Sunday is turn-in day for Ikey. It's a day with mixed feelings. We're awfully proud of Ike and his accomplishments thus far – he's a smart boy with lots of potential. It can be a bummer of a day – we're losing Ikey! Life with Ikey as we know it will be over. Even when (if) he can visit us after he's paired with his person, it's never the same. He'll be a visitor, he'll be someone else's dog.
Which is ok, of course. It's what we signed up for, isn't it?
This turn-in will be a little different, though, as my husband will be the one missing Ikey the most. I like Ike, for sure. But my husband found something extra in Ike. I found Ike to be, more often than not, annoying. This dog is 200% Labrador. He's 0-60 in 0.03 seconds. There's no in-between for Ike. If something's going on, he's not just in the middle of it, he's instigating it.
When the dogs line up at the door to go outside, Ike pushes his way to the front. There could be a dragon in the backyard, but by god, Ike's going to get out there and get eaten first.
It took Ike forever to learn that Tango's tennis ball was Tango's. Ike was free to get any other tennis ball anywhere in the house or in the yard, as long as it wasn't the one Tango was playing with. If Tango had it, Ike wanted it. Ike would body-slam Tango, hard, when going for the ball. Ike doesn't do things halfway, even chasing a tennis ball. He was going to be first to get it, no matter if he had to push the polite senior dog outta the way to do it. The dog drove me a little crazy, I'm not afraid to admit.
The most egregious lapse of dog-dog manners happened earlier this week. The UPS truck was in the driveway and all the dogs were at the door, waiting for me to let them out. The UPS guy always tosses dog treats over the fence if he sees the dogs, therefore, everyone's in a hurry to get out. I let them out and, of course, Ike's leading the group. In his excitement, he jumps on Lily, our almost 11-year old little black Labrador, and I hear her cry out. I jumped out onto the porch to find Lily upside down with Ike using her belly as traction to get to the fence faster. I shouted his name and the look he had on his face as I caught him mid-stride showed nothing but "Yahoo!" Not cool, Ike, not cool at all.
He's been a terrific puppy sitter, playmate, and raiser for little Caysun, though. As much as he's annoyed me with my other dogs, he's been a complete gem with her. He allows her to abuse him to the same degree that he abuses the older dogs here in the house. It's really quite charming as he self-handicaps and lets her beat him most of the time.
One more dog will be on his way to greatness tomorrow. This time it's Ike. His transition will be an easy one, I think, as Ike gets along anywhere with anyone at anytime. He doesn't know what the word "stranger" means.
Yes, even though he annoys me sometimes, there will probably be tears at turn-in. It's not really the end of an era, but it feels like it everytime we turn another dog in.