At Freedom Park summer 2010

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stages of Grief

They say the first stage of grief is denial.  Oh boy - I am an expert at that one!  I believe I have denied or explained away every possibility put before me when it comes to why Starskey is missing or what could have happened to him.  Denial does not help.  In fact it creates more problems that just seem to make everything worse and harder to get through.  It can cause you to push away the very people who could comfort and help you.  You, afterall, are not the only person who loved that animal or who is grieving the loss!!!!

They also say the last stage of grief in acceptance......I don't have to like it or even agree with it - but I do need to accept it.  Starskey is gone.  I didn't say he was dead, stolen, rescued or anything else - I just said GONE.  That does not mean there isn't still a chance he might come home (he does have a chip) or that we might eventually find evidence of his demise or that somebody might just bring him back.  Hope is still there but I have accepted that he is gone - for now.

All I pray for is that wherever he is (Heaven or earth) that he is loved and cared for.  He will always have a very special place in my heart that no one else will fill - that is Starskey's space, but it doesn't mean I won't go on to love another dog in a similar way - but it will not be the same.


As I look out at Ike, stretched full length in the grass in the shade enjoying the breeze and cooler temps of today, I can't help but think of Starskey and of how he and Ike would be playing in this wonderful weather.  How much more enjoyable Ike's life would be to have a friend to play with....he is still just a puppy himself at 7 months and full of energy - and love!

Ike is a different sort of fellow then Starskey - but his life has been different as well.  Instead of having someone watching over him and making sure he had food and water until someone came to adopt him - Ike spent his early life having to fend for himself.  It didn't make him a scared or angry fellow - but he is quieter, especially without a canine playmate.  The felines around here just seem to pester him.

We knew Starskey's family tree (at least part of it) so we kind of knew what to expect from him but Ike suprises us sometimes because we know nothing about him except what is physically visable.  He is a BBD - part lab and part who knows what.  He is the BBD that lays on the step in front of the house and watches the cars go by on the road - but can hear and identify our vehicles miles away and will be waiting there to meet us at the end of the drive when we come home.

Ike is gentle and tender and would rather be around the people he loves then just about anything else.  He helps (?) in the garden, follows the mower, supervises hanging clothes on the line and lays at your feet in the house or near the door when outside.  He does enjoy a good rabbit or squirrel chase from time to time and patrols the pond bank to keep us safe from aquatic invaders.  Although he has his own pool Ike has to occasionally inspect the pond itself and spash and splatter to scare those invaders away.


Ike is twice the size that Starskey was at his age so it feels rather odd to watch this BBD do the same things that the LBD did at 7 months old.  Frogs, toads and turtles are of great interest.  They get nudged around with a nose and if they jump it is a delightful suprise.  On occasion they have been carfully picked up and carried to Mommy - but only if they don't pee in the mouth first.  If they do pee they are carefully returned to the ground and the spitting begins.  Then they are looked at as if being asked "why did you do that?".

Starskey's favorite friend (Dufus/Sam) has moved and is living in a house full of kids.  I am so happy for him.  He was such a gentle giant and played so carefully with Starskey that I have no fear for the kids he now plays with.  Dufus did not get the chance to know Ike as well as he did Starskey.  Ike was being house trained so he was inside more then outside.  That has reversed now - unless the weather is hot.  It is probably a good thing that Ike and Dufus didn't become good friends - Dufus was a rover and I would always be afraid that Ike might rove with him and get lost, hurt or killed.  Starskey did from time to time but together the two of them seemed to stay pretty close to one home or the other.  I think I like my "home boy" Ike just the way he is - lazy and happy!

Dufus & Starskey

Bringing Ike in to our lives was very necessary for heart was broken and denial led to depression and then to stress related health issues.  I began by volunteering at the local Humane Society shelter.  It was a selfish reason to go but the animals gave me love and I began to put my life together again.  I loved them all, talked to them, asked them if they had seen Starskey and where they would go if they were him......I know it sounds silly but it made me feel better and the animals benefitted from the attention.

Ike's name wound up on the adoption papers as a fluke.  The papers had been there for a while but I hadn't added a name.  One day I did and I don't know why it was his shelter name that stuck in my mind....I wasn't even sure whose name I was putting down.  I just knew it was time and somebody there needed me as much as I needed them.  When the Shelter called me to say that I was approved - I had to go over just to see who I had adopted.  I would not have said no to any of them but Ike has proven to be a perfect fit.  Sometimes the Lord works in strange or curious ways - but I am so glad that He works to take care of all of us.

Having Ike here meant that I got less anxious when I received "lost dog" calls and reports.  I got smarter about asking questions about the "found" dog and about giving the callers some advice.  Checking for collars and tags was the first thing I told them to do.  There is a vet number on any rabies tag and many people add additional tags.  If the animal had a chip there may be a chip tag or they needed to have a vet scan the animal to find out and to identify it. 

Mr. Ike

I learned that the area shelter and Humane Society only accepted animals from official agencies (Animal Control, Law Enforcement, cities, DNR, etc.) so local lost pets, found by well meaning individuals, had no place to go if an owner could not be notified....unless an official agency would assist to help get them in to a shelter or the local vet could assist in finding good homes.  Hey, if the local vet could do that every time it was needed, we'd have less need for the Humane Society and animal shelters and foster homes......

Thank You to the many wonderful vets who do help strays and unwanted pets to find homes and more Thanks to all of the vets that provide their services (for reduced rates) to the Humane Society and shelter and help the rescuers.  Adopted pets are just extra special you know.  They know that you have chosen or rescued them and they display their gratitude with great love and devotion.

Ike is now my man.  He is my shadow and my friend.  I feel at peace and believe that if Starskey were anywhere near and could get home - he would have by now.  There is some reason he hasn't and I hope that someday he still can or that I will know the reason why he couldn't.  He didn't leave me or intend to go away - he is just gone.  I will love and remember him always.

I will love and remember all of the wonderful animals who have shared their lives and love with me!