Kumokuma (Cloud Bear)
September 1993 - May 2004
We got Kumo during the last year and a half I lived at home, the one Christmas present my brother really wanted -- a dog. When he first came, he was a little ball of white fur with two tiny black-button eyes and little round ears, looking like a little baby polar bear; we named him Kumokuma, 'Cloud Bear,' because of this... though ever afterwards, he was always just Kumo, or just 'the puppy.'
We built an enclosure for him in the back yard, and Michael and I would go out and play with him. Supposedly a purebred Samouyed, as he got older it became obvious he had some definite wolf blood in his ancestry; though he had the Samouyed eyes and fur, he had wolf paws, muzzle and build, and matured to look like a big white direwolf. When the house was remodeled right as I moved away, a patio was made underneath the deck and fenced in, turned into a den for Kumo.
He was always inquisitive in his youth; he'd happily go bounding off in some direction to investigate birdsong or water noises when you were taking him for a walk, pulling his hapless companion along like something out of a comedy film. He loved people, and attention, and would happily come running up to lick and pounce any visitors... but his family, his pack, came first, and if he ever felt any of them were threatened his wolf blood became quite obvious.
There were a few other things he loved. He loved peanut butter, and he loved cheese and bread. He developed an allergy to bread, alas, but that didn't stop him from sometimes munching on someone's sandwich if they weren't careful; he knew he'd get indigestion, but apparently it was worth it. His greatest prize was, as a puppy, discovering he could stand up as tall as a person and thus eat things off the counter; he was quickly weaned of this, but not before he got himself a big slice of turkey one thanksgiving! And one of his favorite things of all was snow; he only saw snow a couple times in his life, but every time he loved it. He'd roll around in it, eat it, try and catch thrown snowballs, and everything.
When mom went away to New York for a year to train at a Zen monastery, and Michael was in the military, Kumo kept dad company. At the time, I lived only a couple blocks away, so I'd walk down on my lunch break and play with Kumo while dad was at work. When I was feeling down, I'd go and wrassle with the puppy in the grass of the backyard; I'd come home winded and covered in grass-stains and Kumo-drool, but happy.
He was a good companion, and a good friend, to everyone in the family. I like to think he's now playing in a big snowbank in the sky, with all the peanut butter, bread, cheese and turkey he can eat.