@6woofs here she is, my husky beagle cross, with me in ‘89. Her name was Nikki. My godmother had an absolutely beautiful husky that she’d gotten somewhere around 5 months old - but she hadn’t been spayed. Well, before they got her in to the vet (The appointment had been scheduled and everything!) she went into heat. Cheryl (my godmother) would bring a pan of rocks with her into the yard when she let the dog out, because their neighbors had a bunch of dogs they let roam loose and if she rattled the pan they’d run off and leave them alone. They weren’t aggressive or anything, but none of them were fixed and that worried her. She was so afraid their big German Shepherd would come into the yard and then she’d have a litter on her hands. Well… one day she forgot the pan of rocks, so she turned and went into the house to get it and when she came out, sure enough the neighbor’s dog was going to town on her beautiful husky. But it wasn’t their GSD, it was their beagle 😂and that’s how we got Nikki!
Nikki was a very gentle and sweet dog, and she loved to run and play. She had a ton of energy but was wonderful with kids of all ages. People always said she looked like a “watered down husky.” She was always very fit and healthy until, sadly, she ended up with cancer. The initial treatments made her swell up like a balloon (like in this photo) and eventually, my parents had to have her put down.
This scene wound up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. I ended up going a different route with how they meet but loved this enough to share it with you. ;)
August 2010; Cape Cod, Massachusetts Nurse Katie Campbell
“Do you want your PB&J, sweetie?” I asked Julia, my head in the cooler. The sun was hot against my back and I tried to remember the last time I put sunscreen on her. She burned so easily that I should probably just do it again while I thought of it. I had hauled her out of the water for lunch just a moment before, and mentally braced myself for daunting task of drying her off and coating her in sunscreen.
Julia hadn’t responded in any way to my question and I turned to see what she was up to. No longer beside me, I caught a flash of her red hair and blue swimsuit just as a wave knocked her over. I shouted her name as I sprinted towards the water.
A tall, muscular man got to her before I did and pulled her up out of the sea. He set her upright on her feet, kneeling in front of her to make sure she was ok. Julia let out a high pitched shriek, ending in a definite “Mum!”
I reached her moments after and she threw her arms about my waist, nearly knocking me over. The man steadied me with a hand to my shoulder. His grip was strong and warm, oddly reassuring.
“Thank you!” I gushed as I held Julia tight.
“No trouble,” His voice came from somewhere above me, deep and rich. “I think it just scared her, she wasn’t under very long.”
Straightening up to thank the stranger, I found myself a good deal shorter than him and face to face with an amazing set of pectorals. He was wet from the sea, the water droplets only enhancing his overall look of finely chiseled athleticism. I tipped my head back to see his face and was met with a warm, concerned gaze.
Damn, he had beautiful eyes too.
“Ah,” I stammered like an idiot, “yes, I think you’re right.”
Julia coughed and I tried to shake myself from the trance the man had seemed to put me in. With effort, I focused on my daughter. She, too, was taking in her rescuer with wide eyes.
“Are you Prince Charming?” She asked, her clear soprano voice coming out a little husky from the salt water.
Out of the mouth of babes.
I hoisted her into my arms before she could say anything else, hoping he’d make the connection with the huge image of Cinderella on the front of her swimsuit and not be offended. Julia was completely enamored with the world of Disney Princesses and had the entire Cinderella movie memorized.
He laughed, his teeth brilliant white and even.
Prince Charming, indeed.
A boy about eleven or twelve came up beside him. He had the same brown eyes as Prince Charming, but his hair was shaggier than the Prince’s close cut. “No, but this guy calls me Dad. I’m Luke, by the way, and this is my son Max.”
My heart sank as I realized he might be married, then soared when I noticed he wasn’t wearing a ring.
“I’m Julia,” she informed the pair with a smile. “It’s my birthday today. You can come to dinner since you’re my knight in shining armor now.
“I’m sure they have plans for the evening, darling,” I quickly tried to downplay her invitation, not that I would have minded having Prince Charming over for dinner. Then, realizing I hadn’t given him my name, I added rather lamely, “I’m Katie.”
He gave Julia a kind smile and a flock of butterflies broke loose in my stomach. “Max and I would love to come, maybe not tonight since it’s your birthday, but sometime before you leave would be fun.”
“How about tomorrow?” She asked in complete seriousness.
Luke looked to me, questioning the validity of Julia’s invitation. “We’re grilling tomorrow night, you’re welcome to join us if you’d like,” I assured him. “Or a different evening works too, if that’s better for your schedule.
“We’d be honored,” Prince Charming winked at Julia and she giggled. “As for schedules, we don’t really have any. We’re here until the end of the month.”
Two weeks. That’s plenty of time to run into him again, right?
She squirmed to get down and I obliged. The instant her feet hit the sand, she had Max by the hand and was pulling him towards her sandcastle.
“Why don’t I give you my number and you can let me know when works well for you.”
I can’t believe my five year old just landed me a date with the hottest man on the beach.