I never had such a small dog for an extended period of time – LEROY BROWN (as in Big Bad Leroy Brown) had 10 months as an Old Dog Haven Final Refuge Dog.  He was 16 years old.

Walkies were always a forced march.  But exercise is necessary for good health, and especially to retain his svelte figure, so twice a day I persevered, and twice a day LEROY BROWN begrudgingly complied.

He would get all excited when his harness was put on, but only because he was the eternal optimist that he was going for a car ride and not a walk.  I took him along with one of his other ODH pack-mates – both much larger dogs.  LEROY BROWN would totter along, paddling his feet as fast as he could to keep up.  He would lag far behind on the flexi-lead as we walked away from the house (and passersby would say I was going too fast), but as soon as the 30-45min route turned back toward home, he would pick up the pace and lead the way.  He never stopped to sniff things like the other dogs, but he would always stop to watch people working in their yards.

I shaved him down myself so that his hair and tail were not always dragging on the ground.  He was like taking a dust mop for a walk – only it wasn’t dust that he brought home – instead it was water, worms, dirt, mud, leaves and twigs that would become imbedded in his fur.

LEROY BROWN had two oral surgeries to remove all his teeth and to surgically close the fistulas (gaping holes) in the roof of his mouth.  As a result, his tongue was always hanging out the side of his mouth, and his food had to be pureed for him to lick it up.  He also saw an Ophthalmologist for his Dry Eye, and an Internist to address a condition called Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Rhinits – all thanks to the awesome generosity of ODH donors.

I always wondered what would be his “undoing” in the end because he was very healthy overall, and his blood work still looked great.  But then one day he started leaving food in his bowl, and his abdomen was tense and painful.  An ultrasound revealed a large tumor on his spleen, and though it had not ruptured like they commonly do, it had started leaking blood into his abdomen.  I held Big Bad LEROY BROWN all bundled up in a blanket just the way he liked it, as he left to run over the Rainbow Bridge – tottering along as only a Doxen can.  I miss him terribly.