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After Ike and Buck were let out of the indoor kennel at the shop, to get their jobs done, while I shut off lights and locked doors - Ike was no where to be found 10 minutes later. Buck was sitting beside the van waiting for their "ride" down to the house but Ike was gone - totally gone! Ike didn't come when called - or even when I started the van. That is totally unusal for him. He may not come at breakneck speed when you call him, especially if he has a squirrel up the tree, but the van - I mean that is #1 above all else - it means a car ride and a treat! No way would he miss that - even to chase a deer or a squirrel.
I called for him. shut the van off and restarted in many times.....still no Ike. It was getting dark so I bagan "the drive" around the section and talked to all neighbors still outside in our unusally warm winter weather. Everybody saw him earlier that day when they came home from work or ran to town on errands. All said he and Buck were either playing in the yard or sitting side by side in front of the van watching them go by. They said Ike and Buck were always there like that. They can't imagine the two of them not being there to seeanymore..........They can't??????
Ike never went anywhere except his own big yard (20 acres of grass, pond and timber). He could'nt run far or for very long because of his hips - but he and Buck ran from one end of the place to the other at least a couple times a day and made lots of short runs to get those squirrels back up in th tree if they couldn't have them. Truthfully they did cross the road on occasion and frolic in the long grass on the side hill of the field there. That long grass was closer then the grass around the pond (that we try to keep trimmed anyway). I think they both liked to feel the grass tickle their bellies because they would just run back and forth in it, roll in it (and probably some deer poop) and play until I called them to come back in.
Ike was turning in to such a neat dog......Yeah - he was clumsey and awkward for a while, because of those long legs, but he figured them out and he did like his walks around the farm. Walking didn't tire him out (or make him hurt) as fast so he became quite an investigater. He'd walk a few steps then stop to sniff the air or check out something on the ground. When he smelled that squirrel he was off like a streak - at first anyway. Then he would slow to a trot as he looked up and located the object of his attention. Then he might charge to chase it up the tree and then just sit there and dare it to come down again.
As squirrels will do - they change trees up high and he would have to change trees too. That made him mad and he would bark at them. Don't know what he was saying but I bet it wasn't nice. After a while he would tire of the pest and have a good roll in the leaves. No snow meant the leaves were there to roll in and make noise in and rest in. If he smelled a mouse, or other critter, while there he might go mouse tracking like Starskey did. He'd rather chase the squirrels though.
Living on a farm with lots of oak and waknut trees meant he had lots of squirrels to keep track of. Since he also had a pond to play in he got the occasional deer who wandered through while he was outside and he would chase them off his yard. He wouldn't chase them - just chase them away. He was very proud of himself when he did.
All that being done it would be nap time. He would sleep 3 to 4 hours before he would ring the bell to go outside again (or bark if we were in the shop). When Buck came to live with us Ike's routine didn't change - it just meant he had somebody else to do it with and it was more fun. He actually began to put on more weight and build up the muscles in his legs. Now his hips didn't seem to be such an issue to him - for the first half of the day anyway. Second half of the day they were both pretty beat just from playing. Ike taught Buck to ring the bells to go out but he never taught him to scratch the door to come in but he always seemed to come in first anyway.
Buck is kind of lost without his playmate.........and SO AM I............Ike was there to help bring me out of the depths of dispair I went in to when Starskey disappeared. Ike needed to be loved and cared for and I needed to love and care for him. It was a God thing.......the story is in other entries on this blog. We needed and helped each other! God knew what he was doing.
So what is happening now? I learned things and changed things......this great big dog came in my house just like Starskey did. If I couldn't be outside with him there was a big outdoor kennel in the shade of the trees when it got hot but with a sunny corner for a black dog to soak up the rays in. There was a house in there too, if weather got crappy (rain) but he didn't seem to mind the rain. He'd just play out in it....silly kid anyway.
There is also a trolly runner strung up from the light pole to the house with the heated doghouse on one end and the big house on the other and 50 foot of grass in between. At the shop we built an indoor kennel so the boys could be there with us, knowing that Ike would need the warmth in the winter. We had a big hook in a BIG yard rock that we hooked a cable to so the boys could be outside together if we were working. We only had to cable one of them for them both to stay right there. Every hour or two we'd let them out and hook up the one that wasn't hooked up last time (they took turns). The weather determined how long they chose to stay out so when they barked I would just let them in. Again, sometimes Ike wanted in before Buck so that meant Buck had to go on the cable - if he wasn't already. Customers enjoyed our "greeting party". The UPS and FedEx guys brought treats.
I took more precautions, I spent time taking more walks out and about, I learned (and invented) some indoor activities that kept him amused and busy. The cats helped there too...if they thought he was getting too lazy or sleeping too much - they would come down and walk right past him on their way to the back room for food or the litter pan. He used to get all riled up and chase them and they would hide under my desk, the coffee table or other places a big guy couldn't get. They were more stubborn then he was because he always gave up first. As they got to know him better they would go over and sniff that big black dog asleep in front of the fire then go on about their business - but make sure that they woke him up to chase them to the foot of the stairs. Then they would go half way up and just sit there....and he would sit at the foot of the stairs so they wouldn't come back down. He had no clue what they had done to him.
Note - we have a circular stair case and Ike can't run up them. Buck hasn't tried. It works well to have the dogs and the big screen TV downstairs and the cats and the bedrooms upstairs.
Have we become a target? Starskey in December of 2010, after 11 months with us. Now Ike in February 2012 after about that long with us too. Do we raise up that great a dog or what? Starskey was a cutie and a charmer but Ike is awkward, has health issues and is just my baby! If somebody was stealing dogs he wasn't the most desirable one we had.......except maybe to me!!!!!!
Good grief - Missy was 15 years old, a pruebred American Eskimo who was with us for 13 years before she passed. Her sidekick was Jack - a terrior mix who was 11 and spent 10 of his years with Missy and us. He didn't like life without her and just went away one day. We understood and didn't go looking for him because he had been unhappy ever since we lost her. Before these two we had a black cocker mix names Scooter. He was in his teens when cancer took him and had been with us since he was 8 weeks old. These dogs weren't even chained up. They got to roam free, unless we were gone. Even our cats are old.....we don't just lose animals around here!
Poor Buck - he's lost a friend, he can't move without a leash or cable hooked to him - and that doesn't even make me feel safe. Somebody could come take him off the cable, off the trolly runner - or out of the outdoor kennel. Would I hear them? How long would it take me to discover he was missing if I thought he was safe? How fair is it to imprison him inside just because I don't feel I can trust people? That is no life for a dog either!
Please share Ike's photo and information with the people you trust. I can use all the help and support I can get to find him.....and to keep myself from going back to that dark place I went after Starskey disappeared. I have done all the things that I know I need to do (posters, radio, law enforcement, neighbors and many searches) and I guess that is all I can do. I have to give it to God now and trust that He will take care of things as He sees fit.
If you have read past posts you know that Ike and I came together through a God Thing. It had to be God that guided my hand that day as I wrote his name on the adoption application - because it wasn't me. The Lord saw to it that I got the dog I needed to get - and that Ike got me.
Don't take him away from me now Lord - we still need each other!