Me and Nicky

Mount Baker, Washington State
Photographer Unknown

The day trip that my family took to Mount Baker was memorable for two reasons.

My Mom and Dad’s families aren’t what you would call the outdoors type. Roughing it was not their idea of fun, but they did enjoy the easy hikes so that is why we probably ended up on Mount Baker.

To add to our out of ordinary trip, our cousin John brought Nicky, his Saint Bernard who was as big as a horse and a Champion show dog. John had got Nicky in 1969 and by 1973 when we took the trip me and my brother and sister had grown up with Nicky.

I was about 10 years old at the time and because Nicky had been so little when he first came into the family I honestly had no concept about how big he was. He was just Nicky the puppy to us-this little detail will factor into my story in a bit.

That aside, Nicky was so well trained that yes, a little 10 year old girl who was used to dogs could handle him. Even my little sister could walk him and she was a tiny squirt.

The second thing that made it memorable was that my Dad and his cousin John told me that a lady in a wheel chair was near the lookout point and that the brake on her wheel chair failed and she went careening down the hillside to the road below where they had just constructed a road- and that the cement was still wet.

In great detail, including sound effects, they told me that when she plunged into the cement she sank so deep that they couldn’t get her out, so they left here there.

In case you’re curious, they were always telling me whoppers like that- where do you think I got my story telling style from?

I looked at the road below and I looked at my Dad and his Cousin. I held my hand out for Nicky’s leash and asked if I could walk him and John handed me the leash and off we went.

Nicklus- Owner My Dad’s Cousin John Cox. Nicky as we called him, become the breed’s most-titled (at the time) with American and Canadian Champion titles and American and Canadian Utility Dog (UD) obedience titles. Photo from the early 1970’s

I’m not sure how it happened but on our way down to the trail where the lady in the wheel chair was supposed to be buried in cement, me and Nicky got turned around and when I went to back track back up the hill, we ended up in the wrong place and it took me five seconds to realize I had just got me and my Nicky- who was EFFING FAMOUS in the Dog Show world LOST.

I wasn’t worried about getting eaten by a mountain lion, or falling down the side of the mountain. I was worried that if I didn’t get Nicky back my family was going to find me and kill me.

I’d probably end up buried next to the lady in the wheelchair.

Just as I was about to resign myself to this grim fate , a lady and her three kids came up on us and I told her, ” We’re lost. ”

She took one look at Nicky, threw her arms around her children and started to scream like Bigfoot had just dropped out of a tree and was about to drag them into a cave and eat them all alive.

” Oh my God, my God, my God that dog is gigantic- get him away from us- go on shoo- shoo!”

Nicky didn’t react to her screaming or arm waving. He didn’t even budge when one of her kids broke lose from her grasp, ran up to Nicky, grabbed his face and said ” Wow are his ears BIG.” the little boy sort of rocked Nicky’s head from side to side and said ” and they’re floppy too! ”

Super Mom flew threw the sky, grabbed her now saliva drenched child ( it’s a Saint Bernard thing- they drool A LOT. )  and then she ran up the trail without looking back at us.

The women in my family weren’t what you’d call warm and fuzzy and I think that some of them didn’t even really like children. But no way in hell would they have left a little girl all alone on the side of a mountain in the woods with her dog after she had just told them she was lost.

I looked at Nicky and he looked at me and as much of dingbat as I was most of the time I wasn’t stupid, so we followed her- it was easy to track her because she was yelling . This happened over 40 years ago so I don’t remember what she was yelling, but I think she may  have been screaming “help” .

Nicky used to do that bow before he took his jump. He’d wiggle his but and then boom- off he’d go. I’m not sure he got points for being creative, but he should have.

As a kid I thought me and Nicky had been lost FOREVER, but when we got to where the trail started ( thank you screaming lady ) my Family were standing around taking pictures. They didn’t seem like they had lost a child and their dog.

I think they actually had a clear view of us and in my panic I hadn’t noticed them.

” Did you find where she went in? ” my Dad asked.

The Screaming Lady was still screaming about the Monster Dog on the trail and that somebody needed to get the Park Ranger out there NOW.

My Dad and John looked from the very emotionally distraught lady to me and to Nicky and then back to her again. It was too good to pass up. John and my Dad were trying so hard to not laugh they were practically crying.

” Anita.  Did you see any monster dogs? ” my Dad finally managed to say.

I heaved this heavy sigh. Tugged on Nicky’s leash and we headed back down the trail in search of a Monster Dog and the final resting place of a lady buried in cement.