Nio in July 2016
Since Nio was once a featured voice on this blog, it seems fitting to give him a goodbye post here, even if posts are few and far between these days.
In November 2005, I wrote in a column for the Nashville Scene,
"In spite of all my good intentions, I have rescued another dog. This makes my third—a young Lab/probably Boxer mix. He was born to be a big, gorgeous guy, but now one of his back legs dangles uselessly, and he is so thin you can see every rib. A friend who owns a farm in Smith County found him abandoned after one of her hired hands went AWOL. She said she’d already adopted all the lost/discarded/screwed-up canines her husband will tolerate, and did I know anyone who would take him? As it turns out, yes."
That was Nio's first appearance in print. The vet didn't encourage us to think he would ever really get well, but the sad animal we brought home wound up thriving way beyond expectations. Even after age took its toll, it was hard to see any vestige of that painfully skinny, maimed dog in the robust beast Nio became. His slightly crooked gait was the only clear hint of a painful past. It turned out we were wrong about his parentage, too. He was half Rottweiler, not Boxer, and his gentle, tolerant nature defied all prejudice about "aggressive" Rotties.
I stroked Nio's rich black fur as he died yesterday. Later, I told a friend that he was a dog who deserved to live forever. I wish he could have.
*Putting down a beloved animal is one of the most bittersweet experiences I know. It's hard to depict it without either being maudlin or dodging the powerful feelings involved. I think this little film captures it pretty well.