Ike and Leo

     I have two friends that I miss dearly. They were very different from each other as their personalities and responsibilities dictated. But I loved them both deeply. One was a handsome blonde who lived with me for 12 years and the other a beautiful white haired giant that only shared my time for 5 years. But even though they came at different times in my life, they both gave me so much. Like they knew what I needed from them and provided such for me unselfishly.

     Our Pal Eisenhower- affectionately called Ike was a gorgeous and rather lanky yellow lab. He joined us as a puppy and if you ever had a lab puppy you know what that means- books, tv remotes, shoes, socks and actually just about anything his teeth could dig into bore his mark and became his. Yet he grew up to be an absolutely wonderful pal. For years he shared my bed until he took up almost the whole queen mattress. I would actually hear him head upstairs to claim his space, silently slipping away before me. Somewhere along the road we came to an agreement and he began to sleep in his own bed next to mine. We have walked many miles through our home town and he was always a well behaved gentleman, content just to be with me. Ike was my house mate and while I was busy keeping myself busy with some remodeling or decorating, he would lie down nearby (usually on my drop cloths) and observe this crazy lady. We also had many conversations about life, kids, and learning to love yourself for who you are- to name a few. I think he agreed with me on every topic because he never stated differently. But as we both got older, life for Ike got harder too. I had to put Ike to sleep 3 years ago. I held him as his big eyes looked back at me and we both knew it was time for him to go. He was in pain and his days were not what they were meant to be. So I hugged him and thanked my friend for being just what he needed to be for me.  
He seemed to know I would be ok as I had met my future husband and I was very happy with my life. His job was done.

     Leo- a lion of a guy, actually resembled a polar bear when he first came to our farm. He joined us as a great pyrenees puppy. Yet from early on, Leo was on duty. He came to protect our animals from coyotes and took his job seriously. He did not live in our home but in the barn. Leo had the run of the pastures and at night he roamed the fence lines. You could hear his roar to tell the creatures of the night that he was king. Such a gentle giant, Leo was filled with patience for children and he loved visitors and welcomed many. Leo never tried to leave the barn area…that would be irresponsible. Our conversations shared were of new babies as we watched them born ( and sometimes assisted), or the chickens ( those ladies were pesky), or maybe both of us just sitting on a hill in the pastures watching the others graze and enjoying the breeze. He would slowly roll over and ask for a belly rub. Just about the only thing he ever asked for. Leo became lame quickly and out of the blue this vibrant, beautiful boy could hardly walk. I knew what had to be done, but my work schedule was so crazy I could not take off time. I could not wait  and asked my husband to call the vet. So I was not there to tell him thank you and hold him while the pain left and he drifted off. We said our goodbyes early that morning before I went to work. So fitting, he taught me that I had to take my job seriously.

     I miss them both. They were so different yet gave me so much at just the right times in my life.  And they both taught me to enjoy the present. Take time to relax and watch the world…and to love the wind in my face. 

3 Replies to “Ike and Leo”

  1. How many times will I be able to speak of your eloquence, insight and wisdom… Over and over. Anyone who has known the special love of a dog, that unconditional loyalty seen in those deep eyes, will appreciate this post. Anyone who has not known it should run, run to the nearest animal shelter and find a special creature who needs a home…because that person needs to know this feeling, too. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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