It was early last December when we took Ike, the family dog for almost 15 years, on the dreaded one way trip (for him) to the veterinarian.
He arrived on my mother’s farm from the local humane society to be a companion for her after my dad’s death.
When she moved to retirement apartments less than a year later, he became our family dog.
He was full grown when my mother picked him out, so he lived to be a very old dog, older than I ever knew a dog could get.
He was my faithful companion for all his life with us and it was obvious he thought I was his best friend. Where ever I was, was where he thought he should be.
I was the only one he would follow anywhere and everywhere. I told people that was because he knew who fed him.
His loyalty might have been different if he knew how to run the can opener.
We have pictures of me outside, either just me or as part of a group, and there is Ike only a few feet (usually a foot) away from me.
Even in his last year when walking was difficult for him because his joints were worn out, there was a day I was south of my house picking up rocks and putting them in the back of my pickup and he had to walk the tenth of a mile to take his place close to where I was.
I looked up from my rock picking and saw him hobbling across the field in my direction. I had both sympathy and admiration for this loyal old dog.
Like most farm dogs, his job was the greeter for all who drove on the farm.
He didn’t bark; he just wanted to check every visitor with a sniff of the nose and a wag of the tail before going back to his resting position.
In the end we couldn’t stand the idea of disposing of him as just another animal.
His faithfulness needed to be rewarded so he was cremated and his ashes are in a jar resting just inside the front door.
I look at the jar with his ashes and believe he is saying, “Finally. I get to stay inside.”
We have been asked by friends and family if we will get another dog.
I like my wife’s answer when she said, “Dogs seem to find us.”
That is how Ike arrived when my mother moved to town and he needed a home. His years with our family were enjoyed by everyone including Ike.
My wife and I have been looking but not too hard, because as she said, they seem to find us.
We have ruled out a puppy because of the chewing and we enjoy older dogs, especially ones who need a home because of changing family conditions.
Older dogs are harder to place so that is where we like to put ourselves as a good home for a good dog in need of a good home.
My grandson is one of the ultimate dog lovers of the world. I believe he prefers dogs to people and I believe he has a point.
He said, “Can a farm be a farm without a dog?”
Most of my neighbors have a dog or are between dogs, so a farm and a dog or two seem to be good for all – the farm, the dog, and the people.
The igloo-styled doghouse is waiting for its next occupant along with a heated mat inside and a heated water bowl for winter.
It’s a good home for a good dog.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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