Flicka, and a particular friend of hers, are the reason this organization exists.
Flicka’s story began with her father, Kirby, of Rush Hill Golden Retrievers. “Kirby was arguably one of the most heavily titled, revered and renowned Golden Retrievers of all time.” (from the Rush Hill website). His beauty and charm captivated everyone who met him. Kirby exhibited all the best characteristics of man’s best friend which he bestowed to his offspring, including Flicka and her brother Kodiak.
Like so many goldens, Flicka loved everyone and everything. Especially treats, tennis balls and pets, of course – probably in that order. She was smart enough to be sneaky – waiting until we turned a corner on our walk to dart the opposite direction of my eyes and grab something she shouldn’t, and determined to have her way – whether it meant sleeping alone on the most comfortable couch, or dropping the tennis ball in front of me for hours on end, accompanied by that irresistible expectant gaze.
Unlike her big lug of a brother, Flicka was remarkably independent for a golden. But after she was treated for pneumonia developed during a supposedly harmless tooth-cleaning, she became more and more attached to me – sleeping at my side all night, and following me into whatever room I went in the house rather than waiting wherever she was most comfortable and looking up (maybe) with that “Oh it’s you” look if I happened in.
So we fell in love with each other all over again. But not long after, Flicka suddenly lost the use of her back legs. In just a couple days she was unable to walk, and was diagnosed with cancer that was pressing on her spine and had spread into her lungs and kidneys. As she sat in a wagon at the University Veterinary Hospital, being wheeled down the hall for more exams, she looked around at me, not knowing what I knew - that we’d never look at each other again.
Flicka’s "particular friend" I mentioned above is Denise Luke. She is one of those amazing people who give of themselves more in a week than most of us do in a year. The number of cats and dogs she has rescued herself, or helped others to rescue, is staggering. After Flicka was gone, Denise’s work inspired my dream to remember Flicka by supporting those efforts financially through the many volunteers and organizations dedicated to helping other animals who, unlike Flicka, don’t have someone who will do whatever it takes to make them happy and healthy. So it’s Flicka, and Denise who are the reason Friends of Flicka exists.
Kodiak has remained a constant companion and blessing over the years. Recently a new member of Kirby's lineage has come into our lives. Yogi brings all the excitement and joy that an exuberant puppy brings. He and Kodiak have already established a wonderful bond reminiscent of the kindness and compassion that is the true embodiment of Flicka's spirit.
If you notice a resemblance, its because Yogi Bear is the grandson of Flicka and Kodiak’s famous dad, Kirby of Rush Hill.
Christopher Ljungkull, 2006