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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.