We all lost a beloved member of the pack yesterday, but I feel like Alice also lost her hero and role model. Today she went from searching the yard for him at 3AM to acceptance and sadness by this afternoon and evening. She'll bounce back quickly, as smart animals do, but I wish we could do more to comfort her.
The following are a few favorite photos of their unique 8+ year relationship.
The Day Alice Arrived
I took over 200 photos of Alice's first day with us, but I don't think I ever posted the out-of-focus shot below, which was the very first photo I got of the two of them. It's literally the moment that Alice came into Ike's life.
As a tough 8 year old cat, Ike was instantly in charge of 8 week old Alice. He wasn't mean to her, but she seemed to know to fear him, in part from watching Jamie's interactions.
Alice quickly bonded with both Ike and his brother Fish. To a greater extent than Jamie before her (9 months older), she seemed to see herself as "one of the cats." In this photo, they're waiting for Jamie and Megan to return from a longer walk than Alice's little legs could handle at that age.
Fish was bigger and stronger than Ike, but Ike was the one who spent the most time teaching the dogs how to interact with cats. Stoic Fish would just walk away from inappropriate behavior, but Ike would get in their faces and give his opinion.
We get a monthly delivery of Darwin's raw dog food for Jamie and Alice, which comes in styrofoam crates. Ike liked to claim the crates, because he loved sharpening his wicked claws on them and littering the house with shredded styrofoam. In this photo, Ike had been doing his thing and Alice wanted into the crates (because she could smell the food in them). Alice even nibbled on Ike's head, but he wouldn't move.
Alice's Stick in the Neck Situation
I know people find Alice's stick-in-the-neck photos creepy. I get it. But the sheer level of compassion and empathy that Jamie and Ike had for Alice was amazing to see up close, and touches me to this day. Here's one of many photos of Ike hanging out with Alice while she was wearing a fancy drain (after surgery #2 of 3), and I love the fact that they're in the same spots they were when Alice first arrived.
Learning to Leap
I've posted hundreds of photos of Air Alice, who grew up trying to emulate the moves of Ike and Fish. Here are a few typical shots of Alice learning from Ike.
A few more photos of a beautiful friendship ...
Added later, for posterity ... here are the Facebook and Instagram posts where we let people know about Ike's passing. It was cool to see how many people he had touched worldwide through photos of his adventures on social media.