Thursday, February 11, 2010
My stance towards dogs began to soften when my cousin bought her dog, Nikki. Nikki was a Golden Retriever/Lab mix, though I don’t know where my cousin got her. Although I disliked dogs and was even scared of big dogs, I was never mean to them (except the ones who tried to bite or attack me), but I was stand-offish to them and avoided them when I could.
A couple of days after Christmas in ’93, I was taking the empty boxes by the trashcans at my grandmother’s house to the back of her house where there was a built-in outdoor fireplace by the patio. The garbage collectors would not remove the boxes, so I was going to burn them. The box transfer process took around 10 minutes and involved my slinging the boxes as close to the patio as I could get them. After all the boxes were in the back, I went to the patio to begin tearing them up and then start burning them. Before I could pick up one box, I saw a dog in the corner of the patio huddled by the house shaking in fear. It was Nikki. I had scared the hell out of her during my rambunctious handling of the boxes.
I went over to her and asked “Well, who are you? Are you a good girl?” (Yes, I do talk to the dogs, but no, they don’t talk back. It’s not a conversation. I may be a little eccentric, but I’m not crazy.) I went over to pet and console her. I felt bad and sorry for causing her to be so scared and wanted to comfort her. After a minute or so, Nikki began to wag her tail and lick my face. It turns out Nikki was a good girl. She was smart, friendly, and playful and loved to swim, even in the coldest days when there was a thin layer of ice on the pool.
I had spent many fun afternoons with Nikki, and I would even dog-sit her a few times when my cousin would go out of town. It was when Nikki started coming around that I began my habit of speaking to some dogs in a singy-songy voice. In Nikki’s case, I’d say/sing “Nikki, sicky, licky wicky” or just “Nikki Wicky”. The nickname “Nikki Wicky” stuck, and even my cousin’s family started calling her that.