Our four-legged volunteers are always ready to lend a paw. They are Beacon’s pet therapy dogs. Sixteen specially trained and certified pups can be found making the rounds with their handlers, comforting patients who miss their own dog and bringing smiles to associates at Memorial and Elkhart General. Meet our tail-wagging friends as we continue our special “Dog Days of Summer” series.

Name: Ike
Age: I’ll be 10 years old in September.
Handler: Linda
Home: South Bend

How long have you been a therapy dog? 2½ years

“The best part of my job is…” Meeting new people, giving them lotsa dog kisses and getting hugs and pets. I especially like visiting the adolescent unit at Epworth. I get so excited to see the kids that my mom can hardly hold me back once we get there.

Describe your personality: I’m intense and competitive at a flyball tournament, but otherwise loving and sweet. My mom says I’m stubborn and mischievous, too.

What tricks do you know: I know how to bow, pray, shake paws, do paws up, give high 5s, spin, and sometimes flip a treat off my nose and catch it.

Favorite human food: My mom doesn’t give me human food, but her friend’s husband saves leftovers to give me when we walk by their house. He has given me bacon, steak, filet mignon, and prime rib. One time he gave me leftover pizza, but I got sick on that.

Favorite toys: Balls, tugs, skinnies, and anything that squeaks.

Favorite movie: “Max” because my breed is featured in that movie.

Biggest pet peeve: My mom not sharing her food with me and getting groomed so often so that I’ll be handsome and clean when we visit the hospital.

Who’s your hero and why? My dog walker. He plays games with me and tries to trick me, but I’m too smart for his tricks.

Car rides or walks? Walks? Walks because I get to scout for squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks.

Rawhide or pig’s ear? I’m not allowed to have rawhide. My mom also thinks pig ears are disgusting, but she does give me one every now and then. And you know in the pet stores, sometimes the pig ears are on a low shelf, so I’ll snatch one before my mom can stop me.

“I get so excited when my owner says…” Bunny or squirrel.

“I will never forget the time when I…” Was a puppy and I realized those squirrels disappear because they run up into the trees.

How would you describe your perfect day? My perfect day would be to compete in a flyball tournament. I love flyball. It is a super fun team relay sport for dogs that involves jumping over 4 jumps, then hitting a box to release and catch a tennis ball, and running back to the finish line with the ball as fast as I can where my mom is waiting for me with my tug toy. The total course distance down and back is 102 feet and my time is about 5.3 seconds. The tournaments are also always out of town, so we get to stay in a hotel or camp in a tent.

If you could talk, what advice would you give the patients you see? My mom taught me the pray trick. She hopes it will remind people to pray when they are facing tough times because no matter what we are facing in life God is always in control.