My Golden “Furiend”

Nikolai (Niko) is undeniably my best friend. He is a 3 year old Golden Retriever whom I have parented since he was a mere six weeks old. Here are some photos I took from that precious meeting.



I adopted Niko with the intention of partnering with him for volunteer work involving animal-assisted therapy. AAT is any type of therapy involving a certified animal that is targeted to improve a patient’s social, cognitive, emotional, or physical functioning. Because of this, Niko and I started training from the day he came home.

Follow the link below to view a video of 8-week-old Niko performing a few commands:  Baby Niko Performing Commands

When Niko was almost two, he was ready for therapy training. He passed it with flying colors.



Though Niko passed his training because he is such a good, smart boy, we are taking a break from it until I finish my Master’s. He started displaying some signs of anxiety when we would venture out, and it’s not fair to expect him to perform if he is not completely comfortable. We’ll work through that as soon as I have time to take him out a little at a time every day in order to get him over that hump!

For now, he is just happy playing with his cousins whenever he gets the chance.



He has a very goofy personality, but he is also sweet, gentle, and sensitive.


Feel free to comment with stories and photos of your furry family members!

Thank you for reading.


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10 Responses to My Golden “Furiend”

  1. Ariana says:

    Hi Jessica! I love this post! Niko looks like he has grown from an absolutely adorable pup into a very handsome helper. I’m not very familiar with AAT. It sounds so interesting. You’ve inspired me to do some research on it. Best of luck to you in the course!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Krissy's Messy Kitchen says:

    Adorable pictures of your dog! Animals can be used in so different aspects of therapy – wonderful that you and your furiend are giving back!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lisamarciano says:

    What a beautiful dog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica,

    What great photos!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. adampatr says:

    Awesome blog! Love your photos, you have a gift. Working with Niko is very noble and kind of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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