April 14, 2010

Kaya at the Lake

Posted in Friendships, Pets, Weather tagged , , , , , , at 7:02 am by Liliana


Kaya as a puppy

My family and I spent a few days at our cottage near Lake Michigan. Kaya, my sister’s dog, came with us.

Kaya is a two year old Siberian Husky, taupe and caramel colored, with bright blue eyes. If Silver was a sensitive soul and Bella more intelligent and aware than many humans, Kaya is the kind of dog who loves everybody and everything and needs constant company. She also likes to be the continual center of attention.

On Friday, I woke up early to a sunny, blue-skied, but windy and chilly morning. I had a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal and hoped to snuggle under a warm blanket and read for hours while the rest of the house slept. But Kaya had other plans. She came over and sat down right in front of me and stared at my face with beseeching eyes. She knew I understood what she wanted.

After a few minutes, I couldn’t take the pressure any longer. I gave her the rest of my coffee and oatmeal and went upstairs to get dressed. I put on two pairs of pants, two sweaters, and a warm fleece jacket. I found my sunglasses and Kaya’s leash. She howled with joy.

We walked out into the sharp wind and the cold sunlight with Kaya leading the way. She knew the direction to the lake and kept lifting her nose and sniffing the wind like a scout. We crossed the bridge, and when she saw the lake in front of us, I had to hold on tightly as she pulled along.

The water was dark green, foaming with waves; the sky above was bright blue with white downy clouds. We had miles of beach on either side of us and no one around. Kaya stuck her nose into the sand like an ostrich, and then kicked the sand high into the air and all over me. Kaya is like that – she has an amazing sense of humor. Another thing that makes her different is her love of water. Unlike most huskies, Kaya runs into the water freely, and has no fear of getting wet.

Kaya and I played on that cold Lake Michigan beach like we had no cares in the world. We ran. We raced. We found an old tennis ball and played fetch, again and again and again. She pulled me through the water and the sand and I held on to her leash for dear life. We were both wet, sandy, cold and sore.

Back at the cottage, I washed the sand off the ball, dried it carefully and gave it to Kaya as she snuggled up for a nap. I took a long, hot bath.

March 29, 2010

Missing Silver

Posted in Children, Family, Holidays, Home, Pets tagged , , at 5:30 am by Liliana

Nena and Silver - 1996

Nena and Silver - 1996

The screensaver on my home computer has a picture of Silver and every time I look at it – I feel her silky fur under my hand. Silver died a few months ago, at fourteen years of age – a remarkably long life for a Siberian Husky. It was a happy life. We got her one Christmas when she was a tiny puppy, her ears so large that she tripped over them.

Joe and Branka wanted to get a puppy for Sasha and I went with them to help them choose the right one. At the breeders, we met a family of huskies. The mother, Star, was anxious and suspicious when she saw us. The father, Storm, was watchful but friendly. The eight puppies were – what can I say? Running, playing, wrestling, nibbling and licking everything in sight. Bella was the largest puppy in the litter and the prettiest one. She and Branka fell in love the moment they saw each other, two alpha females who appreciated each other’s strengths and personalities.

The moment we brought Bella home, pandemonium ensued. Everyone loved Bella and my kids had to have a husky of their own; and frankly, so did I (and Jeff, too, although he tried to be restrained.) The very next day, we were at the breeder’s again. By now, Star and Storm were a little more at ease with us, the puppies just as crazy with joy. Jeff liked a little blue eyed boy, but I had already noticed Silver. Silver was the runt, the smallest dog in the pack. An awkward little girl with soulful brown eyes, long ears, and shy demeanor, I knew that she needed me and I needed her. She was our dog.

Silver became an integral  part of our family. She and Sam (he was three at the time) licked lollipops together. Nena took her to school for show and tell. Mike chased her all over the neighborhood when she ran away. We all loved Silver.

We miss her now. Whenever we eat, if we are having steak for dinner, Jeff will mention how much Silver would have enjoyed the leftovers. I go for walks by myself these days. When kids come home from their various escapades around the world, Silver is not there to greet them and get excited. When our friends come over (especially the ones who broke the rules and fed her goodies under the table), well, they mention how sad they are that Silver is not around. We are grieving, but memories of her bring us joy.