Mending the Line: What Happens to Ike’s Dog Bear?

In ‘Mending the Line,’ two war veterans bond over fly fishing, sharing their experiences in the war and how it has had an indelible impact on their lives. For Ike Fletcher, life was solitary, living in his cabin with no one but his beloved dog, Bear. The arrival of John Colter, a Marine back from Afghanistan and healing from his wounds, stirs things up. Despite their initial differences, the men eventually find common ground and grow to respect each other while also supporting one another through their tough journey. In all this, Bear becomes one of the things that bridges the gap between them. Considering how the film ends, the audience is bound to have concerns about Bear’s fate. What happens to him?

Bear Finds a New Best Friend In John Colter

Bear was a guard dog given to Ike Fletcher to keep him company. Ike lived alone, and considering his already crumbling mental health, it was necessary for him to have a tether, which is where Bear came in; having him made Ike feel less lonely. He always had his beloved dog with him wherever he went, and while there were still a lot of things that Ike needed to figure out, it was much better with Bear around.

Over the years, Ike healed from his wounds in the war, both mental and physical. But as he grew old, the age started to do a number on him. He fell ill, and his condition was such that it would only get worse with time. At such a time, Ike needed someone to take care of and accompany him during his fly fishing trips because a moment’s lapse could cost Ike dearly. He was barely holding on to dear life, which is why John is sent to him as a pupil.

It takes John a while to get in Ike’s good books, but it doesn’t take much for him to bond with Bear. The dog is the first one to welcome him and eases some tension between the two men. As Ike and John get to know each other better and become each other’s friends, Bear also develops a friendship with John. In hindsight, it was a wise decision on Dr. Burke’s part to send John to Ike, not just because she knew that despite her warnings, Ike wouldn’t take care of himself, but also because John’s arrival gave a buffer to Bear.

In the end, when Ike dies, Bear is not left alone. By this time, he has already become familiar with John, and it is hinted that Ike has left his house and car for John. It only makes sense that he would leave his dog to John, too. In the final scene, in which John leaves for fly fishing, we see Bear in the house with him, confirming that the dog is loved and cared for, even though Ike is gone.

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