Update on July 10, 2024:

We’re still reeling.  We miss Nike every day.  We unconsciously still look for him in the house expecting him to be there.

We walk into the house hoping he is there, bouncing up to greet us, so he can take a pee, get a treat, and then snuggle with us for the night.

It hurts not having that anymore.

Friends ask, “Are you getting another dog?”

No.  It is way too soon — at least for us.  We know other folks need to get a new dog right away.  Maybe we are just wallowing too much.

We still talk to him every morning.  Susan, my Undercover Jetsetter Co-Host, created a blanket loaded with images of Nike.  Many of them have Nike starting right into the camera like he’s still looking right at us.

I posted two of them here.

My screens on my phone and computer are Nike.  One of them has him sound asleep which makes me feel some peacefulness thinking he is resting and no longer in pain.

So, Nike is still with us.

We’re hoping the pain for us goes away and becomes just great memories that we are so thankful for.  Until then, we will honor what he did for us and so many others.

Here’s the original blog I wrote right after Nike passed.

Nike died February 22, 2024.

He was euthanized at the age of 16 and a half.

My wife Teri and I are so sad.  The house has an emptiness, a lack of energy and fun.

It’s hard to believe that a 12-pound Maltese Poodle could fill the house and our lives like that for 16 years.  But he did.


Nike Was Family

He was more than a pet. He is family.

And he was part of our network of great friends as we saw in texts once they heard he had left us.

“Nike was a cool dude. We will miss him.”

“We are sooooo sorry! He was such a great little guy. Words aren’t enough.”

“That is very sad news. He had the best of care and was a special friend.”

“He was a great companion for many years.”

We can recall dinner invitations that included these messages:

“Bring Nike too.”


“Don’t come unless you bring Nike.”

If they left a phone message or a text to say hello, almost every “how you doing?” included Nike.

Nike was engaging. He would look you straight in the eye.  He got you.

He was also a calm dog.  He would not jump all over you.  He would calmly nestle up to you or wait to get petted.

Yet he was athletic running the beaches and snow filled fields.

Some of our friends would agree with me when I would tell him, “Nike, you are the greatest dog in the world.”  I’m sure Nike rolled his eyes like many other who didn’t know him.

However, I have some pretty good facts about Nike’s life that would at least get him nominated for the honor.

He championed life with vigor, love, and kindness.

Nike’s Life Story

Let me tell you about Nike’s odyssey while also thanking so many people along the way.

In 2008, Nike came to us as Teddy, because, we think, he looked like a teddy bear with tons of wild fur.

He was nearly a victim of the financial crisis that hit the US, especially Las Vegas where we lived.

Nike was only 3 months old when his first owners tied him to a tree in the backyard of their house as they left the property they could no longer afford – and disappeared.

Luckily, a neighbor spotted Nike and took him to his house – with three huge dogs.  Nike stayed there for a few days trying to follow the big dogs out the doggie door.  The neighbor told me months later that “he had such heart.  He would try to get out the doggie door even though it was too big for him to get himself out.  But he kept trying.”

The owner couldn’t handle another dog, so he took him to the local dog pound.  But he was warned about a parvo scare and they may have to euthanize any dog that contracts it.

Instead, the owner, seeing Nike’s zest for life, took him to Heaven Can Wait, a charity to save unwanted pets from being euthanized.

I had just emceed a charity golf event for them and they said, “anytime you want a pet, we will have one for you.”

At the time, Teri and I had no pets.  However, we did babysit a fabulous miniature poodle for one of her clients for a week at a time as they hit the ski slopes in Utah.

So, we thought we might be ready for a pet.

Heaven Can Wait offered a couple of 13 year olds that had just had hip surgery, but we thought that would be out of caring skills.

When we said we wanted a small lap dog, they weren’t optimistic.

And then Teddy, soon to be Nike, showed up.

Teri got an email with a photo of him and she immediately knew we had found our guy.

Nike In Prison?

But first, we had to get Nike out of prison.

We wanted him immediately, but Heaven Can Wait said we had to wait. First, he needed to be neutered.  Later, we saw the castration date was December 24, 2007.  So, we would toast him on Christmas Eve about Nike’s Christmas Balls.

In addition, Heaven Can Wait put him through obedience training.  They had a brilliant plan that each dog, before adoption, had to be trained by a female inmate at the nearby Jean, NV Prison first.  The program reduced the number of dogs returned and it gave the inmates new skills in dog training and grooming.

It was a three month program, but after two months they called and said he was so smart and trained, we could get him now.

And we did.

The first time Teri picked him up and nestled him, he nestled right back. It was meant to be.  We recalled that moment when he was put to sleep 16 years later as Teri held him and he snuggled with her the exact same way.

Once we took him home, he ran around the house into every room and seemed satisfied and ready for his new life with us.

Teri decided on his new name.  Nike has nothing to do with the shoe company even though Teri is a personal trainer.  Nike is the Greek goddess of competition and survival.  So, to us, it was perfect.  Later when we moved South, we noticed our friends there started calling him Nike Dawg, which we also adopted to his liking.

It wasn’t long after he joined the family that we saw the exceptional spirit of Nike.

For that, we owe lots of thanks to our friends in Las Vegas.  They held a “dog shower” for Nike days after he was ours. They had gifts and presents to usher him into the community.  He was calm and friendly, allowing everyone to hold and snuggle him.  Still, I have to think this warm reception he was given made him feel even more safe.

Over the decades we have had so many friends, too many to mention here, who took in Nike for a weekend or a week when Teri and I were out of town and couldn’t take Nike with us.  He turned out to be the easiest of pets, as so many of them told us.  In fact, so many of them requested to house him that we didn’t have enough getaways to keep them happy.

Nike was also a giver and protector.

Our pool guy in Vegas made his usual stop for our backyard pool.  He knocked on the door to get Teri’s attention.  With him was his newly-born daughter in a bassinette seat.  He and his wife swapped who would take the little girl to work with them.  Today was his turn and he wanted Teri to see her.  Teri also wanted them to see Nike, our newborn.

After the introductions, Teri went inside while the pool guy did his work.  About a half hour later, he knocked on the door.  “I want you to see this,” he said.

Protective Nike

There was Nike sitting at the feet of the little baby girl guarding her.

“When you went inside, Nike stayed by her the whole time.”

It was the first revelation of how special Nike was.

A little history about us and dogs. Teri grew up with dogs.  But I never had a pet. Teri always tells people, “He never even had a goldfish.“

Teri’s teaching and coaching background kicked in.  And it wasn’t just for Nike.  She had to train me and Nike.  I had to follow the rules too.  “The owners need to be trained too,” she told me.

She put him – and me — through rigorous puppy training that led to the most obedient, well-trained, polite, friendly dog – along with his unconditional love for others.

He was never a problem.  We never had to worry about him running away. We always joked that his first few months of life ingrained in him the fear of abandonment. He still had it years later.

We would take him on some of the celebrity golf outings that allow dogs in the hotel room. When I would pack the car with all the stuff from the hotel room, he would notice when everything was gone and he was the last to go in the car, and you would hear a really loud bark, that said, “Hey. Don’t leave me.“

He had an incredible appetite. In his early years, we just stuck with dog food thanks to our vet David Tack, who said that MaltePoos had digestive issues.

In his later years, Nike enjoyed fresh food we would cook for him. His taste buds became so good, we would not be able to feed him the same thing too many times in a row. My TV cohost Susan Anzalone said, “Nike has an Undercover Jetsetter palate.”

Once we had moved to the Boston area and then the Carolinas, Teri realized how lucky we were to have Nike.  He was easy and fun.  If we had guests over, he wanted to be around them too.  If we’re all talking in the kitchen, he waited to be picked up so he could be in the conversation too with everyone.

Nike’s Academy Award Performance

Nike was a family advocate too.  In fact, we owe him for the great townhouse and neighborhood we call home at Rivers Edge in Shallotte.  Nike put on an Academy Award Winning performance.

Our apartment in Sunset Beach was up for sale, so our landlord gave us time to find a new place.  Teri searched all over to find the perfect spot.  She found it at Rivers Edge, a townhouse on the 18th hole.  The realtor thought it was perfect too, then she asked, “You don’t have a dog, right?”  When we said he was small and well-trained, she said the landlord was insistent no dogs, since a previous dog had caused damage to the townhouse floors.

We were crushed.  Then a week later, the realtor called back.  A potential tenant had backed out and they wanted to revisit considering us.  But, the landlord wanted to see Nike first.

I am certain Teri talked to Nike about being a good boy when he arrived.

Our landlord and future friend was Jackie.  As Teri arrived, Jackie was waiting to asses the four-legged tenant.

Nike was ready.  He walked over to her, sat at her feet, and looked up at her with longing eyes.  He didn’t leave her at all.

Jackie was sold.

We got the house.  And each time, Jackie came by to check on the place and us, Nike would greet her the same way.

Jackie remembered it too.  She called and gave her condolences remembering how special Nike was.

When Teri recounted that first meeting Nike had with Jackie, I called it, “Nike’s Academy Award performance.”  Trust me, without his performance, we would not have the home and the incredible friends we have today in the Rivers Edge community.  Yup, we owe it all to Nike.

It was just another episode where Nike Dawg wowed us.

But Teri wanted to give back more with Nike.

Nike Helps Alzheimer’s Patients

So, she had him trained as a therapy dog.  He was the smallest dog in the program but he went through the training and the tests with ease.  His demeanor was perfect for being around elderly people.

That led to many visits to senior citizens homes and Alzheimer’s units.

Nike would sit with the patients in their beds and let them pet him and he would give them lick kisses. They loved him.

But there was more. Nike had a thing about Alzheimer’s units. He wanted to go there first.

Not long after, Teri‘s mom, Sarah, had a friend who was visiting her at her home.  The friend was leaving the area to move in with her daughter up north because she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As it turns out, Teri and Nike were going over to the house when Sarah‘s friend was there. Now, when Nike is at Sarah‘s house he would sniff around the rooms like he was acting as the surveillance officer. But on this day, he immediately went to Sarah‘s friend and sat at her feet and never left her until she had to go.

We were all amazed and touched. We wondered if he could sense the scent or the inclination to know if someone had Alzheimer’s.

Nike also brought great solace to our family when Teri’s Dad, my father in law Dave, died from complications of COPD in 2018.  We were all there for hospice care at the house. Nike nestled with him until the end.  In fact, we think Nike was the last one to see him alive.

As you will see in the video below, our vet Dr. Kathy Duford, of Waterway Animal Hospital in Little River, SC, noticed something about a week after Dave’s passing when Nike hurt his paw.

He was deeply affected about losing his buddy Grandpa Dave.

Dr. Kathy was right.  When we would go to the house after Dave’s death, Nike would always go into Dave’s room looking for him.

They had a great friendship.  Nike always sat in Dave’s lap.  For 20 years, Dave would visit us in Vegas for March Madness at the casinos as Dave was a big college hoops fan and we would see all the games in the NCAA tournament at the sportsbooks.  But it was also the time that Dave could spend with Nike, his grand dog.  Through visits back to the Carolinas and then living here, they were inseparable.

Nike was also a friend to many of his canine pals.

One of the funniest stories was in the Raleigh, NC area.  I was playing in the Duke Children’s Celebrity Golf Tournament.  Teri and I flew out with Nike and Nike stayed with our friends Rick and Annie Meadows and their two big dogs.  One of them was Saucy.  Annie and Rick went to check on the dogs, but they couldn’t find Nike.  They were frantic searching the house thinking he might have run off.  How would they explain it to us?  Finally, they saw Saucy asleep on his side and they noticed something furrier along his belly.  It was Nike sound asleep cuddled up with Saucy.

Our other friends here in Shallotte, Charlie and Page Coker, had a sweet little dog Matti.  She and Nike were like boyfriend and girlfriend.  We would have dinner there and Nike and Matti would walk around the house and then just lie down and sleep together.

Sadly, Matti died a few years ago.  We believe Nike is with her.

We also think he is with Grandpa Dave and some of our other friends who have passed who loved and had a chance to be buddies with Nike.

Recently, Pope Francis was asked by a young boy who just lost his dog, if he would see his dog in heaven.  Pope Francis said yes he would.  I feel like he was talking to me too.

My longtime friend Ken Hyne (for more than a half century) has had plenty of dogs who have passed on.  He warned me how difficult it will be.  His friendly preparation for me was still not enough. But he is right: it’s like losing a spouse or a child that lives with you.

The last few years Nike had slowed down.  He was the equivalent to someone in their 90s.  Yet he still pushed on, wanting to walk, go for a stroll outside, eating a variety of foods that he loved.

One of his favorites was the rotisserie chicken from Costco.  I could bring it home and he could be two floors up and he would smell it.  He would give a whimper and soon he would be at my feet as I am cutting the chicken from the bones.  He would devour the small pieces I gave him.

The Costco Chicken was also a key to realizing Nike was ready to leave us.  After an uncomfortable night breathing and coughing some blood, he refused to eat.  We tried some of the Costco rotisserie chicken, but for the first and only time, he turned away from it.

Later that afternoon, we took him to Waterway Animal Hospital knowing what was next.

We had known the time was coming.  A year earlier, an x-ray showed a tumor on his lung and heart.  He was only given a month to live.  Yet, he survived for 13 more months.  Dr. Kathy called him, “Miracle Dog” about 6 months ago.  Still, that miracle could last only so long. And we are so grateful for that extra time with him.

For the last time, we held him, talked to him, and told him how much we loved him – without showing our inward pain – so he might just think this was a medical procedure and not the end.  Like he was there for Dave, we would be there for him.  He went peacefully.

This is one of the toughest things Teri and I have had to endure.

I write this with a lot of tears.

I can still feel Nike here with us – even though physically it feels so empty without his energy.

I am sure time will remove some of the sorrow and let us dwell more on the fun times.

Nike brought so much to me.

I am still amazed at how Teri so lovingly trained and nurtured him into the dog he became.  And I realize how she also trained me so, along with Nike, we became a fun and enduring family where we were both known, not as John and Teri, but Daddy and Mommy.

And we are so thankful to so many of our friends who loved Nike and are feeling the pain of his loss.

And we give thanks to Heaven Can Wait, Dr. Dave Tack, Salty Paws who made Nike look great, and Dr. Kathy and her staff at Waterway Animal Hospital for making Nike’s life and ours so great.

Nike Dog, Cheers Buddy! You will always be with us.

Enjoy the video below with Nike at Waterway Animal Hospital.

John Daly is the host and producer of Carolina Buzz, seen on Wingding Media, Wingding.tv, and other social media pages.