Special Days and Special Friends

Hu-dad time here.

Nikita was not my first dog, but she was my first Siberian Husky and meant so much to me.  Her passing on August 23, 2006, was an incredibly heartfelt moment and the pain was intense.  Working through my grief, I created the original website and blog just so I could put a few of her pictures together and share a few of her stories.  Much to my surprise, people other than my closest family came and read the stories.  I had no idea that anybody out there would read about the dogs that meant so much to me, but I finally created the current website and consider it my legacy to the awesome Nikita (the guardian and educator of our current ruler, Queen Natasha the Evil).

What surprised me even more was that I started becoming friends with so many people through our shared stories. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of those people in real life, but so many others remain an “internet” friend – someone whom I have never actually met but still feel the tug of friendship.  Who knew that you could cry with someone half way around the world as their own dog became ill and then passed?  And, more importantly, you smiled and laughed with the antics of their dogs or the shared memories.

Today is one of those special days that has been hard for me as it approached, but far more difficult for someone else.  So today’s post is for “The Mom” – The Mom of The Bleu and The Luke.

Golden Boy Luke

We became friends with “The Luke” and shared our love for his namesake, the movie Cool Hand Luke – one of my favorite movies of all time.  I don’t know if I coined the name or not, but I began calling him Cool Paws Luke early on in our friendship.  His blog was well written and funny.  I loved “his voice” and his catch-phrase, “Just saying”, entered my everyday vocabulary.  In short, like many readers, I became a great fan.  When Luke became ill, I cried.  When he appeared to recover, I cheered.  And when his eventual downturn came, I was crushed.  The world felt diminished at his passing.

Knowing his “The Mom” was hurting, a rallying cry was heard and, in all of this, a moment occurred where I am most proud of the dog blogging community.  How could we help in some small way?  The idea was born.  The idea was not mine – I am not that creative – but I was glad to participate in one of the coolest ideas I have ever heard of.  So simple.  So small.  So meaningful.

Cool Paws Luke - The Star (Click on the picture so you can read the whole certificate).

Cool Paws Luke, we wish you the Happiest of Birthdays.  We hope that you have met up with our dear Nikita and the two of you are romping and playing at The Bridge.  Know that we mere humans miss you, but we appreciate the ever so brief time that you were here with us.  And know that a whole lot of dog bloggers are thinking of Amanda and wishing her the best on this bittersweet day.


Shine brightly, Cool Paws!

And, mostly, know that a whole bunch of us miss you. Just saying.


  1. pam rouleau on March 17, 2011 at 12:15 am

    thankyou for coming by mjs blog….we live in the yukon so we have alot of places to just let the dogs run…I only have one…but friends join us…that was an airport runway actually and it is only used occasionally..not sure we are supposed to be there…but the dogs love it

  2. KB on March 16, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    You made me cry… What a wonderful tribute, to Cool Paws Luke and to Nikita.

  3. FiveSibesMom on March 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Nikita was a beauty. I know you carry her in your heart each and every day and I am certain she is smiling down at you from over the Rainbow Bridge.

    It is amazing the ties that we pet-parents share here on the Internet. The camaraderie and bonds we form here are just heart-warming. I think we can find comfort with others who share our love for our furkids and can share in the joys and sadness that comes along with that.

    I, for one, am very glad to have found The Herd. We count you as one of our special friends here in the blogosphere, and hope you know we are yours as well.

    The tribute to Luke was so touching and sweet.

    Happy Wednesday and St. Patty’s Eve to you, our friends! Husky hugs x 5 to you all!

  4. Stella on March 15, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Extra special good post tonight, DK. We were new to The Luke, but what did it take to fall in love with a guy like that? Not hard at all. Luke’s by-words “out of doors” or ‘in of doors” have become ours too, plus we think of him each time we say those words.

    So thanks and I concur with the Star naming being one of the very best ways for friends and family to memorialize a sweet dog.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  5. Deborah on March 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    That was so nice.

  6. Lisa alias Sitka's Mom on March 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    It’s hard to type through all the tears. That was such a touching tribute for The Luke. I too followed his blog & was so very saddened @ his passing. I love this blog, your Herd & you for being so remarkably good to man’s best friends.
    Shine on Luke and all of our loved one’s lighting up the sky every night.
    Sitka’s Mom Lisa

  7. Ryker on March 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Luke truly is a shinning star thanks to all his friends.

  8. rottrover on March 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Wow Hu-Dad. Tears here, too; for the beautiful tribute and for all of our many, many furiends and friends who are twinkeling every night. Thanks. Just sayin’.

  9. Pup Fan on March 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    What a beautiful way to remember The Luke. I’ve definitely got tears over here too.

  10. Hamish & Sophie on March 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Wonderful tribute to a never to be forgotten Golden

    Hamish & Sophie
    Sheila & Bob

  11. HUSKYS RULE on March 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

    That was an AWESOME tribute!!! We didn’t know The Luke but we are sure he is having some Angel Food birthday cake:-)

    Licks & Nibbles,
    Kody & Nia

  12. The Luke on March 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’m touched very deeply… and incredibly honored. Your frienship has all ways made my days bright. And your support helped My The Mom stay strong.

    From the bottom of My Sweet Heart, and I fink I can speak for The Mom and also The Bleu (of course)…

    Fank You for this special post and for your love and support…

    Wif love from The Luke who art in Heaven

    P.S. My The Cool Paws Luke Star… rocks!!!

  13. Elyse and Riley on March 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

    We never knew The Luke but have heard all about him through Blogville since his passing. What a wonderful tribute to him!

    Elyse and Riley

  14. The OP Pack on March 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Wow – Just saying – this was THE most wonderful tribute I have ever read. We all loved Luke and still do, but you really said it so very well. We too shed our tears for Luke and we are crying here again today. Tears of sadness mixed with tears of joy – it’s all good, Luke – Happy Birthday, Golden Boy.

    The OP Pack’s Mom

  15. Stumpy and cyndi on March 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Now that is one special tribute. somehow, in our travels through blogland we never had the pleasure or honor oof meeting The Luke. It’s obvious, we missed something wonderful.

    I’m sure you have made his Mom’s day and Luke’s birthday even more special.

    thanks for that!

  16. priscilla on March 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Great post! Thanks for sharing the stories of Nikita and the Luke.
    The Blogland is a wonderful place that we make friends with people from every corner of the world, we share our happiness and sadness, our hopes and our dreams.
    Our sky is brighter and more beautiful because of our angels up there, they are the shiniest starts in the sky!!!

  17. Mimi & Cabana on March 15, 2011 at 10:04 am

    So well put, Herd Hu-dad. There is a wonderful feeling of community and support here. Thank you for being such a big part of that. My heart goes out to The Mom of The Luke–I think your post will help her on this emotional day.

  18. Anna the GSD on March 15, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Pet bloggers are the best…a great caring community. And now to know there is a named Cool Hand Luke star over us at all times is a great feeling! Way to go Herd!

  19. Sage on March 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    What a poignant, but wonderful memorial to Luke. As hard as it is to say goodbye to our special friends, it’s comforting to know his Mom will always have a place to look and remember him.

  20. jack & moo on March 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Pawsome post, Herd. We didn’t know Luke furry well till word spread across the blogs, we also felt sad at this passing.
    Our intro to online dog communities began with the tragic and untimely passing of our Rosie, and we were introduced to Pet Talk. One day surfing the net, mom discovered Meeshka, and that was that, we were hooked on following dog blogs.
    We’ll woo at the Luke’s star tonight, acknowledging hearts and paws are connected thru space & time. “just sayin”

  21. Khyra's Mom on March 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Khyra’s Mom here –

    Great job Hu-Dad –

    You’ve so nailed the essence of The Angel The Luke –

    They always say everything is bigger in Texas –

    Guess TATL is proof of that!

    Just sayin’ –

  22. houndstooth4 on March 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Now I’m misty eyed! I didn’t know The Luke as long as you did, but I adored him when we met. As we entered our own battle with cancer with Miss Blueberry, I felt a lot of hope knowing that he’d made it through. When I heard he was sick again and then that he’d passed, I was just crushed. I hope that one of these days soon we’ll start seeing new posts from The Bleu!

  23. Tucker and Daisy on March 15, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Great post. Just sayin’ We miss that boy too.

    Tucker and Daisy

  24. 24 Paws of Love on March 15, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Very cool and very sweet. I didn’t know Luke but I know what it is like to become connected through this great dog blogging community. Thank you for being part of the connection and sharing your love and fun of your dogs.

    Shine on Cool Paw Luke.

  25. the pittie pack on March 15, 2011 at 2:04 am

    so bewootiful , furry leaky moment but precious just like the luke. he will be remembered always in our hearts and memories

    pibble wiggles
    the pittie pack

  26. Holly & Khady on March 15, 2011 at 1:46 am

    What an incredible memorial! Now, Luke’s mom can always look to the sky and know he is there, watching over her furever.

    Holly & Khady

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