Scroll down below the photos for Nick's story
Nick was a shelter dog which Mark found just before Christmas 1998. Nick was the
kind of dog that would normally be snatched up by the first person who saw him,
but somehow he stuck around long enough for Mark to claim him as his own. When
shelter staff told Mark that Nick was "on sale," Mark politely declined. "No,
thanks. I am paying full price for the dog. What you do with the money is up to
Over nearly a decade together, if Mark was there, Nick probably wasn't far away -- either at Mark's side, waiting patiently in the car or just up ahead on a trail in the Cascades, sniffing and panting or playfully chasing a squirrel. If not there then he was at Bonnie’s being spoiled and loved as only she could
Nick was a congenial, happy, playful dog, quick with a wag and happy with a pat or belly scratch, but never opposed to a good bone, a pinch of grilled salmon or a Black Butte Porter (on his birthday).Smarter than the average human (most dogs are), Nick also had the wisdom to be satisfied with the simple things in life - a cold summer lake, a muddy mountain trail, a hillside covered in white powder snow or a warm spot by the fire.
At the age of ten and a half, after a full, happy life with more hikes and biscuits than most dogs could ever dream of, Nick developed a tumor. It turned out to be malignant and despite the best efforts of the veterinarians, friends and Mark, the cancer was never fully eliminated. In his last weeks, Nick was forced to slow down, but never stopped. In fact, close to the end of his life, it seemed that Nick was on the mend and perhaps might even make a full recovery. He was able to hike and swim with all the vigor he had as a puppy. Nick was once again Nick.
But then suddenly one night it became painfully clear this respite was not to last, and Nick was in fact, at the end of his life. He went fast. Perhaps it was for Mark, or maybe for himself, but Nick went out like a candle - quickly and without drama.
Nick's smiling eyes, wagging tale and enormous dog heart, left behind a glow that brightened the world of all who knew him, long after his final bark.