On May 9, 2006, Bowzer peacefully passed away. He will always be missed in the BossClark household. Below is a short eulogy written by Ashley:
It’s bizarre, but I don’t remember life before Bowzer. He became part of our family when I was five or so, which should give me at least three or four years full of memories. But it seems as though my memories begin the week we went looking for Ted’s dog. If one day they write a biography of my life, I see it being divided into 2 sections: BB, where no memories exist but, I believe, still contain rather important events, and AB, or after Bowzer.
Bowzer meant different things to different people: he was a type of dog in the neighborhood, a diplomat, a part of the Clark household, or a symbol for my friends childhood. When asked about the breed of my dog, a common occurrence in our town, I always explained that he was half Akita and half Chow Chow, two national dogs of countries who hate each other. The symbolism never escaped me and I touted it proudly to the dog cleaner or neighbor or whichever victim was dumb enough to ask. As his breeding would suggest, Bowzer was a true diplomat, even if he didn’t realize it. Bowzer could befriend anyone: dignitaries, congressmen, and even Chinese Professors who, before meeting Bowzer, were scared of dogs in general.
But to me Bowzer was another brother, just one who aged differently. When he was younger he was my little brother, finally someone I could boss around or cuddle with. He was the younger brother who would run ahead of me on snow days, frolicking blissfully in the mountains of white powder only to wear himself out and always drop behind me and follow my footprints back home. For many years he was the same age as me, a unique twin who my friends and I would chase down the street everyday or who I would see around town at odd moments, like at a football game or the coffee shop. For the last five years he has been my aging brother; more distinguished, but also more cranky. He became someone I had to take care of, help him with bad days and sneak him cheese even though he wasn’t supposed to eat “people food.”
He was always more human than dog, a characteristic most pet owners fool themselves into believing only applies to their beloved ones. While other dogs played fetch or chased cats, Bowzer opted for sitting with our friends or attending football games. He was a friendly giant who would look at small yapping dogs and wonder what all the fuss was about. Every once in a while his animal instinct would take control and he would fool himself into believing that he could catch that rabbit. After years of ending up out of breath and only a couple of feet from the hare, I was comforted by the fact he never gave up. Almost never.
I knew it was the beginning of the end, a clichéd phrase I hate using but sometimes works so perfectly it makes me sick, when Bowzer stopped chasing the rabbits. At first I saw him decide not to give them a run for their money, a conscious effort due to either arthritis or a greater understanding of his physical limitations. But soon he became unaware of their presence at all.
I like to think that where Bowzer is now he is the younger version, the one we all loved and played with, and not the Bowzer he was by the end. I also like to think that where he is now has exactly what he would love: cheese, snow, people to sit with and lots of slow moving rabbits.