When you have a name like “Ike” you have some big shoes . . .and paws . . .to fill. Ike, the handsome black-and-tan Doberman Pinscher who recently arrived at the Oakland Animal Shelter (OAS), has not only lived up to his name, but he has also reminded everyone at the shelter why we do what we do.
Ike came to OAS after being left tied up and abandoned. With ulcerations on his legs, the 5+-year-old boy was extremely weak and had difficulty moving. No one was sure he had the strength to go on much less come back.
“At first he was not responsive at all,” noted Martha Cline, animal care coordinator at the shelter. “We know nothing about his previous life, but his weakened condition, along with the ulcerations on his legs, could suggest that he was kept in a situation that didn’t allow him to move around much.”
Like many dogs and cats before him, Ike was given a soft bed right in the office of (and at the feet of) Megan Webb, shelter director, so that his progress (or lack thereof) could be noted. Casting weary but inquisitive glances from his new bed, Ike began winning hearts even when he was too weak to know it. Passing volunteers and officers talked to him and gently touched the big head. He was fast becoming another animal that the shelter community rallies around. People seemed to collectively determine that Ike had been through enough; from now on, he would know what it felt like to be cared for the right way.
But what no one banked on was Ike.
With head and heart befitting his name, the big dog has rallied. With good food, medication, and the warmth of real care, Ike is on his feet. He is getting stronger each day and is beginning to explore his new life, winning people over with his innocent, easy-going, curious-about-everything manner. Despite his big, bold exterior, Ike is a puppy at heart: he loves people, plays with dogs a tenth of his size, has befriended a shelter cat, and is starting to be vocal when—by his calculations—he has been ignored for too long. All that is the good news.
The not-so-good news is that X-rays have shown some possible issues with his spine. Treated by VCA Bay Area Animal Hospital, he has been diagnosed with “Wobblers”—a condition that causes narrowing of his spinal vertebrae and creates pressure on his spinal cord. Although this condition may have slow or quick progression, for now Ike is not in pain, and he is learning to be a happy dog.
But there is more good news. Northern CA Doberman Rescue has agreed to foster Ike,” Webb announced. “And, with their help, everyone at OAS is hoping that this funny, promising boy will find a home where he will be showered with love and attention and where his people will give him a wonderful life for as long as he has—which could be years.”
But, no matter whatever Ike’s future holds, staff and volunteers at the Oakland Animal Shelter are determined to help him continue on the upward turn his life has taken. And that’s what Ike is reminding the people around him: We do this for the Ikes, and we do it no matter how long “this” might be, and we do it because we know that all of us who touch his life—or, better said, all of those who Ike touches—will be richer for it.
Oh, yeah . . . we like Ike.