Good morning and welcome! If you read my blog on a regular basis or just stop by to browse on occasion you probably know why I use the moniker Saintsrule. The name comes from the fact that I have 4 St. Bernards, Ike, Dakota, Morgan and Reagan. On Wednesday, September 18, my big brood became a little smaller. Our gentle giant and all around big guy Ike passed on. His death was the result of a horrible accident. He had consumed something that twisted in his stomach, damaged his small intestines and ultimately set up an infection in his body. In the end, surgery on our precious boy could not save him, even with the valiant attempts of a tenacious vet. He took time to investigate and find the root cause when others had pushed us aside. We lost him entirely too soon… just shy of his 7th birthday…
Ike was a special boy. As large as he was, (180+ pounds in his prime) he never moved in a threatening way toward people. Even when he was so sick and being prodded in so many ways he kept his good nature. His sad eyes never ceased to cut straight to my heart. Even as a young pup he knew how to work his mommy, whether it be for warm hard boiled eggs, a piece of cheese or a belly rub.
He came from the great state of Kansas. My husband and I went there in November of 2006 to pick our new boy up. His former family came from an area near Abilene, Kansas, home of United States President, Dwight Eisenhower. Soon our sweet little monk capped Saint had his name, Ike.
We brought him home to meet his new friends, Dakota and Morgan. Both were immediately “smitten” with the new pup. They allowed him to chew on their ears and tails for hours at a time. When it snowed that first winter, they all jumped and played in the yard. I saw our Ikie do his first St. Bernard dance, a routine we affectionately came to label "cavorting." Ike continued to "cavort" until the day he died.
There were some tough times. As gentle as Ike could be with people he had a deep desire to be a “varmit dog.” Unfortunately in the beginning we lost a few lambs to his jaws. He didn’t understand why they wouldn’t play the way he wanted to.
Even with those trials, we loved him. And he loved us. A week ago Thursday, I came home to find my big Ike obviously in pain resting on his side. He loved to have his belly rubbed. So I plopped my middle aged body down on the concrete sidewalk and rubbed his belly. He wrapped his big paw around my arm as he often did and we stayed there, me flat on my back rubbing his belly, for quite a while. So long in fact, that I nearly couldn’t get up! But that precious memory remains of me comforting him AND him comforting me. Somehow, we both knew that our time was limited. We said our goodbyes before we really knew goodbyes had to be said... It was a true gift from God.
Some people make the argument that animals are not in heaven. I read a book recently by Randy Alcorn, entitled, Heaven. He makes some interesting points on this subject. He maintains animals will not be resurrected as born again believers will, but by the mercy of God he will recreate some of the animals that hold a special place in our heart. If that is the case, I know my Ikie will be there with me. He was a blessing in so many ways. And heaven wouldn't be the same without him or my Saints. Thank you and God bless.