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Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Miss Kiska yesterday. Her singing voice, security presence, and sweet disposition will be missed around Chez Herd.
In August of 2006, we were suffering from the loss of our first Siberian Husky, Nikita (who was born in 1993). Hu-Dad was meeting Siberians in various rescues trying to decide who would come home to join Natasha and Rusty and form our threesome (yes, once upon a time, there were only three). So many beautiful Siberian Huskies to choose from, but one ragged, scared, shy girl kept peeking out at us. The person running the rescue said, “Sometimes, you don’t get the dog you want. Sometimes, you get the dog you need.” And so Waverly came home with us, renamed Kiska (Russian for pure).
Miss Kiska had learned in her early life that humans were not to be trusted. The rescue had helped her so much, but she found herself in a strange place with strange people, unsure whether they were good. She resisted being touched and preferred to hide. Hu-Dad took to sitting on the deck with her, reading a book, and waiting for her to make the first move. Over the coming days, she would approach and sniff, before running and hiding. Each time she would get closer until the day when Hu-Dad felt the tip of her nose on the back of his neck. He sat still, waiting, hoping, while she investigated. After a long period of time, she rested her head on his shoulder while he read aloud to her. She had found her permanent home, the one that would keep her safe.
Kodiak joined us a few weeks later, Qannik the next summer, and then Cheoah in 2008. The Herd had grown to six, each settling into their respective roles. Kiska accepted two functions – the leader of the Sibernacle Choir and the Chief of Security. She took both positions seriously and insisted that everyone else carried their weight.
Sunday mornings became a routine. We would head downtown (2 blocks long) and eat at a table on the sidewalk, an opportunity for Kiska to meet strangers with the safety of the Hu-Dad beside her. She was always wary of people, but a precious few were allowed to approach her, scratch her ears, and compliment her luxurious coat.
After breakfast, we would find a trail – the more remote and difficult the better – and hike in our beloved mountains. Kiska, surrounded by her canine and human pack, felt safe and happy as the years rolled by.
Her friendship was strongest with Queen Natasha the Evil. They were inseparable – Natasha leading the charge and Kiska always at her shoulder. Together, they ruled The Herd for over a decade, raising the younger ones and training the humans.
After a long, slow decline in her strength, we noticed an acceleration of symptoms in the last couple of weeks. An x-ray revealed a mass on her heart and other masses spread into her lungs. Our brave Chief of Security needed the final gift that humans can offer, being held tightly in the Hu-Dad’s arms as she drifted into the final sleep.
Please don’t mourn. We are doing enough of that here. Celebrate her life. An animal control officer intervened. A rescue got involved. Kind volunteers helped prepare her for a better life. And she was adopted into a forever home. That is Miss Kiska’s legacy. Support your local rescue and know that the dogs they help will go on to big adventures and full lives.
Born – Unknown
Adopted – August 2006
Rainbow Bridge – September 19, 2018
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This Week's Thundering Herd Special Features
Weekly thoughts from our Hu-Dad with the latest updates on his writing projects, the books he's reading, and a gratuitous dog photo of us.
What Weather When?
March 26, 2023
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Way Back Wednesday
Each week, we reach back into our vault of over 4,700 previous posts and share a favorite. We hope you enjoy this look back.
Undercarriage Dog Wash
Q-tip loves hanging out in the yard, particularly on a rainy, muddy day like Sunday—even if it does mean he needs an undercarriage dog wash.
Such beautiful pictures of Miss Kiska. My favorite is the beach picture. She looks so happy! She was so happy with you and the Herd.
Krystal the Schneagle sends her sympathy for your loss.
Belated condolences on your loss – I can’t imagine losing two pups so close together 🙁
hello thundering herd its dennis the vizsla dog hay i am verry sorry to heer that miss kiska had to go away north of the rainbo bridj it seems too soon to looze another pak member after qannik but of korse it always too soon no matter wen it happins!!! run free in the snows north of the rainbo bridj miss kiska!!! ok bye
I’m so sorry to hear this. How awful, so soon after losing Qannik.
I’m sorry…I am mourning the loss of sweet Kiska. How can we not mourn with you when you have so generously shared your dogs and lives with us. I cry for her loss and the remaining members of the herd. And tears fall for you and your family. You take these dogs from hell and give them heaven. For that I thank you, and have great admiration for you. We do the same. Mostly purebreed’s, but we really don’t care. I have a 6th sense about dogs. I can read their body language, and tell where they’re hurting if they are. I feared for Kiska after the Queen left last year. I wondered how long she would go on without Q. Sadly, us lovers of the animals go through loss too often. My Shepherd, who was a rescue is 12. Hips are very bad, having trouble walking. I know his time is coming soon. He was so sick and abused when we “stole” him from his abuser. It’s amazing how an abused animal can turn around with nothing but time and love. Thank you for being a life saver for these kind of dogs. My little pack of 3 sends their woos…Radar the Protector, Siniy the fluffly bottom, and Bolt the wonder dog of snuggles
I’m sorry for your loss.
With head Bowed and Paw raised we say good bye to the beautiful Miss Kiska.
We have loved all of the members of the herd, but this loss has brought my Hu-mom to tears. Of all the members of the herd she was the one that touched us, so gentle yet with the internal strength and love of her pack, both K9 and human to vow to keep them safe, a wooly coat, deemed a flaw by the uninformed, but which made her beauty stand out. We are so very sorry for your loss, and we cannot imagine your pain, but know there is a mighty pack forming at the Bridge that will be waiting to rejoin you someday.
With prayers and love
Sabo the German Shepherd, Attorney at Paw
Jasmine the Lab
Delola the German Shepherd
Athena the English Mastiff
Maximus the Tibetan Mastiff
Zoe the Hu-mom chef and chauffeur
Mom sez: Run free, Kiska, run free! I’m betting there were several members of the Herd waiting for you at the Bridge, I’m sure it was the silver bells on their harnesses I could hear when the hu-Dad was hugging you that one last time. And I’m also betting that Qannik was the one waiting to take you across the Bridge to the rest of the Herd. Run free, pretty girl!
Thanks to all the loving souls involved in saving her life.
Thinking of you hu-dad and the rest of the pack.
Bless you. Run free Kiska!
Mom ‘n Ebby say: So sorry to hear that Kiska has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but I just know Qannik was there, waiting for her, waiting to show here where to find and join other Herd members on the other side of the Bridge. Right now, I’m betting there’s a joyful ringing of silver bells, on silver harnesses going on. The fact that you were there to give your blessing for her crossing must’ve meant everything to her, as well. (Kiska, if you get a chance, would you please give my love to MY Sibercrew, too — Chinook, Kiah, Ayla, and IceMan, and let them know I still miss them, as well).
Thank you so much for writing this and for the pictures of Kiska being so happy. I quoted part of this post and included one of your pictures in my post today. I mean it when I said I check your blog regularly and your posts warm (touch) my heart, even when they are occasionally sad. Bless you.
Noooo , not Kiska too. She was one I had hoped to meet someday. Your long hair beauty was one of my favorites. I still haven’t gotten over Qannik.
You know our hearts are so heavy because we feel like family and feel your loss. Please know you are in our hearts. Prayers to you Mr Hall and the Herd
So sorry for your loss and so soon after losing Qannik. Your stories of the herd allow your readers to feel like we know them and, while my sorrow cannot be anything close to what you feel, I will miss your beautiful Kiska and funny Qannik.
I have followed the Herd for over ten years now. It hits me every time a member goes to rainbow bridge. It is so true that there should be a visiting hour at the rainbow bridge! May Miss Kiska have a wonderful time that she has met up with all her siblings from before. I will miss hearing about sweet Kiska who reminds me so much of my Mouse who crossed the bridge in 2016. Run free sweet girl. Thank you Hu-Dad for sharing their lives with us.
Wonderful memories of a Sibe vibrant with life. She was fortunate to find a place in your home with the pack. Farewell, Kiska.
I am so very sorry your loss. I have followed the herd for over 7 years now. After I lost my husky Aries. I did everything to see other huskies. My daughter showed me a video of Mishka the talking husky and I found the herd after that. I can’t help to shed tears. I know what she meant to you and I know that pain. A week after losing Aries my husband got me another puppy. His name is Bruce and he is a German Shepherd. He helped me a lot with the loss of Aries. Til this day he runs when I cry. God knows he’s seen enough of it. I still miss and cry for my Aries. Huskies are my favorite breed of dogs and he was a birthday present from my husband. I imagine it is hard for the herd after losing two of their elders. I will keep you all in my prayers. Hugs and kisses to the herd.
Not mourning is impossible for this beautiful girl. I first met her (and the rest of the herd) after we had just gotten our first rescue husky (but not the first husky for us) after a long break without any pet masters. I’d lost my Nakisha about 5 years before to a quick onset disease that I thought I’d nursed her back to health from. I swore I’d never be owned by another animal. Then came my roommates cat that over the course of a year of living with and a few months of visiting before we lived together that made me realized I had been an idiot for giving up. So I slowly started thinking about another pet.
..enter the rescue from which Frankie and Typhoon came from, and my sweet Chloe whom upon meeting, essentially demanded I adopt her by sitting,laying, and licking me for 3 straight hours at an adoption event. A day later, she had found her home. Few weeks later…a friend’s cat with deformed feet had joined my family. Few more weeks and it was the first Husky event I ever attended…then I saw this mad pack of huskies and their pet humans… In this pack was a Husky with something I’d never seen. This gorgeous long hair coat. She wasn’t that shy when I came to pet her, none of the herd was. So when I found your stories about her previous life and her shyness, I was shocked. To me she was too beautiful and unusual to possibly be that shy. It was always a treat to run into the herd. That coat, whether beautifully flowing in the wind or a giant frizzy furball was perfect to me.
May your hair never be tangled across the rainbow bridge and you enjoy playing with all of our departed friends Ms Kiska, you will be missed greatly. As are all our friends.
…damn onions in here…
You gave her such a terrific life and generously shared it with the rest of us. Her loss will be felt deeply.
A beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl.
Hugs from us all here.
Khumbu, Rita, Arko and hu’mum
I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for saving Kiska and for sharing her with us for all these years. I know she is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge, running free with QNTE and Qannik and all the other dogs waiting for you.
What a wonderful, beautiful tribute for your beloved Kiska! Run free sweet Kiska, run with Qannik! Hu-Dad, thank you so much for the blessings you give to each and every member of the Herd! You gave Kiska such a wonderful life and the love she needed. We appreciate you sharing your Herd with us! Hu-Dad your photography is stunning! Prayers to you all, and although you asked us not to, we can’t help but shed tears with you. Many hugs!
I’m so sorry you’re all having to go through this again so soon. It doesn’t get easier no matter how many times we go through it. I love the pictures of Kiska and can see the joy she gave and received in her life with you.
So sorry…hugs, licks and sniffs from Me and my girls.
I’m so very sorry.
Such a beautiful tribute for a beautiful girl. She found the best home ever with you and the Herd. I know it must be strange to have just the four now but what wonderful legacies Miss Kiska has left behind. Soft woos from my boy, and me too.
I’m sorry for your loss. After our recent loss of our Holly in July, the loss of your Kiska is very poignant for me. She was a beautiful girl.
So sorry for your loss – tough to lose one, but two so close together. Hugs to you from all of us.
Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber
Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Miss Kiska. At work, so trying not to cry. It has been a rough time for the herd with the double loss. Hugs to all the herd.
Kiska was one of a kind, and she was lucky to have you and the Herd. Your patience and love allowed her to relax and enjoy life to its fullest.
So sorry for your loss. Miss Kiska was truly special and so sweet. Thank you for rescuing her, restoring her trust in humans, giving her a loving canine and human family and giving her a wonderful life. I am sure Q-Tip and the others met her and showed her the way and they are all healthy and happy together North of the Rainbow Bridge. Take care of yourself and while I know you are sad, just keep remembering the wonderful life you gave her. Thank you for sharing your beloved dogs with us. We come to love them and cry at their loss and smile at the memories you gave us of them. My love to Miss Kiska’s human and canine family in their loss.
So sorry for your and the herd’s loss. It is wonderful how you spread the message of how love and patience and overcome an animal’s sad beginning. You are an inspiration and we are so grateful that you share The Herd with all of us. Your pictures and posts always bring a smile to my face and make my day brighter.
You will be missed, Miss Kiska. Head north after the rainbow bridge. Your fellow Huskies are waiting
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of Kiska’s life with you. Sounds like she had a good home and a wonderful doggy life with you. Thank you for adopting.
We have 2 rescue Huskies and always say we are giving them a safe and secure place to live out their retirement years. As with Lisa it took some time for these two to get used to us and their new surroundings. We suppose the three walks a day helped warm them up to the change. ????????????
Oh my… I’m so deeply sorry… and I confess that I am mourning with you. My tears are very real and my heart shattered as if Miss Kiska and Qannik were my very own. So much love to all or you at Chez Herd, R.I.P. both of you precious babies, Kiska and Qannik ????????❤️????
I am sorry for the losses of Quannik & now Miss Kiska. We have our own senior Cheyenne we adopted her Oct. 2006 for a companion for our Malamute/Husky mix. I love this breed they’re very special. Everyone hug your dogs & give an extra treat today in honor of Miss Kiska & Quannik. Fly high over Rainbow Bridge Kiska Quannik is waiting for you.????????????????????
I’m heartbroken to hear that another member of the pack has passed away. Miss Kiska was a sweet and beautiful girl, and I know how much she’ll be missed. Thinking of you…
???????? thinking of you all and sending soft woos. XO
oh HuDad. I have tears. I know we shouldn’t have favorites but she was mine!
I loved that little swelling on her nose. it only showed up in profile. but oh my.
to read of her beginning… and to know how she slowly trusted your own heart with hers.
I have tears.
Such a beautiful rescue …she won your heart,and you have so graciously(and Proudly) shared her with us.
She sure was a beautiful girl
and sooo lucky to be rescued and live a long and wonderful life with such a loving herd (human +furry).
I am sad to say goodbye to Miss Kiska,but I know she has had an amazing life with you,and so much LOVE ????
So sorry for your loss and thank you for giving her such a better life than her beginning.
Such a beautiful tribute for a beautiful girl ~ Rest In Peace, Miss Kiska ❤️
Hu-Dad and The Herd – we are sending you strength and love as you mourn the passing of your Chief of Security.
Kate and The Mini Herd (Oakley, Kaci and Bailey)
Godspeed Miss Kiska, you were so very loved, by so many.
Hi dad So sorry. Beautiful, regal lady rest well. We will miss your beautiful singing. I am quite s it re Chez Hers will never be as well patrolled as you carried out. I will miss your voice, heart shaped face that matched the large heart that beat in your chest. Run fast and free sweet lady! I’m sure you were greeted by QNTE, Nikita and Qannik. You will be missed but never forgotten. You paw prints are on our hearts. Hi dad thank you for sharing her.
Dave, sorry for loss of Hitch. He had to be beautiful and loved dearly.
Soft woos from the Hokie Pack for Hu-Dad and the rest of the family. A few tears for the Chief of Security have been shed. She was a beauty.
We are all devastated here at my house. The pups want to know why I am being sad. I have been following the Thundering Herd almost from the day I got Silky nearly 5 years ago. The pack must be very upset with so many members gone. I read your blog everyday to the pups and show the pictures to them too. Godspeed to those who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge from Chez Herd.
Vince, Silky and Nacho
So sorry for your loss – RIP sweet Kiska…
I’ve been reading your stories for a long time now. Sorry for your loss of Kiska, she was my favourite dog.
So sorry to hear of beautiful Kiksa passing. She was a girl who had a rough start but a fantastic and loved life with you and the herd. She will be missed.
So sorry for your loss. Missing another one of a beloved pack…..she was an one-of-a-kind dog. You did the best: giving her the trust in people back.
The rest of the Herd and their pack will go on, but always with a little smile reminding of the beautiful and beloved dogs who crossed the rainbow bridge.
This message is for Hu-Dad on the loss of Miss Kiska and Dave Lukosik. I am so very sorry for your losses. I am true dog lover and over my 72 years I have lost many too many. BUT most were rescues and everyone who knows us says our dogs have lead wonderful lives-no matter how long or short. I know Hu-Dad you told us not to mourn but reading about another loss after Quannik is heartbreaking. Dave-I am so sorry about your loss of Hitch but like to think they met each other just north of Rainbow Bridge and are running and howling together-young and healthy once again. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sorry for your loss of Kiska! You do beautiful photography of your Siberians and their life and adventures. I take a lot of photos of mine but do not post them. Yesterday I took 12 y/o Hitch(Alberta/Oregon true sled dog piebald(Ramstead/Yeargain boy heritage 23 gen to Togo, Yes! Rescued from a 30 sled dog kennel in Seeley Lake, Montana in Spring 2009. Past 4 days not eating, not even Wild Alaska Pink Salmon! Drinking ,no pain but very lethargic. Vet took a look at white of eyes and yellow instead of pink gums and said severe jaundice! Cause ??? could be 6 or more things, Prognosis, not good at all, Don’t let Hitch suffer in silence so he fell a sleep in my arms while the vet did what she had to do we all cried. What a sweet and gentle boy but did he love to run in front of a scooter! His Siberian friends saw him buried near the kennel fence in his Howling Dog racing harness with full sled dog honors here next to the BRP in Little Switzerland, NC Sorry for the typos but the tears make seeing blurry now! Take care Hitch I will love you forever! Dave Lukosik i
So sorry to hear about Hitch. Dogs give to humans throughout their lives and ask only that we are there for them at the end.
So sorry about your sweet Hitch, Dave. I always tell people who lose those they love (and myself,) that when they have to go on ahead, we start getting closer to seeing them again and I believe you’re right, it is forever.