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Monday, October 14, 2013

Life with Ike.... continued


As some of you may know, we recently acquired a new puppy.

Come to think of it, acquiring an “old puppy” is somewhat impossible. By virtue of being a puppy, the critter is “new”
Ike, as he is known, has been a character. He possesses  the rugged good looks of Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid, the charm of David Niven, the canine intellect equivalent of a Henry Kissinger, and the zaniness of Adam Sandler; all wrapped in a furry perpetual motion machine.
To say he keeps us on our toes would be an understatement.
I would like to address the usual questions at this time.
How big is he getting?
Somewhere between a baby koala bear and a baby hippo. At the last weigh-in, he was 42 pounds. He is as tall as Mimi at the shoulders (about 13”). We expect he will grow yet.
Does he eat a lot?
This is a relative question. Compared to a growing elephant, he eats hardly anything at all. Compared to a growing dog, he eats like an elephant.
Does he visit people?
Yes, he does. Just last week, Ike came by to entertain the troops at my office. He did his best to boost everyone's morale; even people from other companies in our building. For his part, the attention is very satisfying.
Does he know any tricks?
Yes, my Lovely Bride has been teaching him quite a few things. She has been able to call upon 40 plus years of training me in her work with Ike. Unlike training me, she is quite delighted to see Ike actually pays attention and does what she wants him to do. She is hoping this will rub off on me. I don't want to burst her bubble, but I don't see that happening.
He has learned to “come”, “sit”, “wait”, “come front”, “come around”, “spin right”, “spin left”, “down”, “speak”, “wave Hi”.
Mimi and I are disgusted by his complete lack of pride and shame....sigh....
How is housebreaking coming along?
Yes, we have a house, and it is breaking. Seriously, he is doing better. If we catch him heading toward the bathroom, we intercept him, and divert his attention outdoors. If we don't catch him; we have the satisfaction of knowing he realizes the primary purpose of the bathroom. He likes reading Field and Stream as well.
Does he sleep through the night?
Yes, much better than I, in fact. I don't hear him getting up every 75 minutes.


Does Ike have any dog friends?
Yes, a few. Nikki and Suzy are his favorites. He loves to visit at their homes and act like a 17 year old boy on a date. You know, run around in circles after le femme. And, like a 17 year old boy, when he catches her, he isn't quite sure what to do next. After ward both parties usually flop down and relax together. He also has some friends at the training center. He is always looking for more buddies, though.


Is he in any classes?
He is. We recently enrolled him in Conformation Class. This training is for humans in how to handle dogs in a breed show ring. The dog is just going along for the ride, enjoying training treats. If one listens closely, one can hear the various dogs laughing at how stressed their owners are getting. Following this class he will have more challenging ones such as Obedience, Agility, and Advanced Calculus. Who will be laughing then, Ike?? Hmmm?
Has he done anything funny lately?
This depends in large part on whether your definition of “funny” is being a participant, or an observer.
I will relate a humorous episode after the Q&A Period.


Do you have any regrets about getting him?
None what so ever. He has been a real blessing to us.


Would you sell him?
As is the case with most dogs, we wouldn't take a million dollars for him, and at times, wouldn't give 2 cents  for another one just like him.
Now, for the amusing anecdote...
Have you ever had the impression things happen for a reason? Even though the event(s) seem so randomly out of control?
Take this past Sunday, for example.

It was one of those mornings where numerous things went askew.
We woke up late.
Mimi and Ike needed more attention than normal after we came downstairs.
Breakfast took longer than usual.
Then, Lovely Bride let Ike out the back door.
We live atop a bluff, overlooking a river and marinas. The bluff is about 50 or so feet high. While it is a negotiable 40 degree or so slope immediately behind our planted area, the incline quickly approaches about a 60 degree or more pitch. This part of the cliff is inhabited with grape vines, wild blackberries, daylilies, and so on.

It was this exact area Ike decided to explore.

The inducement was the remnants of a moldy squash which had been tossed down the hillside to feed the raccoons. Apparently finding it too disgusting for their liking, the raccoons left it.
LB called for him to come, and he did respond. Only, his hind legs were tangled in the various vines and runners from all the vegetation. While attempting to advance, these would draw tighter about his legs. As LB and I were the only ones present, the options of who was going to descend the Hill of Doom and rescue the dog were somewhat slim.
Carefully, I worked my way down the slope; hoping my stupid loafers didn't slip. I found myself at the point of the bluff where the angle of descent becomes quite steep. Undeterred, I continued on, supporting my self with a stout goldenrod stalk. I quickly assessed the situation; realizing he was hopelessly entangled. Removing the knife from my pocket;  with a quick flip of the thumb-stud, the blade locked open. Reaching toward Ike, I freed him with just a couple of swipes; severing the vines and brambles holding him. And people laugh at red-necks always having a knife on them.

Happily he bounded up the cliff to see Cindy.

Replacing the knife in my pants pocket; I, however, was faced with the prospect of ascending the obstacle. No wonder the Erie Indians built their village on this bluff! It makes it very tough for an enemy to attack from the river. After pulling my self back up by grapevines and such, I was able to step upon level ground. Happily, I went in the house to get a cup of coffee.
I observed Ike sniffling around the hostas. Then, his little white behind was seen going over the side of the cliff! The little goof went right back to the same place!!
Setting my cup on the patio table with a sigh, I again descended the face of the bluff. I again cut him free from some new vines he found. With a sense of deja-vu, I watched as his little butt bounded back up the slope. And.. .again... feeling like Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Mt. Everest, I pulled my self up.

All this in my Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes!
The clock showed we were going to be about a half-hour late for church. I was not about to walk into the service that late, no Sirree Bob!
So, we opted to go visiting a different church. Which was very good. Their service started at 11, so we were only about 2 minutes late. We reconnected with some friends we had not seen in some time, enjoyed a very good, impactful message, and Lovely Bride got a speaking engagement with the Ladies Group.
Yep, even with a puppy, and all the seemingly disconnected events that occur; things happen for a reason.
We just have to be open to what God is trying to tell us.

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