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We adopted Keeper's dam, Summer Snow, on Aug 12, 2003. Two weeks later, on Aug 26, we adopted Keeper too. He was nearly 5, a gentle, quiet boy with perfect manners and an elegant aloofness. When I saw him for the first time, his magnificent feathers took my breath away.

Over time, Keeper transitioned from a show dog personality to a pet. His aloofness vanished. He grinned, became proficient at de-squeaking toys,
and set the bar for countertop thievery. When I opened the refrigerator, he would goose me hard with his nose as if to say "Hey, as long as you're in there, give me a chicken gizzard!". He loved to lie down on our neighbors' meticulously kept lawns (he disdained ours, not good enough). Walkers, and even some drivers, would stop and admire him.

He controlled that corner of the house. Zorka had the guest room corner, Vladimir my husband's office corner, and Mischa the master bedroom corner. It was a perfectly symmetrical arrangement. Everyone was content.

"Daddy Keeper" became the patriarch of our pack. He ignored puppy antics as beneath his massive dignity. He was happy to lie on my office sofa or on a quilt by the front door, one ear up like a semaphore.

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