Wintersong's Ladyhawke. "Isabeau".
Siberian husky girl-dog, silver and white, dark brown eyes, very intelligent, very self-possessed, very pretty.
Izzy. Izzy-Ma-Boodle. The Poodle. Poodle-Girl. The Boodle-Poodle. The Princess. Noko-Marie ("I'm Noko-Marie. Don't mess with me.")
She earned her title of The Alpha Bitch From Hell; the only thing she had to say to other dogs was "Bow down to me or die!" She was excellent at the "See these?" maneuver, which consists of suddenly baring the teeth and displaying the pearly whites, particularly the canines. She could alternately snarl at other dogs in the household and smile at the humans, switching her expression back and forth with lightning speed.
My mother's last dog. My father's pride and joy; he spoiled her rotten. She'd always behave with Mom and me, but she knew she could get away with stuff with Dad. When I'd take her for dogsledding trips, especially the two weeks in Canada each year, she'd always have her nose out of joint the first day or two, like the kid in the "Camp Granada" song. She could not believe, at first, that she was being treated like a common dog, sleeping in a straw-filled dog-box on the truck instead of a bed. We used to joke, when she got home, that she was Sooo glad Dad paid the ransom to me, the kidnapper. She was a decent sled dog; she had fun.
We used to joke that the previous pack Alpha was a Churchill-type leader, but when Isabeau finally gained that long-cherished position it was all Hitler, baby! She was a swaggering bully. She taught poor Ace the "You Sit in the Corner Game". This is how it worked: He sat in the corner. She did whatever she wanted around the house. Eventually he'd get bored and start wondering why he was sitting in the corner, and he'd get up and take a step or two, and from wherever she was in the house she'd come rushing at him with fangs exposed, saying "I thought I told you to stay in the corner!"
With people, though, she was wonderful, as most Siberians are. She never even ever growled. You could do anything with her. She hated to be picked up and carried but she put up with it, especially from Dad, the man she loved. She'd hop up on the bed at night, stretch out beside Dad, and give Mom that "I don't know where you're going to sleep" look. But Mom loved that when Isabeau had to go out at night she woke up Dad instead of her. Isabeau used to bury chew-bones in the bed, too, covering them over with imaginary dirt with her nose.
Her signals were subtle; a significant look instead of a bark, a shift of position instead of the imperious paw. She was not into giving kisses; the occasional single little dry lick was all she ever did. She was not, however, undemonstrative. She loved to be petted, and she remembered family. She left the house of her breeder at eight weeks old, but all her life, when she saw that woman she gave her the effusive greeting reserved for no-one but family; the wildly wagging tail, the zooming in circles, the jumping up to be hugged.
She was there for my Dad when my Mom died; she kept him going. she knew he needed her, and she stepped up. For that, alone, I'd love her.
I could write a lot more, but I'm stopping now. This grief is the price we pay, but the price is worth it. It was a good fifteen years.
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