At Freedom Park summer 2010

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

His name is Ike

Well Starskey - he has arrived.  His name is Ike and you will really like him.  He likes to play and he runs in circles and chases his tail just like you.  He is about the same size as you are now so that will make everything even - if he doesn't grow any more that is.  He is all black and his name kind of came about because of where he was found.

Ike was picked up in Mason City early in March as a stray out by Eisenhower Ave. (Walmart) and the shelter called him Dwight.  We thought that Ike suited him better and he seems to like it.  I think somebody loved him for a while because he is doing real good with being in the house.  Only a couple of accidents in almost a week.  He is catching on to the bell thing - well kinda.  You being here to show him how well it works when we are busy or not looking would help a lot.

We took him down to meet Paucha this weekend.  I think Paucha likes you better - or maybe he knew that you knew that you were his company so he didn't have to mark the whole place.  After Saturday everything was okay though and you would have thought they had been friends for years.  You missed the chance to run in circles with them!  They had donut shaped bones together like you and Paucha always did.  Paucha still doesn't share his donut.

Carma, Luchi, Adrian and Camilla were all there too.  That meant the boys got lots of walks and spent a lot of time out doors.  It was warm and sunny so they liked that - even when Camilla was in charge.  They all were sure that you would like Ike too.  They were glad that he is your size but that he is all black.  That way they would never get you mixed up.

There is a lot you have to teach Ike.  He keeps pooping in his play zone so I have to wash his feet off whenever he comes back in the house.  I don't think he is going to be a porch swing dog so your spot there is very safe.  He doesn't like the swing moving when he is trying to get on it either, and doesn't seem to want to learn.  He does like the summer doghouse but isn't sure about the winter one yet....maybe it has to get cold enough to turn the heater on for him to figure that one out.  He'd just rather be in here on the pillows in front of the fireplace - just like you.

The cats have figured things out.  They sneak past when he is napping or when he is outside.  They take whichever route is necessary depending on where he is.  Spook is curious enough to sniff him when he is asleep.  He obviously smells different then you do so she has to get him recorded to memory so she knows who she is dealing with.  My bet is that she'll stay upstairs most of the time anyway.  Booger does everything on the sneak.  I don't even see or hear her until she heads back up the steps.  I think Ike does though because sometimes he'll just stop and listen and sniff the air.

Midnight is a little cautious but still feels that he is the house boss.  He rings the bell and waits for us to get a hold of Ike and then come let him out.  He will go right out (or in) with Ike there - as long as we are holding him....and Midnight is smart enough to move slow so he doesn't look like anything exciting.  He used to tease you by running the minute he got out the door......just so you would chase him - but then he knew what to expect from you and he hasn't figured that out with Ike yet.

Learning a new fellow's signals and remembering to stay patient and forgiving is easier for me then for Jeff.  He forgets that Ike doesn't know what sit, stay, lay down and come mean yet - although Ike does know a little bit - he knows what "no" and "get down" mean.  I really think that somebody loved him long enough for him to learn a few things and for him to learn to trust people.  Even though he is about 5 months old (and your size) he is still very much a puppy and sleeps a lot and wants to chew on everything.  Thanks again for leaving the chew toys.  I got him some new ones too.....and some new floor pillows that don't smell like anybody else.

I was thinking how, when you were about his age, we wondered if you thought your first name was "No bite" and your last name was "leave the cat alone".  I sometimes wondered how you learned that your name was must have been early on - before you started doing naughty things.  We seemed to have to use the other phrases far more often.  We don't seem to have to use them with Ike so much - but then he hasn't been camping yet either.....that comes in another week or so.

I hope he learns his name better soon so that he will come when called.  We forget to use his name as often as we should.  With you we were just grew to know what you wanted or needed, and you were so used to just following our lead that we didn't have to call your name a whole lot.  When the van door opened - you just jumped in and when the golf cart moved - you just hopped on.  Ike has all that to learn yet.  I'll try to remember to use his name more often so he gets used to it.

This whole thing would be a lot easier with you here to serve as big brother and teacher!  Yes, Dufus has been over to check him out but doesn't stick around like he did with you.  That is okay with me.  I don't want all you boys wandering off together - it seems that Dufus is the only one who can find his way back home again.  A kennel will be coming for short term confinement (instead of the cable) but a fence is going up for a play yard so dogs can play outside together and not get in to trouble...or run off.

We're still waiting for you to come home...and still looking for you so that you can come home to us and your new playmate.  Wherever you are - tell them it is time for you to go home!  Then get yourself here or go to someone who will help you get back here.  We love you and miss you.  Starskey Come Home!!!!!!!!  We are all waiting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playmate coming

Starskey - you really need to come home soon!   There is a playmate for you who is coming to live with us.  Somebody needs to teach him the ropes (cat secrets and bell ringing) and tell him what he will get in trouble for - like getting in the road or following Dufus......

He is younger then you but he is about your size.  He is a lab mix too so you will have a lot in common.  Is it okay if he uses your bed and chews on your toys until you get home?  Then you can decide what gets shared and what doesn't.....but you will need to share Dad and me.  I'll put Care Bear up - he is your bed partner after all.

NO - I have not given up hope that you will come home.  Hope is what I am hanging on to more then anything now.  Everyone has looked so hard and kept looking for you for so long that we are all sure that someone has picked you up and taken you somewhere.  That should mean that you are being taken care of and for that I will have to be grateful.  We still pray everyday that we will get a call or an email from one of the many places you are listed as lost - or from someone who has seen you......WE HAVE NOT GIVEN UP HOPE!

You are loved and always will were our first baby and we learned so much from you about raising a baby and about loving someone with a blank slate for us to write on.  You taught us a lot about ourselves as well - and about our true beliefs and abilities to deal with things as they came along.  Yeah - I would do a few things differently if I could do them over - but not a lot.  There would be a fence - and there will be now.  Official dog training might be a good plan too.

Hey - we did pretty well without that all but if there had been a fence - you would not be gone because you would never be outside the fence unless we were with you.  You trusted us to take care of you and love you and you rewarded us with your love and your respect.  You walked beside me (except on timber adventures), you brought the ball back when I threw it for you, you sat when told, you waited when asked, you shook hands when a hand was offered and accepted treats with great gratitude.  You stayed off the upholstered furniture but found that padded lawn chairs were pretty comfortable outside and that pillows on the floor were good inside - as long as they were close to us or in front of the fireplace.  You never jumped on anybody!!!!  You sat and waited for them to offer a pat on the head or a shake.  You were a good boy in the car (except for the phone book thing) and you did enjoy your rides!

See - there is a lot you need to help teach this new guy - and especially about ringing the bell.  You don't want Midnight to upstage you on that one!  He already did it to me - but you were a lot smaller then and this new fella isn't that small.  Midnight might not be much help this time.

He doesn't have a forever name yet.  They call him Dwight now - but that just doesn't seem to fit.  Should he be Hutch?  You'd need to come home for sure then because Starskey and Hutch are a team!!!  I get to go pick him up this afternoon but I couldn't do it without first telling you about him.

You disappeared after the first big snow fall in December - and he will come after the last crazy snow fall in April....a little over 1 year since you came to live with us.  There is something strange about that but I don't know if it is a good strange or a bad strange.....

I have been going to the Humane Society almost every week and meeting a lot of cool cats and wonderful dogs but couldn't bring myself to pick one yet.  Two weeks ago I went over and took my paperwork for them to hold until I had a name to fill in.  I kinda thought I would bring home a beagel guy that Phillip fell in love with - so he had a home and Phillip could come see him a lot, but when I got there he had already been adopted....but he did come to Forest City so maybe we'll be able to find him and visit him.

I went and looked at all the puppies....and all my other friends.  I do have favorites and some of them were gone (a good thing). There were a couple of other dogs on my mind but I still didn't think there was a perfect one.  When I got ready to leave - I put Dwight's name on my application.....I don't know why - something just told me to write his name down.  They called last week and said he could be mine - so last Saturday I went and spent some special time with him.  He is a really okay dude!  You will like him!   Some things are just meant to happen the way that they do - and I think this might be one of them......

He is not house trained - so thank you for house training me!  I know how to do that now!  I have a new timer even.  He is getting adult dog teeth so thank you for teaching me to have lots of chewy toys and bones on hand - it saves on the furniture!  I put a new gate up to the back room so the cat food is safe - thanks for teaching me that trick too.  He is going to need lots of exercise (besides potty walks) so thank you for leaving the tennis balls here. 

He is going to need a playmate.  I know Dufus will be here - that is the reason I need a fence.  He can play with Dufus inside the fence but Dufus will teach him bad things like roaming.  You need to come home and be his house and yard playmate and best buddy.  Nothing would make me happier then to give you to each other...............

Starskey - come home!  There is training to do and playing too!  

Gee - I wonder what the cats are going to think of this????  I think the gate to the back room tipped them off that something was happening.  This could get exciting and scary!  Come on home and tell them everything will be okay!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Dance

Garth Brooks has a song that says a lot about love and loss...and everyone can apply it to their own situation or need.  For me it is about finding a love and a way and a depth of loving that I didn't know I was even capable of......and then losing that and finding this gaping hole in my heart.  Here are the lyrics to the song.  I think you'll understand.....

Looking back on the memory of
the dance we shared 'neath the stars alone.
For a moment all the world was right
How could I know that you'd ever say good-bye. 

And now I am glad I didn't know
the way it all would end,
the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance.

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king.
Bit if I'd only known
How the king would fall
Hey, who's to say you know
I might have changed it all

And now I am glad I didn't know
The way it all would end,
the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance.

Yes, my life is better left to chance. 
I could have missed the pain but I would have had to miss the dance......

I wouldn't have given up my dance with Starskey for anything.  I would not have given up the chance to learn along with him and to play with him and to swing with him and to love him for anything else on earth.

The hole remains in my heart and maybe always will.  I still hope to find him but I also hope to begin a new dance with a new pet but it will never be the same.  Starskey was the first dog to reach that deeply in to my heart.  Maybe that was made easier for him because of all those that came before him.....Missy, Jack, Scooter, Ebony and more.  They each blazed a trail that the next one would follow and each got deeper and deeper in to my heart.

Starskey, however, remains special.  Not because he has been any different then any other dog I have ever loved - but because he was the first that came to me without first having been on his own or having been alive long enough to develop his own sense of self confidence.  He came to me as a baby to be nurtured, trained, loved, trusted, and introduced to the world.

I was proud of our relationship as it grew.  I gained self confidence as I taught him things, learned more about him, spent time with him and began to recognise his needs and took the steps to fulfill them.  Because he was a companion dog, instead of house guard or outdoor pet, there were things I learned about him that I hadn't learned about some of our other dogs.  It was a different relationship and I looked forward to our time together each day. 

Taking care of Starskey has never been a chore or a duty.  He is my friend, my playmate, my confidant and my helper.  He looked up to me to be his pack member and I did my best to fill that role for him.  He showed his gratitude by sharing his life with me and by sharing his adventures with me.  I would never have dreamed of going mouse hunting on my own - much less had so much fun doing it.  Walks around the ponds would have just been walks around the pond if I didn't get to enjoy his discovery of the world around him.

Watching the interaction between Starskey and our cats, Dufus and with other people was also very telling of the kind of dog he was.  He was rather submissive, except when it came to his food.  Even with the food - he would share his food and his treats after first establishing the fact that they were his to share.  He had a weakness (or liking) for cat food so a gate had to be installed and the cat's food put up where they could get at it but he couldn't - but on camping weekends he would often get caught raiding cat food around camp.

Starskey has a gentle soul.  He would bathe the campground baby kittens and snuggle them against him for warmth.  As fall approached and the nights were cooler the kittens appreciated the ability to snuggle with him near the camp fire - but the baths became an issue as he sometimes got them pretty wet and it was just too cold for that.  There was never any aggression toward the cats or kittens and I often wondered what need the kittens met for him.  I would watch him push them all over near the fire with his nose and then lay down with them.  Did he have gender confusion and think he was a mommy?

No - I would not have missed this dance with Starskey for anything.  He has taught me a lot.  The biggest things may have been patience and perserverance and perspective.  He taught me not to over react or react too quickly and to give him the benefit of the doubt - and I was always rewarded and pleased to see that what I feared could happen was not what was going to happen...........Until that day he went out the door to go pee and vanished.................................

Come on home Starskey - there is more dancing for us to do!  I love you!!!!