I had the very good fortune of having known someone who lived each day with deep respect, asking and expecting little, while giving so much.  Every day he sought to find ways to show love, have fun, and demonstrate concern for his family.  In a time where many show little consideration, let alone respect for others, he was a fountain of real happiness.  Self-sacrifice was something he lived by, without regret, enjoying every day as it came.
We brought him into our home into a new and strange world, a tiny, somewhat frail little boy (runt) needing medicine to overcome his early weeks.  After that, he needed nothing except a desire to earn our respect.  He deferred to all members of the family, demonstrating faith in everyone regardless of their understanding of his capabilities. Leon was very intelligent, cowering if one of us was upset with something; never with him.  His love was unceasing and like a precious gift.  Nearly everyone who met him instinctively knew he was happy just to be around and play, picking up his ball and giving it to them to play with him if they could.
One day he realized that we were not always able to play as much as he wanted letting me know he was bored.  I looked at him and said be careful for what you wish.  That led shortly thereafter to Shelby, who came to us as a baby as well.  Because of his giving and caring nature, the first time Leon saw baby Shelby eating her baby food, he did not push her away to eat it himself, he was so happy to have a her, he took his favorite treat and dropped it in front of her, not understanding she was not able to digest it.  Once again, he demonstrated a very advanced ability to think of someone else over himself. That never really got him far with Shelby.
As Shelby caught up with Leon in stature, Leon was always able to run circles around her, but deferred to her at meals and treats. To me, Leon was the very definition of the words noble and appreciative. He had a mischievous side, but he was also highly intelligent, He understood over 80 words and gestures and was able to “speak” hi, hello, yes, and made other sounds with unusual expression for a canine.
Unfortunately, in August of last year, 2011 at only 8 years old, cancer ended his life. I still cannot talk about his early departure to this day writing is easier since no one sees me. I was truly blessed to have known such a noble spirit who appreciated every day with us and made my life and everyone who knew him better. Loving unconditionally, playing with full intensity, and always smiling, even when he was hurting. He was the little boy I never had and he left too soon. He is in a better place where an endless sun smiles upon him.

— Derek from Laguna Niguel, CA