Entering into their 55th year of marriage, Harry and Marylou Owens are the perfect choice to spotlight during this month we celebrate love! They share their family with two playful terriers, Bozo and Rambler.
Harry has been a dog owner most of his life, but it all started with a gift from his brother — a little black and white mixed Terrier puppy, Bozo. Bozo was known all over his Alabama hometown as a legendary squirrel dog. Harry proudly gave the okay for Bozo to accompany the local hunters on their hunt as they dropped by his school in search of Bozo and his squirrel skills. Bozo was known all over town and regularly visited the local ice cream store on his own for a treat. Despite many adventures, Bozo always came home to his family; he once escaped from the Veterinarian office a couple of towns over, to be found a few days later lounging on the running board of the family car parked in town. When the Owens family lost Bozo to old age, they knew they had lost the “truest friend of the Owens family”. Harry’s father, Charles inscribed the phrase on the tombstone he made for Bozo.
More than a few lucky dogs have found a home with Harry, Marylou and their children since they moved to Oxford when Harry accepted a position in the History department at Ole Miss. Today, Harry and Marylou live on the same street they first settled on, in 1964, and have shared their home with many dogs – Cockers, Collies, and Goldens. But Harry never forgot his first furry love, Bozo. When retirement found them without a dog, they began the search for a new Bozo at the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society. Like the original Bozo, the potential Bozo had to be the terrier mix commonly known as ‘Feist’; must be black and white spotted. And he would have that special little something that only Harry would recognize. Finally, the shelter called — a young dog physically matching Harry’s description of his childhood buddy Bozo had been dropped off at the facility. The pair bonded instantly, despite, or perhaps because of, Bozo immediately ‘marking’ Harry as something belonging to him. So that’s when Harry met Bozo – again. They have been inseparable ever since. Except when daughter Rebecca is home — when she comes into the room, he only has eyes for her. You can see why Marylou eventually decided she had to have a lap dog of her own. Harry and Marylou made another trip to the humane society for Rambler. Rambler is a bit on the lazy side, rather stubborn and not quite as clever as canine brother Bozo, but has an irresistible charm of his own with a lopsided look that melts your heart with one ear up, one ear down.
The two spend more time as companions for their people than each other but they will occasionally play with some favorite toys. Bozo loves tug-o-war with a rope; Rambler goes straight for the noisemaker in his toys.
The devotion this family has for their furry family members extends to the family pet cemetery Harry tends in the backyard. Like his dad before him, Harry crafted a marker to designate the area as the resting place of the truest friends of the Owens family. Bozo and Rambler will someday be in some mighty good company, but not anytime soon. They will continue to warm the laps of their truest human friends.