A family member called Nikko

                                                 In memory of Nico
                                             So loving and adorable
                                   Sorely missed and never forgotten 

He came into our lives by chance and quite unexpectedly.  I was driving with my wife along the national highway in Cabanatuan City when she caught a glimpse of the signboard and frantically asked me to turn around and check it out.

And there they were, four “siblings” to choose one for adoption, but the tiniest of the four was quick to jump to the outstretched arms of Elsie.  He didn’t even give us a chance to check the other three out as he hung on tight to Elsie and licked her face profusely.  So much for choosing!

We brought him home and named him Nikko in memory of Elsie’s companion dog Nico who passed away two years before after a long and agonizing bout with cancer.

Maltese are perfect for condominium dwellers like us — they are small, quiet, gentle, loving, smart and happy with daily 20-minute walks.  Their coat is silky and soft but doesn’t shed, making them a good choice as well for allergy sufferers.

Maltese are noted for their long snowy white coat that hangs flat over the sides of the body almost to the ground.  But for his comfort in tropical weather and ease of grooming, we have decided to keep Nikko’s coat clipped short in a “family cut,” courtesy of his groomer Michelle who owns a pet shop at Tiendesitas, Pasig City.

Nikko can sometimes be a picky eater, so we serve him a “cocktail” of dog pellets and let him pick out what he wants.  He likes freshly baked pandesal early mornings and snacks of soda crackers or plain cookies late afternoons.  On weekends he gets a treat of Cesar’s dog meat or strips of Jollibee fried chicken from Elsie.

For some peculiar reason, he prefers Jollibee over the other popular burger and chicken shops.  I often ask him why but he never tells me.

A true companion dog, Nikko loves to travel and especially enjoys long drives to the province, sticking his head out of the car’s window to take sniffs at the country air and watch the passing landscapes.  “Pit stops” at big petrol stations excite him as occassions for short walk, “marking territory” and of course Jollibee chicken.

Occassionally, on his lucky day, he gets to meet and play with a female pet dog.  Saying goodbye when it’s time for us to move on is always hard for him (and a struggle for me to get him into the car).  “Did you get her mobile number baby?”  Elsie will tease him, and he will respond with more angry barks directed at me.  But soon the “chance encounter” will be forgotten when he gets busy sticking his head out of the car’s window.

Nikko’s bedding habits at night are almost childlike.  He has his own bed but prefers to sleep the night in our bed, with his stuffed toys and chewing bone.  His nightly bed “rituals” include frenzied running and rolling all over the bed and a game of hide-and-seek.  He loves to hide underneath the comforter and lay there motionless, waiting for me to lift his cover and “surprise” him with bulaga(!).  He goes nuts when I do that and will repeat the game again and again.

When he’s done with his plays he will nudge me with gentle barks to turn on the bedroom TV and tune in to his favorite channel.  He is a big fan of the Animal Planet and watches it intently, especially when his favorite program, The Meerkats, is showing.

Sleeping time for him is when I turn off the TV set and bedroom lights.  He never complains(!) and will obediently curl close to my feet where he will fall asleep.

His body clock tells him with uncanny precision when it’s time for his morning or evening walk and when I will arrive home from work.  He will patiently wait at the front door and jump all over me as soon I enter the house.  I must first hug and rock him before he lets me hug and kiss my wife.

Nikko is also very perceptive of our feelings and moods and is especially sensitive to Elsie’s.  He can sense when something is bothering Elsie and will show his concern by hugging and licking her leg.

My wife and I are not really experts in dog care and training.  What little we know about it comes from experience and the Internet.  But Nikko has taught us that child rearing and dog raising have things in common — they both require constant care, patience and, above all, love.  Love them both and they will love you back many times over.

Author:  Rene “RC” Catacutan
Published 22 October 2011


Remembering Nico 

Loving and kind

Gentle and polite

Perceptive and smart

Dedicated and protective

Goodbye baby, we love and miss you!


Some photos of Nikko

Mom Elsie proudly displaying the 4-month-old Nikko

“Juvenile” Nikko


2-year-old Nikko


Nikko with his mom Elsie

Travel dog Nikko with his mom Elsie


Hmmm smells good.


God it’s tough.  Mommy!


Nikko and my granddaughter Acky making faces for the camera


Nikko with his mom Elsie


 Nikko’s “cousin” Billy owned by Zharina Paez Lock of Ontario, Canada


Photos of Maltese show dogs

Commonly popular dog breeds (in alphabetical order)

Afghan Hound


Alaskan Klee Kai

American Cocker Spaniel

Askal or asong kalye (literally “street dog”) from the Philippines.  If only we can be as kind and tolerant as this magnificent creature ….   


Bichon Frise’



Chow Chow



Doberman Pinscher

English Bulldog

German Shepherd

Golden Retriever


Great Dane


Jack Russel Terrier

Japanese Spitz

Labrador Retriever


Maltese “Billy” owned by Zharina Paez Lock of Ontario, Canada (also in photo is Zharina’s daughter Chelsea Grace).


Miniature Schnauzer



Polish Hound


Poodle (Miniature)

Poodle “Cloey” owned by Caroline Dantes Fabugais of Ontario, Canada.

Portuguese Water Dog


Scottish Terrier

Shih Tzu

Spanish Water Dog

St. Bernard

Toy Bulldog

Yorkshire Terrier