Niko and Ron, the journey of man’s best friend


LELAND, NC (WWAY) — His name is Niko and like any other dog, he likes treats, to get his belly rubbed, long walks on the beach and fishing.

The 11 year old Siberian Husky is man’s best friend, just ask his owner Ron Ratley.

“He provides emotional support, keeps me company, always makes me laugh,” Ratley said.

For Ratley, who is deaf, Niko is more than just a pet. Niko helps him get around protects him and even keeps him safe.

“I was born deaf, he woke me up to a fire alarm, going off he’s very protective,” Ratley said.

Niko is his emotional support dog, making life a little bit easier.

“Let’s me know if somebody is at the door, let’s me know what time to get up, he is my personal alarm clock,” Ratley said.

Which is why when he found out something was wrong with Niko, he was distraught.

“Blood in the urine, acting very weak, not acting himself,” Ratley said. “I took him to the animal hospital. Who then discovered Niko had developed kidney cancer.”

Doctors said Niko only had one kidney is functioning and that he wasn’t sure how much it spread. Niko was given one year to live.

Now with the future uncertain, Ratley has found himself facing yet another challenge, something he’s had to do most his life.

As for Niko, who has been Ratley’s helper, now as the roles reverse, Ron wanting to help Niko.

“I’m heartbroken, I think about it everyday,” Ratley said. “I don’t know what to do, he can have surgery but it’s very expensive. Thought about another dog, but he was my first dog.”

For now, he says all he can do is pray.

“Praying, trying to keep him happy in the time that he has,” Ratley said.

While Ratley knows Niko won’t always be by his side, he is now cherishing every moment and determined to protect his faithful companion as long as they’re together.

If you would like to donate to the duo, visit their GoFundMe page.

Categories: Brunswick, Community, Local

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