Posted at: 11/23/2012 6:49 PM
Updated at: 11/26/2012 4:22 PM
By: James Wilcox
(ABC 6 News) -- When Ron Hanson takes his dog Moose for a walk, people notice.
“Usually they go, oh my God. Is that a bear? Is that a horse?” Ron says.
Because Moose isn’t your typical dog.
When Moose stands on his hind legs he’s more than six feet tall. He weighs 153 pounds.
Ron says, "Sometimes he thinks he's a cat so he'll come up and start rubbing against you and knock you over."
But it’s not just Moose’s size that makes him so special. To Ron and his wife Jody, their dog reminds them of their daughter.
"She passed away at 23 from a very rare form of cancer, and it came very sudden. She was diagnosed in July and we had her until February 25th," says Ron.
Jody adds, "He was the dog that she wanted. He was the dog she dreamed about having."
It was a dream that didn’t come true until just before Ashley died.
Ron says, "We actually had moose for under three weeks so it was a very short time. It was very short lived, but those three weeks she was happy as ever with her Moose."
And Moose helped the family move forward once Ashley was gone.
Jody says, "He made us get up in the morning, get out to bed to be fed. When people lose a child they just want to stay in bed and not go out in the world. Moose provided us a great gift in that sense."
We might be moping or feel sad through some of the grief stages and Moose will just come up to us and give us a shove just to say I’m here. It’s ok,” adds Ron.
Then there is the downside.
Ron chuckles, “He does fling drool from time to time and we’ve found it on the ceiling.”
Jody laughs, “Ashley, what the heck?
“But every time he does that we kind of smile and say…Ashley,” says Ron.
Knowing Ashley is probably looking down and laughing.
“She would be happy to know that we have him and he’s helping us through this time without her," says Jody.
We did some checking, and although big, Moose doesn’t set any records. He is bigger than average for his breed though. Most male New Foundlands are between 130 and 150 pounds. Moose weighs in at 153.