My friends Emma and David *loved* my Akitas, Kuro and Nikka. Strangely enough, although Emma was allergic to dogs, these two never triggered her allergies, even though Nikka was a long-coated Akita.
When Kuro died, Nikka pined for him. Emma and David stepped up to help out. They’d pick her up and take her on outings, and she’d happily hop into their car and drive off with them not sparing us a backward glance.
When they got married eight years ago, they asked if Nikka could be their ring bearer. But of course! We knew she’d love to participate.
David and Emma had a beautiful October ceremony and celebration at Taughannock Falls State Park. The weather was perfect – warm, clear, crisp, and the trees in high color to accent the happiness of the day.
Nikka, of course, was as perfect as the weather. I was really just there to comply with the park’s rule that dogs must be leashed. She didn’t need a leash and she certainly didn’t need me at the other end of it. I swear she was channeling what she needed to do from the humans in the wedding party.
In general, Nike did not like to be photographed. When sighting a camera, she’d quickly turn away or cop a pose like this:
That day she was Miss Photogenic. Posing, smiling, making herself available to the camera. I was stunned when she went and lay down in front of Emma for the bridal shots, as well as the group photos. And she didn’t budge. People were stepping over her to get into position, but Nikka knew that the prime spot was to pose in front of Emma.
I remember that day with happiness and pleasure. We all had such a fun time – witnessing two people who loved each other wed, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones, enjoying the attention and kudos that Nikka got for being oh, such a good, good girl.
Emma died late last week, completely unexpectedly. I can’t wrap my head around the fact such a dynamic, fun-loving, funny person has stopped living. Memories of her – our movie dates, our bad jokes, her love of my dogs, their wedding – have flooded back.
I know that Nikka and my other beloved Akita Kuro were waiting for her when she got to heaven. And that they are hanging out together, enjoying each other’s company.
Bon voyage, Emma. I miss you.