I have always been a big dog fan. Okay, a huge dog fan, both in preference and size. Our family has collectively raised and loved 8 German Shepherds. My little sister broke the mold by getting a Newfoundland who could give pony rides to toddlers!

Like I mentioned - a huge dog fan. I just always assumed big dogs made it less likely that I would trip over them. Plus they sort of mirrored my personality, quiet and thoughtful one minute, trying to kill the weird neighbors the next!

In my defense, I hadn't met Henry yet. He was my dear friend's Debbie & Loren McManus's dog, and he changed me. He was the smartest, funniest, best-trained dog I've ever met in my life and he was a little poodle-bichon-something-or-other-mix.

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Whenever I'd appear on their doorstep, Debbie would say, "Patty's here and there was Henry wagging his tail and drawing circles around us. Then our ritual was I would stand over him and scritchy his sides and butt & he loved it.

Loren would do this trick with him where he would take a handful of marshmallows, stand at one end of the living room, and just throw them. Henry would hunt until he found every one of them. Even if one wiggled under the sofa, he would make it known that he wouldn't quit until it was retrieved by his humans and gobbled by him.

He would stay when you told him to stay, he would lay down on his bed when he was told to. He'd jump up on the couch and cuddle with you. He rang a little bell on the floor when he wanted to go outside. And he loved his toys.

He had his very own toy box/ottoman in the living room. He would jump up into it, grab a toy, and depending on what it was - go off and attempt to mangle it or beg for your participation.

In his later years, Henry developed a number of ailments that would have daunted other dog lovers, but not his human parents. He developed diabetes and Cushing's disease, went blind and deaf, yet continued to be the loving, entertaining, smart little hound he always had been.

When he passed away not that long ago, it left a huge void for his mom and dad and anyone else who had the good fortune to spend time with him.

He was more than just a small dog, he was a lesson in determination and unconditional love. Yup, Henry changed me.

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