Sorry, folks. I was going to post my speed scrap layout from last night, but I don't think it'd fit this post. I got an email from my dad this evening letting me know that he and my stepmother had to make the difficult decision to put down one of our family dogs. Ike was a very good boy. He was a largish golden retriever that showed up on their porch as a puppy. This is more unusual than it sounds on the surface; they live almost a mile away from a small highway on a back road that only sports three houses. Well, four, if you count the one no one was using. My folks were not in the market for a dog, but first impressions are amazing things. Juanita first saw him licking the picture glass windows. On the other side, our terrier mutt Emily was licking back. It was love at first sight. They tried to find out who his owners were, since it was obvious that he was a full bred golden, and such beauties don't just get dumped generally. Once they had given up hope of finding his original family, Emily (and the rest of the family!) were already in love. Ike was home.
Over the years, old Ike has been the sweetheart and protector of the home. He soon found a new love; Tori, our "wild" family dog. Although she will barely let people touch her, she was in love with Ike from the start. Emily may have been alpha, but Tori was his partner. They hunted outside together and made sure the neighborhood was free of danger for everyone. Some of the most touching scenes of devotion I've ever seen were times when Tori and Ike would groom one another. They were always inseparable from the moment Ike stepped out of the house until he returned to the rest of his family.
When Juanita told me they had taken him to the vet, she said that he had a dangerously inflamed stomach lining that had no known cause, and he had a dangerous disease that was causing his spine bones to start fusing, causing serious pain as he moved. It was obvious that he was fighting some kind of mysterious systemic breakdown that it didn't look like time would heal. When the vet told the family it could be treated but not cured, my dad had to make the right decision. We couldn't keep Ike in pain on the off chance that the treatment would keep him from hurting too much for just a little while. My dad said it was one of the hardest decisions he's ever had to make.
I will miss Ike. He became part of the family after I had left home for good, but he quickly became one of my favorite dogs ever. His sweet and loving disposition was unparalleled with just about any other dog I've ever met, and his devotion was timeless. I hate that my son is too young to remember playing with Ike when he gets older, but I know Ike, always the protective and loving one, will still watch over him with everything in him. Good bye, good boy.