I hadn't really intended on doing a post about this, but the more I have thought about it, the more I have realized I should honor his memory in some way...
A couple of days ago we had to have mom's rottweiller put to sleep. Over the last couple of weeks he has slowed down considerably and Friday, he couldn't even get up. He was 12 or 13 years old, which is quite old for a large pure bred dog and his hips (among other things) had started to go on him. It was decided to just let him go instead of subjecting him to the pain that was sure to follow. I have seen many many animals die, but I have never seen one pass so gently-- it was a blessing.
I can't really say a lot about the dog considering he wasn't my pet, and he lived outdoors so I saw very little of him, but being that he has been here since I was about 6 years old, he has definitely become a part of my life.
Bruiser (who only lived up to his name in appearance) was one of the friendliest dogs I have ever seen-- the only danger he posed to humans was knocking them down and getting mud on them. Some of my oldest memories are riding him around like a horse, hanging dearly onto his neck chain (he broke regular collars in no time) while he trotted around the yard.
That isn't to say he was not a dangerous canine-- just not dangerous to humans or other dogs (as a rule). But he would kill any cat or goat or anything else that got near him faster than you could say, "No, Bruiser!". I can't tell you how many cats I have lost, but I kind of view it as natural selection-- the smart cats stay away from dangerous dogs and stay out of the way of cars... the dumb ones don't. Over the years, I did save one kitten from him (the little kitty actually managed to fight him off long enough to wedge herself under his doghouse) and one goat (our front door has no porch and is a 6 or 7 foot drop off... his doghouse is underneath it and I leapt out the door onto his back and got him off an old goat we had who only survived because she was a bit big for him to fully grasp quickly).
There were two other scary moments for me with him. Once when Bruiser broke his chain and was wandering the yard, I caught him easily enough and was leading him back to his doghouse but I took him too close to a dachshund (aptly named Rebel) we used to have-- the little shit knew no fear and tore into that rottie like you wouldn't believe... I honestly thought I was caught in the middle of a dogfight. But Bruiser just looked down at him like, "Dude, wtf?", and we went on. The other time, I heard a commotion at about 3am and I grabbed a flashlight and ran outside, stopping just 2 or 3 feet from the business end of a skunk that Bruiser had in his jaws-- he actually managed to kill it before it could spray, but needless to say I thought I was a stinker for sure.
I don't know what else to say really... we have had (easily) 1000's of animals in my lifetime, but few have managed to stand apart from the rest-- Bruiser (literally and figuratively) stood head and shoulders above most of the others and he will be missed.