Nicky's Forever Home Update

December 26, 2005
Dear Val & Jan,
Nina, Nicky and I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Here are a few pictures of Nicky with his "winter doo". He is a very good boy, and has been the most wonderful gift to us. Thank you for bringing him into our lives.
Stephen

September 17, 2005
Dear Val & Jan,
Nicky got a great report from the vet. He is gradually going off puppy food this week. He weighed in at exactly five pounds. That's as big as he is going to get.
He has found his growl. We loved his former dove like purr, ending with that super high pitched yelp, but he is a big boy now and has to get right down to business while out on patrol.
He now lifts his leg at all times, and always forward. It looks like he is kick-starting a motorcycle - extremely funny.
We gave him a braided bully stick (the one in the attached photo) and he has learned to hold it across his mouth like a harmonica and whistle through it. At first I thought he had caught it in his teeth, but he released it for me and started whistling when I gave it back.
His hair is growing out again and he loves being brushed. He also has taken a great interest in our evening walks. He sprints for the front hall as soon as the supper dishes are done. He really does pay attention to every detail.
That's all for now.
Nicky sends you both a ton of licks and kisses.
Stephen

September 5, 2005
Dear Val & Jan,
Well, next week Nicky will be a one year old. Here are some pictures of him celebrating. His birthday present is going to be a visit with his vet (on September 14th). I think he will finally reach the six pound mark, although it's hard to tell because he still seems light as a feather to me.
Nicky has gotten over his fear of leaving the home for a walk. He still has to go the his park first, but now will walk on for another five blocks (about a half mile total) before he turns for home at top speed.
He is a great little watchdog (I mean watchboy) and takes great care of his home. He has also developed a system of barks to let us know when he needs something. He doesn't "dine" alone, so there is just "the stare" when he wants company to eat. He will give a small poke for a drinking partner, punctuated by a tiny bark if we are too dense to follow. A bark and a walk away is to go potty, and a run to the door (with spins and figure eight's) is to go to the park for a walk.
He still loves children and runs up to them on the street, leaping & licking. Also grown ups, but never at night. He is very suspicious of everyone in the dark. He has quite a loud bark too, and knows how to use it.He made a couple jump a few nights ago when they didn't know he was down there and he let loose a mighty yelp. We couldn't stop laughing when they got a good look at the tiny terror. He has a stealth bark that will leave your ears ringing.
It is hard to believe that little Nicky has only been with us for five months. He means so much to us.
Hope all is well at Peke-A-Tzu,
Stephen

August 13, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Nicky will be eleven months old tomorrow ! He is still a very cute little boy and always draws a crowd whenever we take him out. I am sending a few more pictures of him with some of his toys.
His vocabulary is growing all the time. We have to spell sometimes because he is very good at listening and is the first one to the door if he hears the magic words "car", "out", "shop" or "store".
The heat has been unbelievable here, as I am sure it has for you too. Nicky has been very "efficient" at using his walking time. He goes straight to the park to go potty and wastes no time getting back to his cool kitchen tile. Smart little boy.

June 15, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Well, Nicky is eight months old now and has just completed a growth "spurt". He is one inch longer and 1/2 inch taller when we measured him today. That puts him at a whopping ten inches tall and eleven inches long! He is also almost six pounds! He has been tolerating the heat pretty well. We only go out early in the morning and keep to the shade in the park. He comes straight home and cools himself on the tile floor. He has discovered toilet paper. It makes a great toy that never seems to run out. We thought one of his animal toys exploded, but it was just half a roll of TP. Quite the inventive little boy.
take care,
Stephen

June 2, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Here is Nicky going out with Nina for a busy day. He was a big hit and everyone wanted to know where we adopted from. You may be getting a lot of inquiries from DC soon.
Stephen

May 31, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
It is hard to believe that we have only had Nicky home with us for two months! He has become such a big part of our lives. He is such a good little boy and he tries hard every day to communicate with us. We are teaching him new words every week and he is teaching us with his own body language. He will now either walk away and look back or run away and bark at the door when he wants to go out.
He also has invented some new outside games. He is so tiny that he disappears under the Hosta plants. When we ask where he is, he barks and comes charging out, does a few crazy laps and dives in again.
Nicky is the best little heart healer we could ever have hoped for. He is such a sweet little thing and we feel blessed to have him.
Stephen

May 22, 2005
Val and Jan,
Nicky has been especially good this week. He has started to go along with Nina when she goes shopping. (she carries him in her handbag - I will get a picture and send it along the next time they go out.) His hair is slow to grow, but it is fluffing up a bit around his filled out little body.
Nicky loves to go out for his walk in the park, rain or shine. He is a great little walker. He also loves his toys. I am sending a picture of him holding one of them on his way to bed. He was very sleepy.
Hope it is finally warming up out there,
Stephen

May 10, 2005
Dear Jan,
Funny you should mention his building phase. I have a few pictures of his "art" from tonight's episode. Hope you enjoy them.
Stephen

May 8, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Happy Mothers Day !
I wanted to send out a few pictures of the little boy (you know, nicky-good-boy) and to give an update. He is doing fantastically well! In fact, as you can see from some of the pictures, the rugs are back down. He is also very excited about his chicken treats, leaping so high that we only give them to him if he is on a rug.
Nicky has discovered that there is a huge park made just for him on the next block. He now trots out in a rush from our front door, pulling in his harness all the way around the corner until he gets there. It is his favorite place, not counting my lap. I think it must remind him of Val's back yard. We found out today that there is a dog obedience class in this park every Saturday & Sunday. Guess who is going next week to work on his socializing skills?
His coat is starting to come in. It is hard to tell just how curly it will be, but he's cute in any kind of fur.
Nicky's trick of the week (probably going to be a regular feature of the updates) is to pull all his beds into one place and make a stack to stand on. There are two beds and one giant pillow for him on the second floor and when we are in the sitting room he collects everything into a giant pile (beds, toys & blanket) and perches on the top. I will try to get a photo of one of these creations next time. (Or maybe he will be into something else tomorrow - we never can guess.)
Stephen

April 29, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Today Nicky has been with us for 30 days. He is doing great ! He now weighs four and a half pounds and is solid muscle. He walks at least twice a day and plays his fetching games all day long. His favorite possession at the moment is his large blanket, which is for his daytime naps. He brings it up on his sitting room chair to sleep with mommy, and down to the floor to play with me (see fetch reference above).
As you may have guessed, he is eating without any problems whatsoever.
We are waiting to see how his new coat will come in. You will be sent pictures of course, and here are a few of him today.
take care,
stephen


April 2005

April 19, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
I am sending a few pictures taken today after Nicky's grooming. He looks great (and a lot cooler for tomorrow's 85* temp) and has calmed down from his stressful morning. We are so glad he wasn't cooped up all day in a crate.
Stephen

April 16, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
Nicky is doing extraordinarily well on all fronts ! He is eating all his daily meals (plus two treats) and has pretty much finished house breaking us. He has settled in to a nice routine - waking me up at 5:45 to go potty; going back to sleep until waking me again at 7:00 for breakfast; sitting with mommy in the chair until 9:00; out in the yard "on demand"; walk at 11:00; back in the chair with mommy at noon... you get the gist. He has started to anticipate what comes next and is always ready with a toy in case we forget he has to play. He is a very happy little boy, and we are so happy to have him. He has taken the edge off of our loss in so many ways.
He seems to be afraid of leaving the house for his twice daily walks, but charges ahead once he gets more than a few blocks away. He still saves his "business" for the back yard mostly, but has gone a few times on the walk. He hasn't learned to lift his leg yet, probably because he doesn't see anyone else doing it.
He will have his first grooming on Tuesday, at our house. Pictures to follow.
Stephen


March 2005

April 10, 2005
Dear Val and Jan,
A breakthrough today ! Nicky has finally pooped on one of his daily walks. Up till now it has only been in the garden (or on the first floor hall carpet, or the second floor study rug, or on the third floor prayer rug - we have them all rolled up for the time being) He really has been pretty good, but has had several unexplained lapses in letting us know that he wished to go out. He has suddenly stopped, squatted, and peed a few times. We keep trying to get him to pee on his long walks, but he just doesn't stop walking. He goes for about thirty minutes at a brisk pace (we have to step lively to keep up) and brings us home, then goes directly to the back yard to complete the deal. So you can see that today was a big step.
We haven't taken Nicky in to be groomed yet. The recommended groomer at our vet's office wanted to hold him there for the whole day. We are getting someone to come to the house instead. He has become very well adjusted, and very happy. We refer to him as the boss. His preferred position is the one where he is held (like a baby - I will take a picture for you) by Nina. We are working on his appetite. He still eats less than half a cup of food per day, but we don't want to resort to adding cheese yet. He seems more comfortable every day, and we are hopeful that he will eat more in the third week here. His walks should help.
that's all for now,
Stephen

April 5, 2005
Dear Jan,
We are very happy, indeed. If you can ever get to DC, you are welcome to come and visit. We will supply pictures as Nicky develops. He is getting a haircut next week, so you know how cute the next picture is going to be. (His puppy coat is now almost completely changed over to a salt & pepper color.)
Nicky is really settling in. He lays down in his bed while we eat and never begs at the table. He runs around in the yard like a race horse and plays a chasing game of his own invention. He is quite the little rascal. And of course you know that he now owns the whole house.
Stephen

March 31, 2005
Dear Val,
Yes, indeed, we very much adore this little guy. I am sending a few pictures of him with his famous pacifier. (I am sending to Jan also)
Day four has been one with no "accidents" in the house at all. He goes on long walks, but still only pees in the garden.
We are doing well with the sprinkle of cheese to get Nicky interested in eating more. The vet wants him to be at least five pounds. We have at least one pound to go, so we hope to see him there in about three or four months. (Or by his first birthday anyway.)
He has already become a tremendous part of our lives and we are so very happy to have him. We only hope your kids don't miss him too much. He has been licking the little boy next door every time they meet, so I know he misses them very much.
One last question : Did he ever do his spinning top trick for you ? He was playing on the front hall rug with his toys (fetching) and suddenly he pounced and spun around four times and grabbed the pacifier.
that's all for now.
more soon,
Stephen

March 30, 2005
Dear Jan and Val,
Day three with little Nicky is getting to be a 24 hour lick fest. He sure loves to kiss. I came home from work early to go with him to his new vet and had to spend fifteen minutes with him on the floor before he would let me go change my clothes. He spends more time on my lap at the moment than Nina's. Probably thanks to the eight hour get-to-know each other time at the airports.
He is quite a walker. We will go out for the evening walk in a couple of minutes. He will need to walk off his first big meal since he came to our home. We sprinkled a little grated cheese on his food to try to make it more interesting to him. The vet said he needs to gain some weight soon, and I believe he will by the end of April. He ate a little less than 1/2 cup of food today (we are keeping a measuring chart until he gets to his proper weight), which is what he should be eating according to the vet. When he gets his first haircut in about ten days he is really going to look tiny !
Val is right about his vertical leap too ! He almost jumped onto my lap after dinner. We will teach him to wait until he is picked up (and set down again). But he can just fly up and down the stairs. Our little Yorkie had to hop up each step.
Jan - Val sent Nicky-nitro to us with several pacifiers. We did have a red one ready for him at home too.
We just love him to pieces!
that's all for now,
Stephen

March 29, 2005
Dear Jan,
We just got off the phone with Val. We wanted to give her a progress report on how well Nitro is doing. He is doing very, very well. I didn't get a chance to tell Val that we can see him looking for her and the children all over our house. It is very quiet in our house, and he listens very keenly for any kind of noise.
He is very calm, and already has the run of the house. He slept on my chest last night and woke me up in the morning. (We had a very late arrival from Philly and didn't get to sleep until around midnight.) He is so sweet to us and kisses all the time. I can tell you that he gets more than he gives too.
We are going to call him Nicky (Nicholas). He is learning to walk well in his harness, and has had three walks today. He loves to go out (It was 70 degrees today in DC) and we have learned to go into the backyard right after his walk because he will "go" there, but not yet on the walk. We have also learned that his little bark must be responded to within ten seconds because he isn't kidding about going out.
All in all, he is just a pleasure, every minute. He has started to walk around with his pacifier, and carry his toys around to his various beds. He has his crate (no door) set up in the breakfast room so he can hang out while we eat. He has been so good already. He just goes in to play or sleep while we eat, and comes bounding right out when we call him. Val has trained him well, and has succeeded in making him feel loved and safe. He is a remarkable little boy.
He will be seeing his new Vet tomorrow. We have been researching for the best in DC and have found the clinic in Dupont Circle to have a great reputation. We also have a great Animal Hospital just a few blocks from our house, but have only used it for medicine and emergency services.(unfortunately)
All the neighbors love him already. They were all eagerly awaiting his arrival, and were stunned to find him cuter than we had described. He is already a real joy to have around, and we hopefully look forward to many years (hope for decades really) of happiness for both Nicky and Nina, and myself of course.
pictures will be coming soon,
Stephen

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