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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I read someplace there are 70 million dogs in the U.S. Dan and I have been blessed to be the “parents” of a few of those 70 million dogs.

Each dog that has been in our family we felt was the best dog in the world and each dog touched our hearts and our homes in his or her own special way. They all had their own personality; their way of making us laugh or making us upset (which wasn’t often). Some were just out right clowns and others seemed like professors.

As you know, January 12, 2008 we said good bye to our sweetie, Chewy. Since yesterday we have been preparing ourselves to say good bye to our Northcountry Nick. The vet will be here this afternoon to help us allow Nick to get to his next home.

Nick came into our lives almost 13 years ago. I bought him as a surprise for Dan. Dan was not pleasantly surprised when Nick arrived here as a squirming, wired 440 Husky pup but it wasn’t but a day or two and Nick had both of us wrapped around his little paw.

I won’t go into all that is involved in raising a Husky from a pup…look it up online sometime. It is kind of like having a child who never gets out of the “terrible twos”. Even as a youngster, Nick was quite vocal; loved to talk and sing. We’ve even had campground guests who would return and ask if Nick was still with us and could he sing for them. One elderly couple video taped Nick singing so they could show their grandkids when they returned home from their vacation. My daughter, who only saw Nick (and us!) about once a year fell in love with Nick and called him Mr. Personality.

When Nick came to live with us, She-ba (my Samoyed) was about 10 years old and wasn’t as spry as she use to be. Nick’s favorite thing to do to She-ba was to come running past her (as she lay trying to sleep) and grab a mouth full of “She-ba fur” and keep running. Another activity he enjoyed was picking the flowers off from the Christmas cactus and putting them on the floor. She-ba allowed Nick to cuddle up to her for his naps…which were quite frequent for both of them; hers because she was worn out from trying to keep her fur intact and his because he was just a little squirt and wore himself out with all his shenanigans. It didn’t take long for his Dad and him to become inseparable best buds.

Nick loves everyone. He would get so excited when company came, almost to the point that we were embarrassed to have company. He thought they were here to see him, and maybe they were! After all, he was the one dominating the conversation with his talking and singing.

We’ve done all we can for Nick. We had blood work done a month ago and that was fine and we had X-rays done on the 16th. The only thing that showed up (besides arthritis) is calcification on an area that looks like it is ON or IN his intestine. This is probably why he is no longer interested in food. We brought him home that day determined to give him at least a couple of more days of extreme care before making our final decision. It was evident by Monday afternoon, that all the special cooking we were doing, the hand feeding, etc were not doing him any good. The decision was made and Dan built Nick’s coffin. We called a man we know who has a back hoe to ask him if he would dig us a 4 x 4 x 4 foot hole. He drove his back hoe a bit over 3 miles to get here to dig the hole. When asked what we owed him he said “Some things you cannot put a price on.” So a special thanks to Marty Harju.

Nick would have been 13 on June 12th so his Dad and he had LOTS of time, GOOD time together. Where Chewy was my little girl, Nick is (I can still say is because as I am writing this, he IS on the living room floor sleeping peacefully) for sure his Dad’s best bud. I love Nick with all my heart but it is different between him and Dan, just like it was different between Chewy and me than it was for Chewy and Dan.

As with any pet, this was not an easy decision but we know we are doing the best thing for our best friend, our best boy. He will be with She-ba and Chewy and my Dad (Dad and Nick loved each other and they too only saw each other about once a year). Knowing it is the right decision does not make it any easier. Dan has been very adamant that I do one thing for him (Dan) and I will do my best. Dan needs to grieve in his way, and he understands that I have to grieve in mine (which usually involves a lot of tears and sobbing). He has asked that I do not give into that when he is around. This will be one of the hardest things he has ever asked of me, but I need to do this for Dan.

So, a little over 4 short hours on this rainy day and Nick will be leaving us to find his way to others that have gone before him.

We love you with all of our hearts, Nick.


  1. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Dear Nick,

    As you know, you were blessed with wonderful caregivers. You'll be missed just as all the others are missed. Please remember, 'your' people loved you from the bottom of their hearts. They only want what is best for you.

    Dear Dan and Cathy, if you didn't love Nick you wouldn't have cared what happened to him. He pleased you at every turn; unfortunately it's your turn to please him by letting him go.

    Take care and keep looking for the sunshine 'cause that'll be your Nick smiling down on both of you.

    Hugs, Gaylord G'ma

  2. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Sorry to hear about Nick :(
    I know it's a hard thing to do but sometimes it's better for them and you just so that everyone involved does not have to suffer. Give it sometime and you and Dan will need to get new dogs, you two are dog people.

    Jerry :)

  3. Anonymous8:29 AM

    It was a great pleasure to meet and know Nick. We will miss you dear friend.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  4. Anonymous10:13 AM

    Cathy & Dan,

    I am sorry that Nick is leaving us. I am so happy that you had him in your life. I'd bet that Nick will continue to make you smile and laugh for a long time if not forever.

    Buckeye Paul


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