We first saw him when he was only the size of my hand. White and soft, he looked like a little wisp of cloud that had blown down to earth.
He was ten weeks old when we picked him up from the breeders, so we sadly missed his 'marshmallow' stage. Sitting quietly in the backseat of the car, he looked around with big brown eyes and an extremely worried expression on his face. This is an old soul, I thought.
He refused to move when we got home. He splayed his front legs and stared at the laminate floor as if one wrong step would plunge him into lava. But he was used to grass and dirt. He'd grown up inside the comfort of the breeder's home, but it was a nice spring, and when they were old enough, they were moved outside. This was, after all, not a lap dog.
It took him forty-five minutes to relieve himself that first day. My husband patiently stood outside with him the entire time. Our house was brand new, and we'd just moved into it, so we had no grass. Only a dirt yard and a gravel driveway. No fence.
He wouldn't eat at first. He was the last puppy to leave, and he was obviously a mamma's boy, and missed her terribly. He stayed in his large open crate and lay there, moping. I spent the a good portion of two or three days sitting beside him, stroking him, talking to him, telling him how we loved him, trying to get him to eat.
And then, suddenly, it all turned around. His confidence came flooding back. We took him to a beautiful nature reserve shortly after he came to us. He would climb on the rocks as long as we did. He'd cross the scary wooden planks of the bridge as long as we were there with him.
And he discovered water!
It was the sprinkler at first. Then the lake. Spectators laughed to see him splashing in the water, bounding back in as soon as my husband had brought him out. He looked like a wet poodle.
He was always a joy, but we went through a exasperating two years of chewed windowsills, doorknobs and even walls.
"Is that a Golden Retriever? A Labradoodle?" people asked during his growing up years. But he is not. He is a Hungarian Kuvasz, an ancient guardian breed with a full history. In time, a 'mane' filled out around his neck and he grew to be a hundred pounds. No one ever asks those questions now. Icewind looks like a cross between a polar bear, a sheep, a wolf and a cloud.
Extremely gentle, loyal, and people loving, Icewind happily spends most of his time being the house rug.
He doesn't cause any destruction anymore (except for the occasional digging.) We could drop anything in front of him and he won't touch it (except food.)
He takes guarding his family and property very seriously, though. Those who knock or ring the doorbell are greeted by huge booming barks, interspersed with snarls and growls. Icewind will run at the door with enough momentum to rear up on his hind legs, put his front paws on the door and look out of the window.
But when they are admitted, all Ice wants to do is rub against their legs - not realizing that he has enough weight to knock almost anyone over - and dance all around them in a frenzy of excited welcome.
He can and will defend at need, but like most of his kind he prefers to put on an aggressive show and hope that that is enough of a deterrent so that he doesn't need to do anything else.