet, where she underwent surgery to repair her face.

My beautiful brave girl recovered well & still competed in obedience shows, but I had to warn people not to touch her head or her collar. She would not tolerate that, ever! She also never got over the need to keep me in sight, so our progression in obedience came to a halt when out-of-sight stays were required.

At 10 years old, she injured her back, but came through surgery very well. At our dog club, I took an induction class of older dogs, and Nikita (although retired) would lie in the back of my pick-up, watching procedures. If any dogs got out of line, she would jump down and quietly walk over to them and assert her seniority, just by her presence!

She was a great help, and an example to the class, which (by it's nature) had some unruly pupils! Just over a year later, she shattered her back again, by simply rolling over when our cat jumped over her. It was irreparable, & I drove home from the vet, crying my pain and loss into silence.

My new GSD, Shiloh, has carved her own special space in my heart, but there will always be a Niki-shaped hole there. I'll never forget you- my beautiful, courageous girl.

Total German Shepherd:

Hello Claire,

Wow, what a wonderful ambassador for the breed Niki was. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. And I am truly sorry for your loss.

Niki sounds like the embodiment of what German Shepherds can be - intelligent, loyal, protective, helpful and loving. She was definitely the real deal!

I am glad to hear Shiloh is there with you now and although she has your heart you will also forever have an extra special place in your heart for Niki. May God bless you and your furry companions.

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