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Kodiak

Name

Came to us with the name of Champ, but we renamed him Kodiak because, well, everyone who owns Siberians has to have a Kodiak sooner or later.

Nicknames

Kode Red, Kodi, Kodi Joe, KoJo, Kodi-Monster, Kodi-Master, The Big Galoot, and Big Red

Origin

Came to us as a rescue from Siberian Husky Assist in Bristol, Virginia in October 28, 2006. Like Kiska, he was a skinny stray who had been clearly well cared for in rescue, but needed some stability. His age is a big question mark. We were guessing around 18 months at adoption, but my vet (who is great) guessed he could be as old as 3 years based on wear on his teeth (or, as she said, he has chewed a lot of rocks – an extreme possibility). But while we may not know his chronological age, my vet described him perfectly as saying “he has a lot of puppy between the ears.”

Health

About a year after we adopted him, Kodiak tested positive for Heartworms. We were concerned because he never could gain weight and were looking for a cause. A great learning for me that despite blood tests by both the rescue and us, the heartworms were not detected. Heartworm infestation will not result in a positive test until after several months. Fortunately, the preventative we were providing kept the infestation under control until we detected and he responded well to treatment. After that treatment, he gained weight until he reached a muscular 60 lbs.

Unknown to us until his final hours, Kodiak was also born with a genetic defect fusing his C2 and C3 vertebrae.

Personality

Goofball extraodinaire and loved to be a lapdog (which I had to convince him was difficult). Loved to wrestle and play. Head over heels in love with Kiska, worshiped Natasha but petrified that she would correct him, and, amazingly, subordinate to Rusty (though dominate to Qannik). My favorite trait was the “Kodi hug.” He started from across the room, slammed his body into your chest, wrapped his paws around you, and hugged. After a few seconds, he would run back to playing with his pals.

Voice

Ranging from an actual bark, to a woo, to full fledge, ears touching his shoulders howl.

Where he slept

In a few short weeks, Kodiak graduated from sleeping in his crate to sleeping on the bed, preferably curled up against me. Of course, with all of the puppyhood, he would roll over and fall off the bed with a thud at least once a night. I also had to convince him that curled is the only way that will work, because he does like to stretch out in his sleep. Very common to wake up to paws on my chest and his head under my chin. Finally, as he gained confidence, he graduated to sleeping off the bed and he claimed a corner arm chair as his personal bed. He could leap from the chair and onto the bed in a single bound, usually right on top of me to say good morning.

Where he rode in the car

Seat belted directly behind the driver. Necessary position because he would hang out the window if we let him. No danger of him falling out because of his seat belt (all of The Herd wears seat belts), but we insisted he ride inside the Jeep.

Favorite activity

Wrestling and being a goof ball.

Rainbow Bridge

On September 30, 2011, we were walking down the beach at Huntington Beach State Park in SC on the next to last day of a week long vacation.  Kodiak suddenly cried out and collapsed to the ground, conscious but semi-paralyzed.  We worked our way through four veterinary hospitals over the next 48 hours ending at a very skilled neurologist.  That doctor explained that Kodiak had been born with a genetic defect that fused the C2 and C3 neck vertebrae, exerting significant pressure on the other vertebrae.  The disc between C3 and C4 had violently exploded during our walk with such force that it destroyed his spinal cord.  We were forced to understand that surgery gave him only a slim chance of survival, but the anesthesia used for the surgery would interact with the nerve damage and send him into cardiac arrest.  We were left with no choice and had to say good-bye to our beautiful big red boy on October 2, 2011.