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On October 22, 2007, two female borzoi were found in the desert near Estrella Mountain Park southwest of Phoenix, AZ. Her hocks were bent. She did not squat to urinate as female dogs do. Instead, she peed as she walked along, leaving a long snaky trail on the road behind her.

It took months to settle her down physically and mentally. With time, she grew to accept 3 our zoiboys, though she often growled at them when they came into "her" room. They learned to ignore her. She had marvelous ears that perked straight up, pink inside like a bunny's. When Nikolai howled, she was always the first to join in. When given a treat, she would trot back to her room, tail happily swishing back and forth, deposit it on her bed, and push it around with her nose before eating it. When I dropped ice cubes in one of the water bowls or opened a slice of American cheese, she would trot into the kitchen expectantly.

She enjoyed lying on a neighbor's lush lawn, gazing around at the occasional car or passer-by. Going home, she would run up our little hill, stop at the top, look back at me and wait. She hated getting wet, especially her paws. If a droplet or two did fall on her, she would put her head under the bedcovers after coming in the house.

The years passed, all too quickly, Mischa settled into the role of benevolent matriarch. Until the end of her life, she was afraid of strangers and other dogs, no matter how gentle and friendly they were. Once a Lab puppy got loose and raced up to us. Mischa hid behind my legs, but the puppy was determined to meet her. Mischa went round and round me, the puppy in hot pursuit. Finally his owner retrieved him sheepishly.

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