Looks like Meadow, yes?

That gorgeous woolly Malamute is Nisqually, Meadow's younger cousin.

About six years ago, I met Joan at a Cougar Mountain trail head. She adored the girls. Every time I'd bump into Joan out there, or run with her, she'd adore the girls some more. She started asking lots of questions about their personalities and characteristics. Eventually Joan announced that she wanted to get a Malamute. I referred her to the breeder I got Meadow from. Despite all my warnings about the grooming work associated with a woolly, Joan and her husband Doug brought home Nisqually.

The resemblance is amazing, isn't it?

That's Nisqually in the sun hat, with Meadow and Maia in the background. They're at dog camp in 2004, when Nisqually was still just a young thing. As you can see, the camp costume contest was underway, thus the hat. (The girls always insisted they were too dignified to participate in the costume contests. Being the director's kids, they could get away with not participating.)

Just yesterday, Finn and I bumped into (almost literally) Nisqually, Joan and Doug at Cougar! Finn and I were finishing our run, while Nisqually, Joan and Doug were heading out on a hike. It was a little surreal, seeing Nisqually for the first time in four years, and noting how much she resembles Meadow, especially her eyes and nose and fluffy face fur. I'm surprised Finn didn't try to lick her muzzle in greeting, mistaking her for Meadow!

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera, so I borrowed these photos from Nisqually's web site:

It was so gratifying to see that Nisqually remembered me! She pranced and danced for me, leaned into me so I could admire and stroke her gorgeous face, kept coming back for more. These northern breed dogs are well known for their aloofness toward strangers and people in general, but once you've been "marked" as a good person by a Mal, they'll always love you and greet you with enthusiasm, no matter how long it's been. I've noticed that Malamutes - indeed, most dogs - form indelible memories for the people and dogs who were good to them in their puppyhood. Every time they see them, even with years intervening, they act out the same joyous behaviors they did as pupplies. You can almost see them regressing to their youth! The girls did the same thing as Nisqually did with me when they got to see Mike earlier this year (see 2/1/09 Ecstasy entry), someone who was regularly part of their early lives, someone they adore and miss. While I wasn't around Nisqually a lot when she was a pup, I did get to spend a bit of time with her, and clearly she remembers our times together with fondness.

Finn, interestingly, wasn't that intrigued by Nisqually. Apparently he wasn't confused, knowing instantly she wasn't Meadow. Just another new dog. Beyond the usual sniff and greet, Finn patiently stood nearby while I chatted with Joan and Doug and loved on Nisqually.