Name Game – Kiska

We are continuing with the name game today with Kiska.  If you want to participate, check out Frankie’s blog and the rules of the game.  We bent the rules and are going to take a post every day this week and explain where each member of The Herd’s name came from.  We will, at least, finish on July 4 – the day when everyone is supposed to post their stories.  And don’t forget  that every member of The Herd has his/her own page here, including past members of The Herd.  So on to Kiska.

One of the first pictures of Kiska hiking with us.

Kiska came to us on August 11, 2006.  It had been two years since Rusty had joined our family and we were ready to add a new member.  More importantly, our long time matriarch, Nikita, was declining and we knew her time with us was short.  Our plan was to adopt after Nikita passed and we had been working with area rescues.  But Kiska just seemed to fit in, so we went ahead and brought her home.  In hindsight, that was a very good thing, because Nikita’s passing a couple of weeks later on August 23 hit Natasha particularly hard and Kiska helped Natasha come out of her grief phase.

Kiska, Rusty, and Natasha on an early hike.

Kiska came from Sleddog Rescue (by the way, if you want to read something that will make your blood boil, click that link to Sleddog Rescue – a great rescue that is now closed because of a silly lawsuit around the movie Eight Below).  We went to the rescue to look at another dog, but the director, Sidney Sachs, pointed Kiska out to us shortly after we were there.  She was convinced that Kiska needed us and we needed her.  But Kiska, with her wooly coat and fear of people, was not at all what we were looking for.  Sidney was patient and we spent several hours at their well run kennels, meeting many of their available dogs.

Kiska thinking she might like this new home and the hikes.

Kiska kept working her magic.  Playing with Natasha (every dog there played with Rusty, but, then again, that is Rusty).  Sniffing the hu-dad.  Sitting across the lot and staring.  At the end of the day, Sidney was right.  Kiska came home with us.

Hiding in the weeds.

We should explain that Sidney is masterful in working with dogs, even dogs like Kiska who clearly have a number of fear issues.  But we also knew that Kiska was going to be more work.  We tried to think of a name that would signify her new start.  But we also knew nothing about her past, except that she was picked up as a stray and had reason to distrust humans.  We decided, though, that she was very pure of heart.  We looked up the word pure in Russian (yep, back to the Russian theme) – Kiska.

Pure. Kiska.

Kiska began our tradition of Sunday morning breakfast in downtown Waynesville.  We needed a way for her to see that humans were good.  Sunday mornings downtown are very quiet, with only a few pedestrians.  Perfect for her to sniff without pressure, greet who she wanted to, and never get mobbed.  Months of this worked wonders.  Not sure she will ever step up to meet a stranger, but she is far more comfortable today letting someone approach and pet her.  And, we gained a tradition of eating breakfast at one of the sidewalk cafes in Waynesville.

Enjoying some snow.


  1. Lisa on July 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Kiska is a beautiful name! One we have never heard before!
    Kodi x

  2. Twinkietinydog on July 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Wow, Kiska got to know Nikita for a brief two weeks. What a good thing for Natasha. She would have been very hard to place, if it wasn’t for you. Hey, Kiska! Humans are good, at least ours sure are. Take my word for it, girlfriend.
    Sweet weary Kiska!

  3. The Luke on July 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Kiska… pretty girl wif the pretty name!

    Life can be so unkind, and my heart hurts for all we come to know that just need that one big break in life, and I celebrate when previous circumstances are reversed in just the right and lovin way! It take very special peoples who will go that extra mile to help ease your fears and develop your socialization skills…

    Kiska, this story could not have ended better for you… OR your hu-peoples! Just sayin!

    wif love from the Luke

  4. sychoberians on July 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    We clicked the link, what a disgusting threesome those humans were. We are sorry the rescue had to close.

    Remy and Flash

  5. Country Corgi Pups on July 1, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Another good match and great home for someone who needed you so badly! I know that it took OC a couple of months to overcome losing her Mama, Mist. By the time, her Dad, Buddy, left us, she had the pups, Dott and BG to distract her some, though you could still tell it was hard.

  6. Steve and Kat on June 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I think Kiska has a wonderful story for how she got her name. We are very glad Sidney pushed you to take her home.


  7. NCMountainwoman on June 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Wonderful story. Isn’t it amazing how much healing a dog brings…to us and to other dogs.

  8. Kari on June 30, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    i just love her wooly coat 🙂

  9. Khyra on June 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Are woo sure it doesn’t mean one with fluffy plume o’tail?


  10. gus, louie and callie on June 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Kiska what a great story.. We sure are glad that Sydney realized you belong in the herd…

    Big Sloppy Kisses
    Gus, Louie and Callie

  11. Mochi on June 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I love Kiska’s story! 🙂 She definitely found the right fit with the herd!


  12. Brooke & Darwin on June 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Love Kiska’s story!
    I am so annoyed with that family who sued the rescue (and many others) for the money their (supposed) dog made. OI. People like that should be…. nevermind. The whole lawsuit made no sense… I can’t believe it actually was filed. Their lawyer sounds like a piece of work.
    Was Sidney able to open another shelter? What is she doing now? I feel bad for her… and for all the dogs that arent being helped by her. She seems like a smart, caring woman.

  13. Amy / Layla the Malamute on June 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    We’re loving the stories too!

    I know Sidney. Not personally, but I know her name and know of her because of all the Malamute stuff.

    I read the story against better judgment, and you’re right, it does make my blood boil. Some people should never be given the joy of owning a dog. But I somehow doubt they ever found much joy in it anyway.

  14. Wild Dingo on June 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Awwwweeee. Wee Kiska! such a princess! I was drawn to her the most out of your herd when i first started reading and without really knowing all of this background. Now of course, i love them all equally for their unique characteristics.

    oh and ya, that story on the rescue made my blood boil. i can’t believe a judge didn’t see it for what it was, people who probably abandonned the dog only to demand her back when she was famous.

  15. The Army of Four on June 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I think Sidney was among the Sibernetters who knew I wasn’t really a foster way before my mom and dad knew I wasn’t really a foster. She’s VERY insightful – and we’re so glad she was right about Kiska, too! Wooooo!

  16. Priscilla on June 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

    It’s a sweet story of finding Kiska. It’s very kind of you to adopt her and give her a new life that she deserves.

    I read the link, a terrible joke!

  17. Sagira on June 30, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Another great story and great fit. 🙂

  18. Dennis the Vizsla on June 30, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Great story — she is lucky she had such good people to work with her!

  19. Fiona on June 30, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Great story about Kiska! And wow, I can’t believe the MORONS who sued the Sledding Rescue organization. THEY should be sued for filing a frivolous lawsuit. *sheesh*

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Mutant Puppy

  20. Kess & her Mama on June 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

    What an inspiring story and an apt name for Kiska.

  21. Life With Dogs on June 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I made the mistake of clicking that link, and you are right – what a joke.

  22. tula on June 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    isn’t that funny how it all works out on both ends?! a perfect match- kiska luv your beautiful face and your beautiful woo!

    dee & tula

  23. Houndstooth on June 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I always find it fascinating how just the right dog finds just the right place. I remember how insistent Treat was that we chose Hawk at the adoption kennel. If he’d gone with anyone besides us, he’d have been returned multiple times and have just been a basketcase. I love the easy ones who come in and just fit in seamlessly, but the ones that I’ve really had to work with have been so rewarding in a really different way! Kiska is so beautiful, and I still always think that she looks like a character from a Dr. Suess story when I see her! I love her ear tufts!

  24. Kira The BeaWootiful on June 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Wooos! we wanted to let woo know how much we are enjoying reading not only how these wonderful pups got there names, but how they got introduced into your lives! We are happy to know woo just a little through this wonderful world of blogging! As a couple of rescues too, we understand the patience and loving needed to make a good home.
    Have a Wonderful day!
    ~husky kisses~
    -Kira The BeaWootiful

  25. The OP Pack on June 30, 2010 at 8:22 am

    You have such great stories to share about each of the pups. Ours will surely pale next to them. We met Sidney through Sibernet and learned a lot from her. We are very happy she convinced Kiska to let you bring her home.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  26. Pepper on June 30, 2010 at 6:16 am

    We are love, love, loving these stories! Can’t wait for the next installment. Such lucky dogs to come into a wonderful pack. There was a story on our TV tonight (we’re in New Zealand) about a poor Sibe that was being kept on a tiny barren wooden back deck with no exercise, no grooming & no love. The SPCA couldn’t seize it because it had food, water & shelter but the poor thing, it broke my heart and made me think it was a far cry from what your dogs have.
    Emily & Pepper

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