I am not ready to say Good-bye to my dear friend Ike. He will always be in my heart and in my memories even though he is physically gone from us. Someone else took him in a cruel and unnecessary way that I will never understand.
Ike - I love you......you helped to bring me back from that very dark place that I went after Starskey went missing. You saved me and loved me and trusted me and taught me to live and laugh and love again. I will be forever grateful to you for that. Your silliness and energy made life fun again. Your devotion and gentleness were comforting and heartwarming. Your high spirits were infectious.
Your puppyness had it's issues. Not many puppies weigh 60 pounds and stand 24 inches high at the shoulders - but then you were not just any puppy. You came in to our lives last April at just over 4 months old and already half grown compared to any other dog. You were with us through your first birthday in December and until February 15, 2012. There was never a dull moment. You were either entertaining us, loving us or peacefully sleeping - not too many in betweens with you. You went all out on everything.
Jeff lost a pair of old shoes (Thank you!) and the steering wheel on the golf cart will never be quite the same but we managed to keep enough toys and chew things around for you to be well entertained. Buck is taking care of your yellow Kong Balls. He sleeps with them. He didn't start playing with any of your toys until this week - and still a little hesitantly. Buck didn't see you Saturday but I think he knew when I returned home that the search was over. He has missed you as a playmate and buddy and has been kind of dumpy since you've been gone. He hasn't left my side since I came home from picking you up.
The race track from the squirrel tree to the hill behind the house has been quiet. Buck walks it now and then but he hasn't started to run it again yet - you aren't here to race with him. The pond is filling up with water again and the geese are back to nest. Buck sits where you showed him to sit to watch and guard them. Funny how a puppy can teach an older guy new things. You did teach him what was important about living here - Yes, he still rings the bells to go out and he can't bring himself to eat from your bowl. Was that a respect thing he didn't finish teaching you? You sure didn't have any problem eating from his bowl.
Okay - now I am crying....I have sort of been numb since Saturday when those people found you and came to tell me where you were. You were just across the road a little ways and yet so far from being able to be found. That is okay - I have needed to cry. I have needed to feel again.
The people who found you were working their dogs near the public hunting area (there's no hunting seasons open now so it is safe). They spotted something odd just across the fence and checked it out - there you were in that horrible trap. They came and told me where you were. When I got there and saw what they saw - I called the Sheriff and he sent a deputy out to meet me. We took photos, tripped all the remaining traps so nobody else would get caught and I brought you out of there.
As I stood there I looked around me and I could see Mike's house, John's house, Dan's house, the new house that was just built and our shed - all less then a half mile away in all directions and most were less then a quarter mile away. All these families have pets and some have kids. There is nothing where these traps were set or anywhere near to them - no livestock to protect and so close to a public hunting area where people and dogs would be during various hunting seasons. I just don't understand.......and I was a little set back by the way the Deputy said maybe somebody was just trying to put a dent in the coyote poulation. I have a shotgun for that - I don't need baited kill traps! Did they think they would be less responsible if someones pet got caught in an unnecessary trap then if they shot actually them? I just don't get it.........
Ike - is Starskey at the Bridge with you? He's the guy with the star on his chest. The last reputable reported sighting of him was along the blacktop headed toward town - right past the home of the owners of the land where the traps were set. That is right across the road from another public hunting area. Are they setting baited traps in other places? Is that were all the missing dogs in our area have been going because it isn't just you two that have gone missing in the last few years. How did Scooter, Missy and Jack avoid this cruel end? None of them were as restricted and trained as you were - and they all lived to ripe old ages with us.
I know - You can't tell me anything and I know nothing for sure so I shouldn't blame anyone in particular. It just seems to add up - but that is not why I started writing this....
I need to thank you Ike - for bringing me back from that dark place I had gone. I need to thank you for loving me, for making me laugh, for trusting me and for adding to my life. I hope your 10 months with us were as happy for you. You ran, you played, you chased squirrels, you swam in you own private pond. you grew stronger and healthier. You were in less pain from your hips because of your activity (and some meds) and you began to bulk up pretty good and gain some massive leg muscles. That must have had to do with the greyhound in you...it was that hound in you that got you in the most trouble I think. That nose of yours was always high in the air and working. What all did you smell anyway? I think it led the Lab in you astray from time to time - and maybe led you to your own end.
I will miss you dear friend. The grass is getting green and the tulips are sprouting. This is about the time of year that you came to me - and now you are gone. Did you give Buck tips on planting the garden or do I have to do that? He is more of a hole digger then you ever were so he might just help plant instead of chasing empty plastic plant containers.
I have a lovely urn for you. You'll sit right next to Missy's urn so you can both continue to keep track of things around here. Some of your ashes will go to Freedom Park - the one place that you were allowed to run free and unrestricted. By the way, Chopper passed away last month and she is there too.....you probably already know that. Is she as bossy at the Bridge too?
What else to say???? I guess it is just time to stop talking and just feel it and remember all the wonderful times. I'll see you again someday - will you meet me at the Bridge and help me find all my other beloved furs? Scooter, Missy, Jack and the cats Pally, Ming and Willow have been there waiting for a while. Tell them where you came from and then you can all share your own good memories together.
I love you Ike...........I will take care of Buck - I promise.