Huggie Bear, age 126 in dogs years, passed away peacefully by lethal injection surrounded by loved ones at his Eden Prairie home on February 1.
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At best guess, Huggie was of mixed ancestry, including blue tick heeler, German short hair, and Chesapeake lab retriever. He enjoyed a robust life, and was known for his eternally optimistic disposition and living in the moment, no matter what challenges he faced in life.
Despite being abandoned as a puppy and taken to a shelter -- most likely because he was a retriever who only waded in water and didn't swim -- Huggie always believed the best of people and all dogs over 15 pounds who didn't wear sweaters.
With a playing weight of 86 pounds, Huggie loved adventure and was willing to take risks.
He once notably confronted a rabid raccoon, defeating the frothing intruder thanks to the mane of loose skin encircling his neck, which made him impervious to the assailant's diseased fangs.
He would not, however, emerge from the fight unscathed. Animal control quarantined Huggie for months. Lesser dogs would have eaten furniture or torn up rugs due to such extended isolation. Huggie just ate more. His spirit could not be dimmed.
Huggie was a lover of food, peeing on long walks, and squirrel chasing. He was a hater of all things feline, though in recent years he surmounted his prejudices to hold a platonic yet emotional mixed-species relationship with a cat named Tigra.
It wasn't unusual to see Huggie and Tigra parked side-by-side on the kitchen floor every morning, awaiting their grain-free dry goods.
Despite a constant private battle with his weight due to an addiction to Beggin' Strips, Huggie displayed an infectious attitude, bringing smiles to all he encountered.
Huggie's physical vigor became compromised in recent years after suffering what was suspected to be a pair of strokes. Yet even in the end, with his body wracked by age-related maladies, he remained true to his mantra: "Ah, are you gonna eat that?"
A private ceremony is planned in the coming weeks. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to your local animal shelter in Huggie's name.
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