In Dec. of 1996, a truly great mastiff was brought into the world. 11 years later, his job here was finally complete; and he went to join his best friend Huckleberry; leaving Ron and I here missing him, but better for having loved him. Soon it will be a year since we said goodbye to him; I keep thinking, "Later, I'll feel ready to write his memorial; some OTHER time I'll be up to it", etc. Writing these is so hard, and when you feel like you are ready, you sit down to do it and find you are not. There were many things about him that were so special...he used to let us know when something was wrong with one of the other pets....we have a big group of animals; it's easy to miss subtle signs of sickness..Owen NEVER missed them. He would let us know when Maggie was having high blood sugars ( her urine smelled different to him and he would follow her around ,as if she were in heat); when Ginger was about to have a seizure, he would come get us and express his concern to us. He was never an alarmist. If he told us something, it was true. He was an honest dog. He had the most adorable and unique voice...he didn't bark, but rather, made a little noise like an owl. He would say, "hoo! HOO!" when he wanted to talk to us. He very, VERY rarely actually barked. When he did, it was a single, IMPRESSIVE "WOOF!" If we heard that, we got up and went to see what was going on. As I said before, he was NOT an alarmist. If he woofed, there was something to woof about. We were so lucky to have the many years we had with him, he was an old soul from puppyhood; very serious and not prone to silliness. He did love his toys, and liked to bring them to us as gifts when we would come home from work. If we took him by surprise, he would look upset that he hadn't been ready with a toy, and he would trot off to get one for us before saying hello. Sometimes , if a toy wasn't handy, he would bring us a dog bed or a cat bed; Sometimes with a cat already sitting in it. He would gingerly tug-tug-tug...then wait....no movement from the cat, who sat in there with slitted ,annoyed eyes...then tug...tug...tug...TUG.....wait again.....the cat would stand it's ground...then he would just drag the bed with the cat sitting in it, to try to gently give us this wonderful gift. He was self conscious about his size. He was very careful around the cats, careful not to step on them or squish them as he got up onto couches, beds, our bed, and moved about the house. He seemed to know that he could hurt them, and he never wanted to hurt things. Even his toys, and food...he would chew his treats gently, take treats gently, and when we gave him new squeaky toys, we would have to SQUEAK them for him while they were in his big soft mouth, to try to encourage him to bite down on them. He just liked their soft fleeciness in his mouth, and didn't even know most times that they ALSO squeaked if you bit down on them. He didn't want to be unneccesarily rough. :) He needed to be shown this with any new toys; he did not generalize that all toys might make this great noise if you were rough with them. Once he decided to squeak them, he would shake them happily back and forth, squeaking them over and over, and then pausing to be sure we were watching him. When he saw that we WERE, he would wag his tail. Oh, his tail...sigh...that massive thumping that made us wish we had our OWN tails to wag in return...he would wag his tail while looking into his water bowl, if there was a piece of food floating in it. He would watch the food without wagging, then wag -wag -wag...then wait for a response from the food piece. He also wagged his tail in his sleep, when he was dreaming. He would wag it HARD, at very specific times, during his sleep. He had an active dream life I think. He did a "fake" sleep too, he would be snoring and have his eyes closed and appear dead to the world; and when we walked by him he would not move in any other way, but he would wag at us. I thought I wouldn't be able to write a THING about him, and now I've written for an hour. I also thought the tears for him were nearly over; and I sit here, crying hard for him again. I'm sure I could go on and on; but it's not easy. The memories seem too fresh; to be nothing but memories. We love you, we miss you and will always miss you; you set the bar high, baby boy.