The Story of Otis

The Story of Otis.

Otis Potis
Odie Podie
Booger Face
Booger Toog
Booger McToogs
Fucking Dog (only when he was really bad :)

We had many nicknames for Otis, but Otis Potis was the one I always used and the one that would make his tail wag the most.

Otis died on the morning of April 15th, 2011 around 7:30 a.m. It was sudden, totally unexpected, and utterly heart wrenching. I’m hoping one day that my instant thoughts of him are not of the ones where he was gasping for his last breaths and there was nothing I could do but hold him and tell him that I loved him. I’m not certain he knew I was there, but I’m praying he did.

June 2001 – Back story
Greg and his brother Steven owned a house and the “girlfriends” (Norma and I ) lived with them.  One day Greg told me I could get a dog. We had been debating about getting one, and then finally one day over breakfast he gave me a paper and told me to find a dog. YES! I knew I wanted a boxer. So I found an ad in the paper and off we went. The four of us. Steven and Norma were not getting a dog, but they wanted to come a long anyway. Fast forward, I see my dog, my perfect little puppy, my Milo and I knew he was destined to be mine. Yes, you are reading this correctly, Otis Potis was not my dog…in the beginning. Unable to resist the boxer puppy cuteness, Steven and Norma also picked out a puppy of their own…Milo’s best buddy and brother, Otis. Off we went. Our happy little family grew by two furry balls of love. Yeah, I just re-read that, shhhh! I’m not changing it. That very statement, is so totally me…always saying something so completely inappropriate, but totally innocently.

No lie, within 24 hours Otis displayed symptoms of Parvo. We’re pretty sure other people visiting the dogs had spread the disease. I was sure they were going to have to put Otis down. I mean I’m not from the country or the farm, and I knew a few people who just put their dogs down when they got Parvo because it was just too expensive and they assumed it was an automatic death sentence. As I was freaking out, my future hubby literally laughed at me. He said, “We are not putting him down. We’ll get him better.” Off to the country vet we went…the same vet for the last 10 years…the same vet that compassionately told me to bring his body in when I was a blubbering mess on the other end of the line. The Country Vet confirmed it was Parvo and told us that he could charge us about $1000 to keep Otis there for about 10 days (with no on there overnight) or he could teach how to give an IV hunchback, and shots. So, there we were learning how to basically give a dog an IV on their back neck area (hunchback), and give shots. We nursed him back to health…all four of us.

I loved Otis as if he was my own dog, and was so sad when Steven and Norma moved out to get started on their own family. About 4 months went by as they lived in their apartment while their new house was getting built. Milo suffered, shit we all suffered through Milo’s separation anxiety. About the time we got used to life without Otis, we got a frantic call from Norma. Otis had jumped their brick wall and was missing. He went missing for 3 days. He did not like their new home. So, back home to us he came, and there he stayed until he was called Home for good.

Otis was a dense dog with his googly eyes and too-big tongue that often stuck out of his mouth, but he was a lover, and if you let him, he would literally lay on the couch and wrap his legs around you and “cuddle”. I miss him. I could always count on his big head looking out the window when I drove up from work. Everyday when I don’t see it, my heart twinges in pain as I realize once again he just won’t be there.

We think Otis had some variation of cardiomyopathy, which is very common in big dogs, but especially in Boxers.

He came in that morning huffing and puffing and at first I thought him and Milo were just outside playing. Literally the night before he was fine, they were playing, he was begging for food, he was fine. When he looked at me he was scared, I could see it in his eyes. He was pale. You’re probably wondering how you know your dog is pale. Trust me, you’ll know. His lips, tongue and gums were white as paper, I pressed hard on his gums…nothing. I knew he had barely any circulation. I’m assuming he was having a heart attack. He was stumbling and disoriented. I got him out to our laundry room where he collapsed. I kissed him and told him I would get him to the vet. I ran in frantically woke Greg up and he urgently told me to get dressed and get the kids dressed ASAP. We had been asleep so we were all disheveled. We got dressed as fast as possible, got the kids dressed, and went to get Otis. He had made it to his favorite sunning spot. I knew he wasn’t going to leave that spot. I could see his breathing had all but ceased. I lost it. My Penelope saw it all, but there was nothing I could do. I wanted to push her away, but she would not have it…she wanted to be with Otis. She knew too. Greg yelled at me to stop wasting time and get him to the vet. I yelled at him to let him die in peace. We didn’t know what to do. Greg just didn’t want to give up. Greg ran into the house to search the Internet on how to give dog CPR.  It wasn’t pretty watching your four-legged pal gasp for his last breath and watch as his body convulsed as his system failed and death set it in.

I don’t know how to successfully say what I feel. I would never put the dogs before my children, but I had those dogs before children were even an option in our world. It was like a little piece of Greg and I were dying…not in a bad way…in the way life happens. It’s inevitable…people and animals you love will die. I just was hoping it would be like normal: you know it’s time, you take them to the vet, you give them pink juice and they die peacefully, content, pain free in your arms. It was chaotic for us. And in some bizarre way, that I haven’t even fully processed, or can eloquently put into words, I’m glad I saw that. I’m glad I went through that. I still don’t know why. 

As I write this, we just barely got his ashes back this weekend. Greg asked why I wanted them. I guess because I can’t bare the thought of him being discarded. I can’t bare the thought of burying him in a place that may become insignificant to us in the future. Soon I’ll find a fitting resting place for him, and at that time I will let him go and be free.

Until we meet again Otis Potis, your paw print will be forever etched into my heart. I hope you heard me that morning, but if not, I love you, and I’m so glad you were my dog…in the end.

♥ ♥ ♥


Melissa said...

I know you guys loved him and he loved you. I remember how protective they both were that weekend I stayed with you at the house on Elwood when Greg was out of town. Any thing, tink or thud they heard, they went nuts. It makes me sad to think that's how he went but thats so amazing that Greg was trying to find out how to give dogs CPR. Just shows how compassionate you all are about your doggies. ;)

Wendy said...

Oh my. I just teared up while reading this. It broke my heart. When you get a dog you don't realize how attached you are going to get to them. I'm so sorry for your loss.