Kiska is Russian for "Pure." Her life before coming to Chez Herd was quite rough, so we thought it was only proper that she have a fresh start with a fitting name.
Chief of Security, Kiska Sue, Snaggle Tooth (for a misaligned canine tooth), Miss Kiska, Choirmistress
Came to us as a rescue from Sleddog Rescue in Tennessee in August 2006. Our best guess is that she was somewhere between a year and three years old. She was a skinny stray with an abusive past who had been under their loving care, but still needed a home that could help her recover. We had looked at other, easier dogs, but the director of the rescue said, "Sometimes you don't get the dog you want, but the dog you need."
She took days to start the trusting process, initially refusing to be touched. Hu-Dad sat quietly on the porch reading a book day after day as Kiska would approach, sniff, and retreat. Finally, the moment came when she came so close to sniff that Hu-Dad could feel her behind him, but he remained still. She dared to rest her head on his shoulder and the breakthrough had begun.
As she began to trust the Hu-Dad, he took her on more and more adventures, including sitting on our downtown sidewalk on Sunday mornings when few people were about. Over time, she became less fearful of people, though she remained quite stand-offish except to a very select few.
That root insecurity is what made her one of the few watchdogs of the house. She bristled at anyone or anything that came close to the house, letting off her gruff warning barks. This trait is what earned her the nickname of Chief of Security - as she was quite serious about it.
Inside the house with the Hu-Dad was when her soft side comes out. She would roll over on her back and ask for belly rubs, a treat because of her long thick coat. To the outside world, she was gruff, but inside Chez Herd, she was a cuddler who adored the attention.
Loving with the few people she trusted, standoffish to people she considered non-threats, and gruff and threatening to everyone else. When alone with the Herd and the Humans, she could be very relaxed, but that was rarely true in public.
The leader of the Sibernacle Choir, she loved to sing and led song time throughout the day. In her security work, she had a range of barks to clarify her boundaries. The fiercest would make the biggest predators shy away from the house.
Where she slept
At night, she slept in her crate. While free to sleep anywhere she wanted, she loved the comfort and security of the crate.
During the day, she slept outside on the deck, usually under a piece of furniture for protection. She would venture inside for brief periods, but much preferred to be outside whenever possible.
Where she rode in the car
In the back of the Jeep where she could monitor everything that happened around her.
Following Queen Natasha the Evil and being her right paw. Leading choir practice and being quite insistent that every dog participate. Patrolling the perimeter fence and chasing threats away. When no threats were in view, she rubbed her body along the fence to spread her scent, a warning to others during the rare times she wasn't outside.
For over a dozen years, Miss Kiska provided us her staunch security, choirmistress leadership, and lovable cuddles. Her spirit remained strong to the end, but her body failed her. We had many close calls in her last year, but the discovery of an inoperable mass on her heart forced us to make the decision. She went to sleep in the Hu-Dad's arms, surrounded by the love and comfort that she lacked in her early life and deserved so much, September 19, 2018, a mere 12 days after her buddy, Qannik. Our good-bye post to her can be found here.