posted November 4th, 2011 by
  • Share
Sierra Exif JPEG

Alex, my pal I affectionately called Big Al, passed quietly and gently over the Rainbow Bridge today. I was glad to be his best friend and help him pass.  Dr. Jeff Owens and the good people at Elm Creek Animal Hopital were fantastic. A special thanks to them for being so kind and being there.  Writing this may be a cathartic experience, we’ll see?

Alex was an Old English Mastiff that exemplified the breed. We kidded that Alex was a force of nature, and were not far off.  He had so much heart, it was truly amazing watching him fight the indignities of old age. People probaby say I’m guilty of anthrpomorphism, giving human traits they don’t possess to dogs. I am most definitely guilty. However, I will argue with anyone that Alex had a dignity and special gentleness to him. If he set his mind on something he could be tenacious or dogmatic. Incredibly gentle, but woe be to anyone who he felt threatened me or anyone or thing in his home. He was as faithful a friend as you could know. Alex had a good life and never wanted anything but a good belly rub, some good play and his Bugs Bunny Rabbit. Alex slept with him in his mouth all night, every night. He knew where Bugs was at all times. He was always gentle with Bugs and never tore Bugs. Occasionally, I would recycle Bugs into the wash load or get him a new one. When in the wash, he would search the entire time until he re-appeared. When he was searching, a friend said, “Al is pretty intense about his Wabbit”. Alex had Linus beat in his obsession department with his “Bugs Bunny Wabbit”

Alex loved to go boating and was a strong swimmer. On the boat he loved standing at the front with the wind in his face. He looked like a hood ornament to the boat going across the water, a very large hood ornament! We often canoed.. Sometimes we would float a river with his Labrador Ret. buddy, Tex. They would float outside the canoe just cruising along with the current. They didn’t understand why people would rather stay out of the water in a canoe when they could be chilling in the water & cruising along. Alex and Tex floated the Illinois River 12 mile float, beginning at the flat rocks, many times.

Alex led a good full long life. Alex worked as a Therapy Dog and had his Canine Good Citizen Certificate and was a certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs International. He loved going to work at the University of Tulsa’s Mary K Chapman Center. There, he worked as a Therapy Dog in TU’s Speech Pathology Depatment’s program with children. Until he became too old to work at TU, at home, each morning he would faithfully wait at the front door, anticipating their arrival to transport him to TU. He loved going. He worked with Dr. Beth Maculey as a therapy team. Alex had a Staff ID that specifically identified Alex as “Staff”, which proudly hung from his neck. The TU Football Players who came into the Mary K Chapman Center would introduce Alex to their teammates by having them challenge Alex to a game of “tug of war”. They laughed when they found that a 223 lb. English Mastiff with four paws and low to the ground with a thirty-four inch neck could generate a LOT of torque. It was a rite of passage after a while. Alex had friends all over the University of Tulsa. Several said they wanted him to be a TU Mascot for football games and wanted him instead of the present “Captain Cane” when they considered changing mascots in 2009.

Also, Alex loved the dog parks where he played tug of war for hours with anyone who would pull. If it was a person or a big dog he would pull hard, if it was a small dog such as Emma, his Pug friend, he would pull gently. If Emma started shaking the rope tug, he would gently lift her off of the ground. When someone stopped and let go he would toss it back to them to play some more. He loved the kiddie pools when they were there. Two of his very favorite places were Joe Station and Biscuit Acres Dog Parks. Alex was always a peace-maker and the little dogs would follow Alex around. One day it dawned on us that they followed Alex around for shade. We laughed that Alex “cast a BIG SHADOW”. He had lots of friends at both dog parks and loved to go visit his two legged and four legged friends. He worked with countless foster dogs through rescue programs. Alex helped steady dogs with aggression, separation anxiety, or just helping foster a dog waiting to find their forever home. Alex was “solid”. He was confident and at peace. Other dogs picked up on it.

Alex was a gentle soul who I’m going to miss. I’ll always have the memories and experiences that Alex has provided. When I hear someone say, “Wow, that’s a big dog”. I’m sure I’ll smile. Alex will come to mind.

2 Responses to “Alex”

  1. Amanda Sumner says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Alex’s passing. I wish I could have seen him one more time at the dog park. He was such a handsome guy! I hope that Jolly and Tex are still well. Condolences and prayers sent.

  2. Rosemary Caswell says:

    What a beautiful and sweet story about Alex! He sounds like a wonderful companion and friend. Your memories of this gentle giant will always bring you joy. Please accept my condolences at your loss. May Alex rest in peace while he waits to see you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Leave a Reply