He was predictable with his morning and evening routine, making sure we were all up and awake before taking his morning constitutional; making sure we were all home at the end of the day before he did it again and before he ate. And every night he did bed checks.
He would have given his life to protect us.
The tropics are hard on dogs, though not so much now because we have heartworm preventative and meds for parasites and skin problems. But back then dogs didn't usually live much past 8 or 9 years. So we were honored to have our ornery beast around for 12.
But all good things must come to an end. I would like to say he died peacefully in his sleep, but it it was not to be. One morning while on his constitutional he was struck by a motorcyclist who roared off without stopping. Happy walked down our driveway and went to his chain. He lay down, placing himself off duty for the last time and never got up again. He was paralyzed from his neck down. We had no choice. He growled when Dad picked him up to put him in the car and he growled when the vet put the needle in his vein.
He was Himself to the very last, our lovable Ornery Beast, Happy.
I know, without a doubt, he is to this very day running through the tall grass of the Elysian Fields, chasing and catching mongooses, and rolling in smelly, stinky stuff without the concern of getting a bath. He is growling just because he can, snapping out Shakespearian insults like, "You mangled weather-bitten wagtail!" Best of all he is sleeping in the sun with his pal Kitty Puss.