Nikki’s Journey

Ikeman
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WELCOME, BUTCH

Joe had come home after visiting his ailing aunt at the hospice and reported that she was deteriorating more than they expected. Joe had never really known her that well. She and her husband who passed away 5 year ago never had kids and never were involved much with the family. But since his parents died, Joe stepped in to help her with whatever he could which wasn’t that much until her health turned. She had nobody else. He was really doing it for his mother. But over the past couple years it had taken more of Joe’s time in short increments. So, when Saturday morning came it was a good diversion for Joe.

They were off early to the first breeder Joe had investigated. Upon arrival and introducing themselves, the breeder, Bob, had the 2 dogs brought out for them to look at. Nikki’s immediate reaction to the first was that he was much too big. It was the Great Dane. Although she was interested in a large dog, she was worried about her ability to control and manage an animal that large. The breeder indicated for the next dog to be brought out, “This is Butch. He is still large, in fact quite large for his breed, but he’s extremely loveable. Very active and will want lots of the exercise but your husband indicated that is a trait you want.”

“Is he a Lab?”

“Yes. But, like I said, he happens to be very large for the breed. In fact that was one of the things that interested me about him and motivated me to keep him longer. But for breeding purposes, his size isn’t a good thing if people are looking for good breed representation. But the other attributes of the breed are still there. He is very loveable, easy to train, and very adaptive. He could easily adapt to being an indoor or outdoor dog depending on your facilities.”

She was down on her knees petting the dog. Looking at Joe, she said, “I really like him. But what about the other dogs?”

Joe replied, “Both would be bigger, like the first dog. We could continue to look, but if you like Butch, he seems to like you.”

Butch did indeed seem taken by her and was already licking her face as she petted him. She stood next to the dog next to the breeder. “You say he is already mostly trained. Would it be okay to take him for a short walk around the area to see how we do together?”

“Absolutely. We’ll wait here. Take your time. Finding the right dog is a big deal for both of you. As I understand it, she will be the primary? It is good to expect to have a primary although you both should be able to control him.”

Joe replied as Nikki walked off with Butch on the leash, “Yes, this is mostly for Nikki. She will have the most time with him and wants the companionship when I am not.”

“Once they have bonded, and it looks like that won’t take long, he will be great. Although fairly gentle by nature, he will be protective and would allow anyone or anything threaten her without getting in-between. Do you have kids or plan on having them? Not that it would be a problem except for his size.”

“No, we aren’t able to have kids. He may also be that substitute if that isn’t too silly.”

“Dogs are really more than just dogs. They bond very quickly in the right environment.”

With Nikki return, Joe asked, “Well, what do you think?”

“I love him. I think he is just what I have imagined he would be like.” Turning to the breeder, “But I have to ask, is he intact? You know …”

“Yes, he is. Do you intend to breed him? Seems everyone recommends that pets be fixed.”

“No, not breeding, but it just doesn’t seem fair. Maybe I’m being silly, but is there an option to neutering? A man would have a vasectomy to retain the ability to still enjoy and function but eliminate the potential of reproduction.”

“Neutering is common. If would have to check with the vet I use. I could do that now if you really want to know the options.”

The vet was tied up at the moment but ended up calling back in minutes. They waited for the discussion to conclude. “Well, that was interesting. I guess you learn something every day. He said vasectomy is a procedure that is sometimes used on sheep but rarely for other species. But he doesn’t see the problem, it’s just been the practice to neuter. He was curious why the interest and when I explained that neuter just seem ‘unfair’ to you by taking away a natural function for the animal, he was impressed. In fact his words were, ‘those people are interested in more than just a pet. They truly have a deep commitment to the full well-being of the animal.’ Which I have come to conclude as well. I wouldn’t turn Butch over to just anyone, but I know he will thrive with you. He also stated he would have no problem with the procedure, it is fairly straightforward. He also thought it could be promoted as a viable option for other concerned owners. So, if you do want him, I can arrange the surgery and you can pick him up in a week or so. Turned out to be 2 weeks for the surgery to heal and to insure that the surgery was successful.

Three things happened while they waited for Butch to come home. The first thing was that Joe’s aunt continued to decline and that started taking up more of their time. The doctors and nurses indicated that there was little they could do for her anymore except to keep her comfortable. They also indicated that they were surprise that there wasn’t a strong relationship because when they were with her, she was calmer and rested quieter. That of course meant they agreed between them to dedicate more time to visiting her at the hospice. Joe took some time off and his company was great about it completely understanding the unusual situation. Nikki tried taking some time and her company fought her saying it didn’t fit their policies. Totally pissed, she just took vacation.

The second thing was that Joe came home one night insisting they go out and celebrate. Joe had just been promoted to a new position over the region and responsible for the very activity he loved doing and was the most comfortable with. His salary was increasing by about 50% and being regional his travelling would be less. It made them secure and was the perfect job he could have specified for himself.

The third thing was Joe’s suggestion that they take the transition with Butch very slowly and erring on the side to very, very slowly. His concern was that this was going to be a very big change for him at 1.5 years. He was going to transition from a life among many other dogs in a kennel environment to living inside with only 2 humans.

That made perfect sense to Nikki. She was nervous on how to proceed, anyway. Taking a month or two to get him settled in the his new environment, get him to trust them, feel a part of the surrounds, and find his place in the family structure would make the next moves that much easier and natural.

A week after Butch came, Joe aunt died. Then the chaos started. At first the hospice didn’t know what to do so they called Joe and Nikki. Joe was unavailable so Nikki went down. After a lot of confusion someone finally noticed some instruction in the file directing them to a person turning out to be her attorney. Then everything changed for Joe and Nikki, and would make life much different for Butch.

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HOME ON THE RANGE

Joe got a call from his aunt’s attorney indicating that he was search all references in her file to contact her next of kin but asked Joe if he could assist with setting up the funeral. He and Nikki split the effort with meeting with the funeral home, arranging notice to the paper regionally, and setting the date to be held at the funeral home. The funeral came off just fine, quiet with only a dozen people showing up including an older man, about 60, all by himself and staying off to himself. Joe and Nikki knew none of the people.

A week later Joe received a request to meeting with the attorney at his office. Both he and Nikki went, not knowing what the problem could be unless there was a financial problem with the hospice. They shocked to learn that his aunt had no other living relative that he could locate. But regardless, his aunt had specifically amended her will to list Joe as the sole beneficiary to her estate. Joe asked about the hospice and funeral expenses and was informed that there were no problems, that he had already authorised final payments from the estate. After final details of his time, closing out the legal issues with the various government issues for taxation, the remainder of the estate would be transferred to Joe.

They were told that his aunt didn’t leave much monetary value after all the expenses but there would be something in the neighbourhood of a couple hundred thousand dollars, which frankly sounded like a lot to them coming from a woman living alone. However, the attorney said, “The real value of her estate is property. She has a house she lived in until going into hospice and he has had it carefully maintained per her instruction over the past half year. The house and buildings are in great condition and it is on a fair piece of land.”

He looked at them, “Had you ever been to her house? Well, it is located in the next county to the south and west. She had, you have, 45 acres. I haven’t been out there but I understand it to be a very nice piece of property that the neighbour has had his eye on for since her husband died. If you want to unload the property, I can recommend a good real estate agent to assist in working with the neighbour. You look surprised.”

“We are, I am”, Joe sputtered. “I had no idea she had the kind of property or that she had named me. I helped her because my own mother died too early and she appeared to need a little.”

The next Saturday they met the agent and followed him to the property. They took Butch in their car. They lived in a suburb north of the city so they had a fair drive to get to the south side and then further south and west into the next county. When they turned off the highway, onto a narrow black-top county road and finally onto an even narrower gravel road. Finally coming to a driveway that consisted of 2 tracks of dirt in the weeds from the occasional traffic of an owner making only occasional trips out. The property along the road was fenced. The house roof was just visible above the slight rise in the ground. The house itself was a little smaller than theirs but appeared to be in good condition.

Getting out there was a sense of quiet peace. Butch got out on the leash and gently tugged to sniff everything new. Once inside, the house was simple but well laid out and comfortable. There was a large covered back patio with barbecue pit and full deck/patio furniture. There was an out-building about 200 feet away. It turned to be what appeared to be originally a kennel for multiple dogs with a portion of the main inside building converted into a space that might have been used as a studio. She had pictures, canvasses, and paints scatter around. There was a half bath built into the corner and a shower next to it that might have been originally used for grooming the dogs that were once there.

When they stepped outside and looked out, they weren’t sure they knew where the property ended. The realtor started in with what he had learned in his search of the property and the neighbours. “As you know, the property consists of the buildings and 45 acres of land and everything on the land meaning any mechanical equipment, livestock, if any. I don’t think there is. The property description is generally a square with the house sitting on the front middle. Dimensionally, 45 acres in a square is 1,400 feet on a side or a little over a ¼ mile on a side. There is only one neighbour who owns all the surrounding property including the property on the other side of the road. He is a rancher with some horses, but mostly cattle. The dirt road we came in on is essentially a dead-end after the bridge was washed out and the county couldn’t justify replacing it for 2 households. There is obviously electrical power by the local co-op, the gas is by truck to the tank offset from the house. The sanitary is septic tank. Water is a well. Checking with the county all are functioning well and the well is sound.”

“Do you know the neighbour?” Joe asked.

“Actually, I do. I have assisted him in acquiring much of this land over time. He is a widower. About 2 years. I personally think he has had a hard time since his wife died but he definitely stays busy running his land and stock. Should I run some numbers and see what this property should be listed at? Or, we could just see Henry, the neighbour, and see what he would offer.”

Joe looked at Nikki and again at the agent. “Would you mind if we had a few minutes to talk?”

“Not at all. Take what time you need. This is a sudden, I realize.”

Walking a short distance into the property up a rise, “Why don’t you let Butch off the leash, see how he does. He has been good in the yard about coming when we call.” She did and he looked at her, she nodded that it was okay, and he trotted off investigating new things. “Nikki, this might be crazy and if it is, just tell me, but I think we should keep this place. It might need a little work inside and the landscaping is non-existent. But this is beautiful, quiet, and peaceful, and just look at Butch. This could be great for us, a real retreat from the work world. Did I mention, look at Butch?”

“Serious? Wouldn’t that be a long commute?”

“We lived in the north part of the city, my office is in the south part. This might be more miles, but avoiding city traffic it is probably the same time.”

“But my job is close to our house.”

“Nikki, do you really want that now? Look, between my new promotion, the money from the estate and the money from selling our house, we won’t need your job if you’re not happy. Are you happy there?”

She looks intently at him, “No! No, I am not happy there. Could we really do this? What would I do?”

“That’s the neat thing. Anything you want. The house, the yard, the property, create a hobby area in the other building. If you decide you want a job, go get a job, but a job you want. Find a clothes shop that you can run and get unsuspecting women to strip for you.”

They walked back to the agent, calling Butch who turned from his search and came racing back to them. Already he was connected to them. “We have decided we want to keep this property. Can you help us the title transfer? Also, do you do work north of the city? We’ll need to sell that property.”

After taking care of the necessary paperwork to get started, Joe and Nikki spent as much of their available time at one house or the other. Their “old house”, as it instantly became, needed some minor work to get ready for sale. Their “home on the range” needed some updating, paint and cleaning to get ready for moving into. Once their “old house” was ready, they got it on the market and focused on their country home. The old home sold amazingly quickly (“price it to sell if that’s what you want to have happen”, their agent recommended) and seeing no indication of problems with the buyers ability to get their loan, they contacted a moving company to move them to their new home. In preparation they moved some of his aunt’s furniture out to the other building temporarily and kept some to use. Within another week they were moved in. It took 2 months from the meeting with the attorney to moving in but it was done and they had their retreat in the country to start shaping their new life.

Within those 2 months they also had the opportunity to reconnect with Michele and the older couple. Michele for an entire evening, again. The older couple just for dinner the first time. The second time was more intimate including Joe being able to talk her into going to the restroom and removing her panties.

 

Continued on the next page (link below).

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