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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.

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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.

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"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.