Author's Note: Late again. Sorry about that. Guess what! I can make my rent! I am so thrilled. Means no begging for money from mom. I like my waitress job and it is going very well. Thanks for all your support. This chapter is mostly about nothing. I hope you like it anyway. Fluffy Ivy bits.
Disclaimer: Law & Order: Criminal Intent belongs to Dick Wolf, NBC, and Wolf Films, et al. The characters and setting are borrowed without permission. This is a work of fan fiction. The plot belongs to me. I am making no money from this. I humbly request not to be sued.
Title: An Ordinary Family
By: Marion the Geek
"Wake up sleepy head," called Bobby. Ivy's eyelashes fluttered but she didn't open her eyes. "Ivy?" He stood next to her bed, a party hat on his head and a Mylar "Happy Birthday" balloon in his hand.
She rolled over on her side, facing away from him. She snuggled Bax, her stuffed Siberian Husky a little closer. "It's too early to be up on a Saturday," she mumbled.
"Not when it's your birthday," he said. "Alex, Papa Johnny, and I have a big surprise for you, but you have to get up and come have breakfast first, birthday girl."
She rolled back towards him and blinked groggily up at him.
"Happy birthday, Ivy," he said. She noticed the hat and giggled. Bobby made a silly face. She cracked up.
Ivy yawned and stretched, sitting up. "Good morning," she said. She rubbed her eyes. Bobby handed her the balloon and she tied it to her bedpost. She crawled out of bed in her purple and blue flannel pajamas to hug her uncle. "Did I hear you mention breakfast?" she asked, stifling a yawn.
"Extra super special birthday waffles," he said.
She grinned. Waffles were her favorite breakfast. "What makes them extra super special birthday waffles?" she asked as they walked down the hallway.
"The ice cream," said Bobby. "And the candle."
She giggled again.
They were just finishing breakfast when the doorbell rang. "I'll put the dishes away," said Bobby. "You go let Papa Johnny and Alex in."
"Okay," she said, heading for the front door.
"Happy birthday, baby girl," said Johnny Eames when Ivy opened the door. He handed her a half dozen yellow and pink roses.
She gave him a big hug. "Thank you," she said. "I've never gotten flowers before." She gave Alex a hug as well and led them inside.
"Uncle Bobby," she called when they were in the den. "Do you have a vase? Papa Johnny brought me roses."
Bobby brought her a vase with water in it and greeted Alex and her father.
"So what's the big surprise?" asked Ivy.
"You'll see," said Bobby. "Go get dressed. We have to go get it."
Ivy hurried down the hall to get ready.
When she was ready they all piled into Bobby's Prius. It took them just over a half an hour to reach their destination.
Ivy's eyes lit up when they reached their destination. It was the "Animal Haven" no kill shelter in Flushing, Queens. Ivy looked at Bobby in wonder. "I thought we couldn't get a dog because he'd be lonely at home all day," she said.
"He won't be lonely if he spends his days at my dad's house," said Alex.
"I miss having a dog around the house," said Johnny. "We haven't had one since Sam's dog, Frodo, died, and that was almost nine years ago."
"We worked out a joint custody agreement," Bobby told her. "I'll drop off the dog at Papa Johnny's house in the mornings on your way to school. Then we'll take him home with us when I pick you up at night."
Ivy hugged her Uncle and her adopted grandfather gleefully.
"Come on. Let's go inside and find the new addition to the family," said Alex. Ivy nodded vigorously.
At the door they were greeted by a young woman who worked at the shelter. She showed them around and took them to where the dogs that were up for adoption were housed. Ivy looked at several dogs, but none really jumped out at her. She played with a few small dogs and tossed a tennis ball a few times for a Labrador. The Lab was sweet, but she had her doubts about him. She continued to the next room at the shelter.
When she first laid eyes on Augustus, she knew she'd found her dog. He was a shaggy, gangly thing, tall and wiry with a long nose and a gray coat. He licked her face when she bent to pet him. He appeared to be a full-grown medium sized mixed breed dog of indeterminate lineage.
"Isn't he wonderful?" she asked Bobby.
Her uncle was looking at the dog skeptically. "Any idea what kind of dog he is?" he asked their guide.
"Looks like a mutt though and through to me," said Johnny, patting the dog on the head. The dog wagged his long pennant like tail.
"Actually, Gus is pure bred Irish Wolf Hound puppy," said the guide. "He came here from a woman who taught him good house manners but fed him poor quality food. He had no hair on his face and stomach when he got here two months ago. We got him on some high protein large breed puppy food and he's doing much better, as you can see."
"That's a puppy?" asked Alex. She was petting the dog who was basking in the attention. His shoulders were almost to her mid thigh. "How old is he?"
"He's just thirteen months," said their guide. "Irish Wolf Hounds are the largest breed of dog. He'll be just over two and a half feet at the shoulders when he's full-grown. He'll be finished growing when he's around two."
Ivy was kneeling on the floor having her face thoroughly washed by the excited puppy. She looked merrily up at her uncle. "Can we get him? Please."
Bobby looked down at her skeptically. The puppy looked up at him and wagged his tail. "When I said you could get a dog, I didn't think you'd want a bear," he said. The puppy's long tongue lapped against his knuckles.
The large man and the large dog regarded each other. "Is there some way to have him on a trial basis?" he asked after a moment. Ivy looked wretchedly hopeful.
"You can take him for a week and make sure he's the dog for you," said the guide. "We want to make sure our animals find the right homes."
Bobby turned to Johnny. "What do you think?" he asked the older man.
"I like him," said Johnny. Gus seemed to be smiling up at him. "He's certainly a friendly fellow."
"Is he house broken?" Bobby asked.
"Yes, and he's had some obedience training," said the guide. "He still needs practice but he knows the commands sit, stay, and heel."
Gus rolled onto his back and Ivy was rubbed his tummy. "All right," said Bobby. "We'll give it a try." He looked Ivy in the eye. "But this is just a trial. I'm not promising anything. I want to research the breed and see how he acts at home before I decide."
Ivy nodded. "Yes sir," she said. She turned back to the dog. "Hear that, boy? You're coming home with me." The dog's tail thumped on the floor.
"Irish Wolf Hounds are gentle giants," said their guide. "They make great family pets and are usually friendly and playful. The one thing you need to be careful of is sometimes they don't know their own strength. He is still a puppy, so he's still figuring some things out. This breed needs plenty of exercise, so be prepared to take him for walks."
"What's he doing?" Bobby asked sounding distressed. The dog appeared to be biting Ivy's hand, but she was just watching him, not in pain.
The guide laughed. "That's how Irish Wolf Hounds hold hands," she said. "They seem to know instinctively not to bite down hard. He likes to play wrestle, but he knows the command 'easy' if he gets to rough. They're smart dogs and fast learners."
Bobby still looked dubious as the guide went to get the paperwork. "Look on the bright side," said Alex, patting his arm. "He'll be the right size dog for you when he grows up." Bobby rolled his eyes at her.
The girl who worked at the shelter gave them instructions on basic care for the dog and showed them what kind of food to get. On the ride home Gus leaned his head over from the cargo area to nuzzle his new mistress. She stroked his coarse fur and talked softly to him the whole way. They stopped at a pet store on the way and took Gus in to pick out a bed and high protein puppy food.
They got him a leash and a training collar so Ivy would have more control with such a strong dog. Ivy picked out food dishes with a raised stand to accommodate tall dogs and the largest rope bone they carried. Gus stuck close to her all around the store. He was curious and occasionally stopped to sniff things, but he never let the little girl out of his sight.
"They love each other all ready," said Johnny. "That dog was just waiting for Ivy."
Bobby hated to admit he was right. He still wasn't sure what he thought about having such a big dog, as Gus would grow to be, but he hoped for his niece's sake, that they would end up keeping the dog.
Alex and Johnny went home after they got back to Bobby's house. Ivy and Bobby with the new puppy in tow were to report to the Eames' by one o'clock.
Bobby spent the morning reading his mail and the paper in the den. Ivy showed Gus around his new home. Bobby was surprised when he felt a wet tongue lick his bare toes. He looked down at Gus. The dog cocked his head sideways, regarding Bobby, and seemed to smile. Bobby gave him a cursory pat on the head. Gus's tail wagged. Bobby scratched his ears. Gus licked Bobby's fingers and then wandered back to Ivy's room. Bobby smiled to himself. He remembered being twelve and wanting a dog of his own.
By twelve thirty they were on the road to the Eames' house. Gus was taking up most of the back seat with his head pillowed in Ivy's lap. She'd talked Bobby into not making him ride in the cargo area. She stroked Gus's soft puppy ears and he licked her hand. "You're a good boy," she said, scratching his chin. "Isn't he the best dog you ever met?" she asked Bobby.
"He is a nice dog," said Bobby. Gus stood up and leaned his head over the seat to rest his head on Bobby's shoulder. He licked Bobby's cheek. Bobby chuckled. "And he's a suck up," he said. Gus yipped softly and returned his head to Ivy's lap.
"He likes you," said Ivy.
"He's growing on me, kidlet," said Bobby. "But this is still a trial."
Bobby would swear he heard the dog sigh. "Don't worry," he heard Ivy whisper to the dog. He laughed to himself.
Cassie and Sarah Eames were out the front door to greet them before they could get out of the car. Cassie threw her arms around Ivy. Gus barked and tried to nuzzle between them.
"Hi doggy," said six-year-old Sarah. Gus turned his attention to her, licking her face. She giggled and kissed his big black nose.
"Uncle Bobby!" exclaimed Cassie, launching herself into his arms. He swung the eight-year-old up in the air.
"Hi Cassie, hi Sarah," said Bobby. He set Cassie on her feet and knelt to hug her little sister.
"And who do we have here?" asked their father Ted. He was standing on the porch petting Gus who had run over to greet him.
"His name is Augustus," said Ivy. "Gus for short. He's my new dog." Gus ran back to Ivy and bounced up to lick her elbow. She laughed and ruffled his ears. He put his mouth over her hand and tugged her toward the door.
Bobby herded all the little girls toward the house. Caleb came running outside and launched himself off the porch into Ivy's arms. Gus ran in circles around them as Ivy carried her three and a half year old cousin adopted cousin inside. Bobby shook Ted's hand when he got to the porch. "Good to see you man," he said. They all went inside.
"Happy birthday, Ivy girl," said Grandma Annie.
Ivy hugged her grandmother and introduced her to Gus.
Author's Note: Yeah, not much happened in this chapter. But Irish Wolfhounds are nice. And Ivy needed a dog. Reviews always make my day.
P.S. I do have an Irish Wolfhound at my dad's house. Aeddon is the best doggy in the world and I miss him very much.