Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Ike

These first three pictures are of Ike the day before he died.  He had a good, long life and was happy until the very end, traveling with us on our two-day road trip, getting in and out of the car with minimal effort, and even happily walking on the beach the day before he died.  He had been slow (but steady) for a long time and there was nothing in his behavior to predict that this would be his last trip.  On the evening of our second day, he did begin breathing in a strange way, he was very still (but upright) and he peed all over himself during the night.  Somehow, I knew it could mean the end; no pain, just indications that his body was giving out.  His last day was spent resting in the car and it was the first day he wasn't interested in food, though he did drink and continued to smile his sweet Ike smile.  When we got home, he got out of the car, walked around the garage, rested for a bit in the grass as I stroked him, then walked up the steps in the front door and lay down.  As the girls and I whispered "we love you" to him, he simply stopped breathing.  I couldn't ask for a better end for such a wonderful dog: a happy trip, painless, and peaceful, with all of us around him.

Look at him smiling.  Hard to believe he is gone.  He's been a huge part of our lives for the past 12.5 years and we're all super-upset.  K has always called him her best friend and indeed he has always been there for both girls.  When K was born, he was still a five-month old puppy and steadfastly ignored her for about five weeks.  After nursing her one day, I laid her down on the bed and she said, very clearly, "Ike!"  I might have attributed this to my imagination except for the fact that he also heard her, jumped up, ran over, and put his head in her tiny lap.  They've belonged to each other ever since.  I remember her as a toddler climbing all over him and he, still really just a puppy himself, so careful and gentle with her.  And when Bubba and Sherpani were puppies too, biting him until he cried, but otherwise never reacting with anything but gentleness.

Love my Ike, my good big dog.

And this one from just last Wednesday, posing with Puck's 'baby.'

And some old photos:

K as a baby; Ike was about one here.

As a toddler, loving her big dog (and he her).

Both girls with Ike when they were about three and five (cutting down the Christmas tree).


Anonymous said...

I just went on my last ride with Ike.
I met Ike 4 or five years ago. He came up to our front door, introduced himself and made himself known. He regal, confident, full of life and went where he wanted to go. He did not wait for us to follow, he expected it. He led us on a happy journey that only he knew. He shared his time, his smiles, his head for a rub now and then and that zest for life. He commanded his space for all to let him by and to take notice.
He would visit every once in awhile. He made himself at home in one minute. He knew where everything was and loved the area between the dining room and living room. He treated everyone here with respect and he got it back ten fold.
I would go visit him when he had alone time. He always greeted me with such enthusiasm. We would talk about our days then sit down to a meal. We would never talk about politics, only the neighborhood and the weather. He will be one of those that we talk about the rest of our lives.
Ike, safe travels, thank you for sharing your life with us, we will see you sometime.

Sue, Jenny, Archie, Opal, Alvin, Tim

Anonymous said...

Dear Therese,

I am sorry to hear about Ike's passing. Coming after several days of celebrating Katherine's birthday and upon returning home it must have been a big shock for all of you. Poor Ike has not been doing well for some time but now at least he is not suffering pain and discomfort - if that is any consolation.

I know you have a lot of sadness now, as do Mom and I, but when you take a step back and remember so many good times you've had with Ike, it may help.

Remember the happy day you brought him home, carsick and all, and how you saw him grow with your family. And how Charles took to him. Of course there were a few times when he "jumped the fence" in Marin and went to "court" another dog in the area and you had to deal with the animal control officer. But better times to remember were when and how Ike bonded with Katherine as a baby and as she grew over the last twelve years. Remember also how well he bonded with Gabriana as we'll and fit in with your family. And how many times he brought you joy - whether it was walking, camping, wherever you wanted to go. He was also such a welcoming presence for Puck when he entered your lives.

Twelve plus years are a long time in dog years, and probably our love helps to keep them going until they have to finally leave us. In those twelve plus years dogs like Ike provide so many happy memories that it seems as though they've lived for much longer - but their memories keep us going for our lifetimes.

Dogs are faithful, kind, caring members of our families. Unfortunately they live shorter lives than us and, after attaching themselves to us and getting our love and bringing joy in so many ways, they need to leave us all too soon. That's a disruption for the family but sometimes the disruption can cause our memories to kick in and override the sadness with the good time memories. Like memories of others who have gone before us.

Friday left us near Christmas a long time ago but now, I think, everyone in our family has nothing.but fond thoughts of Friday, and little remembrance of the sad time he passed away. Hopefully, soon it will be the same for Ike. I think that, in time, Ike will, like Friday before him,bring nothing but happy memories of his life with you. He was big part of your family and or course he will be missed. But missing him may be easier if we remember the good times and happy things that he did with you, for Charles,Katherine and Gabrianna - and for your mom and I as well.

We feel and share your sorrow.

Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

I just took a lunch-break to fly through some personal email and teared up about the loss of your sweet Ike.

I can hardly imagine your family without him! What a gaping hole he leaves. I know all your hearts are broken and I just want to tell you I'm so very sorry about that.

I'm glad for him it was such a peaceful end but how terribly shocking for you guys.

Sending big hugs, deepest condolences and prayers for comfort to all of you!

The definition of a good big dog for sure.

Love, Trish

Anonymous said...

Ike’s eulogy, by G:
Ike you were always happy and I will always remember you. I love you Ike! I miss you and I will always miss you. You were always there for us when we needed you. You are the best dog ever. I love you Ike.