White Dog heard about Frankie's Name Game idea for the July 4th Holiday and thought it was a great idea that pups and kitties all over the blogworld share the stories of how they came to have their name. But she did not want to share the spotlight with her brother. "We each deserve to tell our story without cutting it short so we can both be in the same post!" she rightly pointed out. I agreed and we decided that each would tell his or her story as separate posts. Since she is the senior of the pack members, White Dog will, naturally, go first.
In December of 2004, we totally and unexpectedly lost our Sheltie, Sheena, to quick spreading cancer. She was a rescue with plenty of quirks and she was the first dog we had ever had together. Her loss was devastating and we vowed not to consider a new pup until we had time to properly grieve.
We knew we wanted a pup that was intelligent and we loved Shelties but we felt that another Sheltie would lead to unfair comparisons between Sheena and the new baby. After much research and soul searching we decided on an American Eskimo. We liked their stubborn intelligence and companion qualities. Our plan was to wait until summer break from school so that we could travel to see several breeders and choose.
Destiny does not always go as we plan. We found a small breeder in Kansas who had a line we liked for its fox-like appearance and cheerful disposition and began talking on a regular basis. The breeder expected a litter to be ready for adoption somewhere in early June and we made a tentative commitment to visit.
The house was lonely and quiet. Sheena's absence haunted us, especially as I worked from home. So when Sherry called us and asked if we might consider a dog sooner, we looked deep into our hearts and said yes. She had a little girl from her current litter that had not been placed who would be ready to move to a forever home the middle of February. She sent pictures and we fell in love...but there was no way our schedule would allow us to travel to Kansas then. We found that the pup could be sent by air and we could pick her up at the airport. Sherry warned that there was no set date because so much depended on weather that time of year in Kansas and she had a nearly two hour ride to the airport. After several false starts, we got the word that our little girl was heading our way on February 14.
Molly (as she was called) flew at a time when airport security was a new thing and a tad overzealous. In her little cat carrier she was allowed no toys only a water dish and food. And when Steve went to pick her up at the airport he found a tiny 3 lb. handful of fluff locked in baggage storage with no one to release her. Finally he found someone with a key and our baby shivered frightened in his arms. I was in class that afternoon, mostly watching the clock. I knew Steve would have her when he picked me up. She spent her first hours in Albuquerque sitting on Steve's lap in his office as he worked and fielded squeals of delight (to this day, White Dog is the unofficial office mascot).
In preparation for Molly's arrival, Steve had been tasked with coming up with a names list. And he took his job seriously. A week before Molly arrived, he presented me with eight pages, three columns each of name possibilities. He had drawn from the Eskimo languages, German (Spitz angle), folklore, literature, and spiritual traditions. I was overwhelmed but managed to bring his list down to a dozen or so choices (White Dog is forever grateful that I eliminated Dagmar and Amak, underfoot, in Eskimo from the list)! We could just not decide on a name.
I was a little disappointed when Steve walked into my classroom sans pup but contained myself for the 5 minutes it took to get to the car and hold out my hands to accept the soft white ball of fur. I blew softly into her nose so she would remember my scent and looked deep into her soulful eyes. Then I looked at Steve.
"This White Dog is Siku," I said with tears rolling down my face. Siku means "ice" in Athabaskan and forever her name reminds us that she melted the ice which surrounded our hearts as a protective response to Sheena's loss. We truly believe she was the choice of our precious Sheltie, who sent her to to fill our lives.
The "Marie" part came as the frustration of training an eight-week old pup boiled over one day. I come from a family of 6 daughters and my poor mother would, in her frustration, confuse our middle names sometimes. When middle names were used to call us, we knew we were in trouble. Finally mom gave up and just started calling all of us with the middle name of Marie (which one sister actually has for a middle name). So in her rambunctious days Siku became Siku MARIE!
5-1/2 years later, she is a mature girl (not the Cotton Blowing in The Wind as her trainer initially called her) with exquisite party manners and perfect behavior (yeah, right! interjects The Other White Dog). She became THE White Dog when she and I decided to begin this blog 1.831 posts ago. Between she and I, she is perrita blanca de mi corazon. Siku Marie, White Dog, Steve's Baby Girl, sister to Quinn, Sweetie to Michael, friend to so many.