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Once a contender for world's tallest dog, North Dakota's 'Boomer' dies at age 6

In this Oct. 6, 2009, photo, Boomer, a 180-pound Landseer Newfoundland dog, drinks water from the kitchen sink at Caryn Weber's home south of Casselton, N.D. The dog measures seven feet from nose to tail. stands 36 inches tall at the shoulders, measures 7 feet from nose to tail, and weighs 180 pounds. Boomer died in September 2012 at age 6. (Dave Wallis / The Forum)

DURBIN, N.D. - Nearly three years after his bid for the record of world's tallest dog gained him international fame, Boomer has bowed out for good.

The 6-year-old Landseer Newfoundland from North Dakota who could drink from the kitchen faucet with all four paws on the floor died on Sept. 6, one day after being diagnosed with bone cancer.

And, much like his paws, he left a big impression.

"He was such a great dog," said his owner, Caryn Weber of rural Durbin, N.D.

In October 2009, Weber introduced Boomer to the masses in a Forum article about her effort to have the 180-pound, 7-foot-long pet recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's tallest dog.

The reaction from media outlets and dog lovers was overwhelming, Weber said.

"We had people writing to us and calling us from all over the globe," she said.

The fact that Boomer wasn't a Great Dane like the previous record holder, but rather a "black-and-white fluff ball" Newfoundland, seemed to heighten the interest, she said.

"He just was so unusual," she said. "But he was so lovable, I guess, is why everybody was drawn to him, and he was drawn to people, too."

Boomer missed his shot at the Guinness World Record when the organization changed the rules mid-process by instituting a 40-inch minimum height requirement. Boomer stood 36 inches tall at the top of the shoulders.

But Weber said he was recognized by the lesser-known World Record Academy as tallest dog for a couple of months until Guinness certified a new record holder. On Thursday, Guinness announced that the new record-holder is a Great Dane from Michigan.

"To us, it was just a lot of fun," Weber said.

Then, on Sept. 1, Boomer began limping. Three days later, he could barely stand. On Sept. 5, an X-ray showed a large tumor in one of his hind legs. By the following morning, he had developed a high fever.

Weber and her two teenage sons made the difficult decision to euthanize their dog. They had Boomer's remains cremated, something Weber hadn't done with her past pets.

"He was just so special," she said. "He was always in the house with us. He was always beside us, sitting with us on the couch or beside us on the floor, always within arm's length. He never left us."

"All dogs are so special to people," she added. "And when you have one that touched the hearts of so many ... it's going to be a loss. He was somethin' else."