I am thinking now of our Pit Bull named Nika, or as Stacy often called her Niki Beki. Whose coat was a golden flame in the sunshine. And never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This friend is buried beneath a beautiful tree, on a perfect spot in the mountains of California. Under four feet of beautiful garden grass. In the place she spent her whole life. On the same piece of land that holds all her friends that have gone to Sirius, the Dog Star in Orion's belt the brightest star in the sky. I can't imagine anything else that would keep it burning so bright and constant.

And at its proper season the tree strews it leaves on Nikas grave. Beneath a cherry tree or an apple or any flowering shrub of the garden is an excellent place to bury a great dog.

Beneath the trees, and shrubs, Where she slept in the drowsy summer or played in the snow with her friends David and Stacy in the winter eating the snow and chasing snow balls we would throw for her. Playing with Hans our Rottweiler friend they had a great time together in life and are together now. She truly mourned his passing. Gnawing at a stick her favorite toy or lifting her head to challenge some strange intruder. Or kissing her cat friend Mia or her rabbit friend Monty to comfort him on his last day on earth. Or between her friends David and Stacy on the bed she knew in puppyhood through to the last day when she was on the bed and got up to get a drink of water and passed away in my arms.

These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter. For if Nika is well remembered, if sometimes she leaps through your dreams actual as in life, her eyes kindling, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where Nika sleeps. On a hill where the wind is rushing and the trees are roaring, or somewhere in the flatness of a pastureland. It is all one to Nika and all one to you, and nothing is gained and nothing is lost if her memory lives.

But there is one best place to bury a great dog friend like Nika. If you bury her in this spot, she will come to you when you call. Come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well remembered path of love, and to your side again. And though you may call a dozen living dogs to heel they shall not growl at her, nor resent her coming, for she belongs there with you. People may scoff at you, who see not the lightest blade of grass bent by her footfall, who hear no whimper, or her little snoring when she slept curled up next to you. People who may never really have had a great dog. Who would do anything for you. Smile at them, For you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a great dog like Nika is in the heart of his and her master.

For all we really ever own are our memories of the past and our dreams of the future.

Love you Nika and all our friends of the past.

David and Stacy

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