Meet Ike the German shepherd, a rescue dog who is stealing hearts across America after video of him playing tag with a wild deer went viral.
From his backyard in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Ike has plenty of room to scamper and play. He recently made friends with a deer, and the duo enjoyed racing back and forth along the gate in a carefree game of tag.
Ike’s owner managed to grab some video of the new friends playing together and posted it online, where it quickly began to circulate on social media.
“It was a fun moment,” Ethan Cole, Ike’s owner, told WFLA-TV. “I was watching for a while before I thought to pull out my phone. It was amazing to realize that they were playing.”
But life for Ike was not always full of grassy backyards and caring owners. When Ike was first found, he was around 6 months old, running around rural fields in Parrish, Florida, alone.
“It seemed he hadn’t had a whole lot of human interaction,” Cole told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal.
Ike was taken to a local shelter, Manatee County Animal Services, an organization that Cole and his mother, Faith Peterson, have supported for a long time.
He and his mother had been interested in adopting a German shepherd, a breed that Peterson longed to care for after her own German shepherd had been ripped away from her as a child and given to a stranger.
“My mother was raised by her mother in a bar her mom owned after her father died,” Cole told Liftable.
“My mom tells the story of her mom giving her German Shepherd away to a patron who ran a junkyard. She watched in tears as the man pulled him away on a rope.
“Rumor had it that the man was very cruel to him,” Cole said. “That dog was named Ike.”
“Now that we have the means, my mother has been very supportive of rescues, and in particular wanted another Shepherd named after the childhood dog that had been taken from her when she lived in those rough conditions.”
“So this dog is very special to her and to us.”
Cole co-adopted Ike with his mother as soon as the puppy was officially available, a dream come true for the woman who will never forget her childhood dog.
Ike is now two years old and enjoys having plenty of humans to faithfully care for him.
“I live just a few doors down from my mom. We sort of co-raise the dogs,” Cole said. “I have my own, and I help her with hers. All of our dogs are rescues…except for her little pug.”
Peterson may have been powerless to protect her childhood dog, but as an adult, she has provided a happy home for all of her dogs and has raised a son who is committed to doing the same.
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