Friday, August 28, 2015

In Memory of Otis the Wonder Dog

It was two days ago when I took Otis to our favorite fishing spot. We never catch much to speak of at this place, but there is a big rock where we can both sit and watch the carp swim by. This time we were not fishing... just watching... and Otis' tail was wagging with joy, as it always is when we come here. Otis leaned hard against my leg as if to comfort me and I scratched his ears.
A drizzling rain started shortly after we arrived and neither of us cared. The rain actually helped to hide the tears that were now flowing freely. It would not be the last time the tears would come. We both knew the day was fast approaching when he would have to leave and we were spending every moment possible doing things he loved.

So today I lost my best friend and my heart is heavy. For the past 12 years Otis the Wonder Dog has been my constant companion. He was given the title of "studio assistant" when he was old enough to pick out a toy and drop it on my foot. This of course was the signal I needed to take a break and do something fun... which we almost always did.

His illness was short and he did not suffer. For that I am grateful. Somewhere during that time I came to realize just how quiet and lonely this house would be without him. He has slept beside me on the bed since he was a puppy and I will miss his reassurance of his muffled snoring and the occasional twitch of puppy dreams in the dark. If I would get up during the night, he would always steal my spot and pretend to be asleep when I came back. Of course he loved to ride in the truck and the regular trips to the post office will never be the same. In his later years he came to love going out on the lake in the kayak even more. It was impossible to be anything but happy when we did things like that.
A sweet boy to the very end, he was always quick with doggy kisses (whether you wanted them or not)... especially if I was having a bad day. If I was sick, he would refuse to leave my side. Once when I managed to injure myself, he slept for three nights with his head on my neck and chest. It was the only time he ever did this.

This sweet nature seemed, at times, to be the glue that held our family together. I jokingly said to a friend once that because of this, I should have named him Elmer.
"Otis" however, was the name that fit. The first days of our partnership, when he was only 6 weeks old, his tiny legs had some trouble negotiating the terrain of my yard. He staggered from side to side and often took a short tumble before resuming his playful romp. So Otis it was, his namesake being the happy harmless town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show (many of you are probably not old enough to remember that!).

Our sweet boy lead a happy and playful life. Now that he is gone, there seems to be a void in the world that can never be filled. We were lucky to have him with us as long as we did.
Miss you bud.