Otis is the only dog I have ever rescued on my own. One afternoon I was walking up the road from the bus stop to the Shelter, and was in sight of the main gate when I noticed this small black puppy trotting up the road in front of me. He was alone, no owner in sight. Where was he going? Where had he come from? Where was his human? I had no answer to those questions, and figured the best thing was to take him with me. And that’s how this 2-month-old, blue-eyed boy came to AWARE. Back at the house, Xenii decided he was too cute, and had to stay with us. So Otis became the twelfth House Dog.
Waiting for the Referee to remove his hand But Sooner is the Ref
Now it’s fifteen years later, and Otis is about to leave us. He’s had a pretty good life: lounging around in front of the fire and playing in the yard. He was always a bit of a loner, though, especially after we split up his little group of playmates. Soon after we took in Otis, Garrett and Sooner arrived. Two more male pups about the same age as Otis. At first they had a great time playing and rolling around together. But as they got older and bigger their play got rougher and rougher. In the end we had to make the decision to separate them before one – or all – of them got seriously hurt. I suppose we figured Sooner was the most adoptable, so he was consigned to one of the pens, down with the rest of the shelter dogs. Garrett got to move into the back yard at the house (separated from the front yard, with its own small population of dogs who don’t come into the house), and Otis stayed on in the house.
Sooner never did get adopted, and died of some kind of neurological disorder here at the Shelter a couple of years ago. Garrett grew into a gentle, shaggy giant, and passed away in his sleep earlier this year. Now it’s Otis’ turn, and we’re having to make that very hard decision. He can’t stand unassisted, so can’t take himself outside to the toilet. He sleeps a lot. But he still eats with gusto, and when he’s not sleeping he’s fully alert and watching what’s going on. Still got plenty of spunk, too – we have to put a muzzle on him before we can pick him up to clean him or turn him over. It’s a tough one, even after all these years of familiarity with death. You know that death is an inevitable part of life, and believe that it brings an end to all suffering. But it’s a big decision to make on someone else’s behalf. Maybe he’ll recover? Maybe he doesn’t want an end to his suffering? And it’s so hard to say goodbye.