Our sweet boy Ikey now has a partner! In Ike’s own words, as told to Hero Dogs:
I knew something was up, ’cause it started with a BATH. Then there was the new collar, the new harness, the new vest. I have never been fussed over so much in my life. Quite frankly, I was not sure if this was going to be a good thing, or a bad thing. Humans will sometimes try to sneak a trip to the vet or nail cutting in between all the loving and petting. Then I had a lot of special visitors – I got to see my mom and dad from my very first home, and my puppy raisers Laurie and Dana too! Another visitor came to the kennel. I got to come out of my kennel to greet him, but curiously none of the other dogs got to come out. I brought him a toy, which is really the only polite thing for a Labrador to do when he has a guest. Then I climbed in his lap and licked his face, which perhaps you might not consider to be polite, but he seemed to enjoy it and I know I did.
Then my new friend, whose name is Luke, took me outside to play for a while. Luke is an Army veteran and I think he’s used to standing up kind of straight, but I showed him the proper way to wag your entire body at once. Then we went over to the training room and practiced some easy stuff like “sit” and “down.” It was a little weird since Luke was not my usual trainer, but heck, he had a clicker and some snacks and seemed to know what to do with them, so I was happy to comply. We said goodbye and I went back to my kennel, but curiously, Luke came back the next day and we trained some more. Then the next day, and the next – it got to be so I was pretty excited to see Luke every morning. Especially since no one else seemed to be paying much attention to me anymore. Let me tell you though, we worked hard. Every day, four hours a day, for three weeks! We worked on all my obedience and my special skills; we drove in the car; we went to the vet (I KNEW it!!!); we went grocery shopping, to a couple of restaurants, even downtown Baltimore. I don’t think I’ve ever worked that hard before! I will admit that I slept through most of the lectures and videos, though. And I think I caught Luke napping during one or two of them too.
Here are some of the things that Luke and I do together. He tries to trick me by accidentally dropping something when he is walking. I have to grab it and return it to him. I like to play “wake up” – that’s where I am allowed to put my paws on the bed and lick him silly when the alarm goes off. We also play the timer game. It’s kind of like hide-and-seek. When the timer goes off, I have to go find Luke and poke him with my nose until he pays attention. Then he says “What?” and I run back to the timer (that’s where they keep the snacks!) to remind Luke that it’s time for him to do something important. Same thing when someone knocks on the door – I have to run and get Luke and poke him with my nose until he will follow me to the door. If Luke’s wife, Cat, calls him, I get to bring Luke to her and then I get love from TWO people at once. Or sometimes Luke asks me to find her and I have to go bring Cat to Luke. Either way, that is paws-down my favorite game!
I can do other things for Luke too. Sometimes he may get dizzy and I will help steady him to sit or stand. I turn on the lights on the stairway so he can keep his hand on the railing. Being out in busy and noisy places can be pretty stressful for humans as well as dogs, apparently, but Luke and I have a secret sign. If he has had enough, he gives me the secret sign and I know it’s time to turn on the high-jumpin’, tail-waggin’, full-throttle Labrador charm. I don’t give up until he gives in and pets and plays with me. Then we usually just go find a quiet place to sit down and snuggle. Did I mention that I’m good with laps?
After our three weeks of hard work, I went home with Luke. I live there now with Luke and his wife Cat and two cats (don’t ask me to explain that) and my new girlfriend Maggie who is some kind of poodle-thing and it’s a good thing I have a nose or I couldn’t tell her front end from her back end, but she is cute and sure loves to play. Luke and I still work hard every day and we come back to Hero Dogs once a week for more practice. I guess there is going to be some kind of big test in a couple of months, but I’m not worried. Luke and I are tight. We’re in this together.
We’re very proud of our Boggy Doggy and hope Luke and Ike have a fantastic new life together!