Time for the next to last installment of the Name Game with Qannik. If you want to participate, check out Frankie’s blog and the rules of the game. We bent the rules and are taking a post every day this week to explain where each member of The Herd’s name came from. We will finish on July 4 – the day when everyone is supposed to post their stories – with Cheoah the Cheesewhiz. And don’t forget that every member of The Herd has his/her own page here, including past members of The Herd.
We explained to you how Natasha came to us during a difficult summer of losing two members of The Herd and how Rusty came to us to be a companion and playmate of Natasha since our matriarch, Nikita, was getting older. And then, with the loss of beautiful Nikita, we added both Kiska and Kodiak to help fill that huge void. We had never planned to have more than three dogs, much less four, so we were really not looking to grow The Herd any further. But fate stepped up in the form of our local all-breed rescue, Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation (still looming, our announcement of how The Herd will be taking a special role in Fifth Annual Downtown Dog Walk on August 7).
We were driving down the road and stopped at Sarge’s just to chat. No Siberians were on display, but one of the volunteers asked if we would do them a favor. Of course. There was an all-white Siberian Husky at Haywood Animal Control that was an owner surrender. Sarge’s was working on foster space, but asked if we would go by and check on him and make sure he was doing ok in the shelter. Totally not fair, but ok.
Upon arrival at the shelter, out bounced (literally) this bundle of white fur, sparkling blue eyes, and wide grin. His name was Snowflake (go ahead, Brice, and laugh) and the shelter knew little except that he had been turned in by his owner. Closer inspection revealed things that broke the hu-dad’s heart. The tips of his ears were hairless from fly bites. Fur had been rubbed off around his neck to reveal fresh wounds where a rope had been tied around his neck and dug into the skin. Missing fur on the side of his nose and worn teeth indicated a dog that had spent a lot of time chewing on a wire wall. And his paws were mangled, scarred and furless (this is a common sign of a dog who lives standing on a wire floor, with the wire cutting into the paws – often found in breeding dogs in puppy mills).
The hu-dad was crushed, angry – and determined. Snowflake was not waiting on a foster space to become available. And, as nice as the people who work at Haywood Animal Shelter are, Snowflake deserved better. Right then. And so he was adopted on the spot, July 14, 2007.
Vet checks revealed roundworms, a urinary tract infection, and a very nasty case of Kennel Cough. It took several vet visits and rounds of medications to cure his physical ailments, and he had to be neutered (all members of the Herd are spayed or neutered). He was totally clueless on dog interactions and had to learn how to play (and is still a challenge in meeting other dogs because he wants to meet them head-on, a challenging physical approach despite his sole desire to play). He had never learned bite inhibition and had no clue how to walk on a leash. This was simply a dog who had never spent a day being a dog or being socialized with other dogs.
But despite the mistreatment, despite the medical issues, and despite the abandonment, Snowflake simply kept smiling that silly grin of his. Snowflake never had fear issues of humans or seemed to resent his prior life at all. He simply wanted (and still wants) to be cuddled as often as possible. In fact, he is the only member of The Herd that sleeps in the humans’ bed every night – nestled tightly against a human. He loves to wrestle and play with The Herd. And he talks as much as the rest of The Herd combined (well, he did until Cheoah arrived and battled him for the title of most talkative).
The name, however, needed to go. The solution turned out to be really simple. In Inuit, Snowflake is Qannik (for all of those who ask, pronounced Ka-nik). He is now 58 pounds of solid muscle, the happiest (and sometimes most clueless) soul in the house, and happy to be the Omega dog in the herd – because he is a part of the Herd.