At the end of 2019, photographer Brendan Wiltse and his partner Shelly said goodbye to their beloved rescue dog, Khyber. Khyber was diagnosed with cancer, given only a few days to live. Yet, instead of wallowing in sorrow, the couple chose to look at the bright side. They lived every remaining day to the fullest and documented Khyber’s “bonus days” on Facebook. Khyber got 87 bonus days with his family, and each one was special.
Now, a new rescue dog has entered the picture. Nico has a second chance at life, and the family is celebrating everyday joys with their new furry friend.
The Perfect Puppy Life
Nico and his 11 brothers and sisters were born under a trailer in South Carolina a few months after Khyber passed. His mom was a stray, and she struggled to keep up with so many puppies. Luckily, rescuers saved the litter and hand-fed them when the mother couldn’t provide for them. All 12 puppies and the mother survived and went on to find their forever families.
A family quickly adopted Nico but then had to back out of the adoption due to a tragedy. The pup was then transferred to Winnie’s Legacy Canine Rescue in Vermont during early 2020, where Wiltse soon saw him and fell in love. Nico was the last pup in his litter to find a forever home, but all the waiting was worth it! He fell asleep on his new mom’s lap and quickly adored Khyber’s belongings.
“Even though Khyber has been gone for several months he is welcoming Nico into our home. One of Khyber’s blankets was rubbed on a blanket used with Nico’s brothers and sisters so he felt at home with us. His favorite toy is one of Khyber’s frisbees. He eats out of Khyber’s bowls. And he got really excited when we pulled out Khyber’s bed. He is his own dog, but is following in the footsteps of a big brother he never met,” Wiltse wrote.
So, Wiltse decided that Nico deserved a journey just as exciting as Khyber’s. From day one and on, Wiltse has documented each of Nico’s days on Facebook, including an adorable photo each time.
Wiltse hopes to take Nico on as many adventures as Khyber. Each day on Facebook, Wiltse shares what Nico did, and of course, followers quickly fell in love with the pup. Some days Nico is just playing with toys in the house, but other times, he’s exploring new places and taking in new smells. Like Khyber, Nico knows there’s beauty in every day.
After taking a DNA test, Wiltse later found out where some of Nico’s relatives were. He reached out to the woman who adopted two of Nico’s siblings, and she’s friends with the person who adopted Nico’s mom. They hope that they can meet in person one day so Nico can play with his canine family members again.
Nico has now enjoyed 274 days and counting. And every day just keeps getting better because he has a loving family by his side. Not every day will be a huge adventure, but Khyber and Nico have shown us that there’s something to appreciate in every day. So, let’s all keep living our days like they’re “bonus days.” Every day is a gift, especially with a dog by your side.