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15 December 2017
Otis was 120 pounds of pure joy and happiness. To know Otis was to love Otis. He turned skeptics into dog lovers and I’m so thankful he shared his short life with me.
I posted some pictures on Facebook/ Instagram with this caption: “The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.” I will love and miss Otis every single day. 50% Anatolian Shepherd, 50% Labrador Retriever, and 100% sweet. He could outrun most everything, even on 3 legs, but he couldn’t outrun bone cancer. Champion tripawd for four months, best friend for seven years, and forever in my heart. Otis, you are larger than life. A link to some of the photos I shared in this post are here: Otis’ Tripawd Journey
As many of you saw from his running/ sprinting video on our Flickr page, he ROCKED tripawd life. It was such a gift to be given those four extra months with him, and in fairness to him, when he started going downhill, I could not prolong his life. He started not wanting to go on walks a couple of weeks ago, but still seemed happy, playing tug of war with us, eating like a champ, rolling in the grass, and running around the yard like crazy. He greeted all of his friends with great exuberance and was still himself. Mid week last week he started breathing oddly and he would cough and gag like he was throwing up, but nothing would come up. This was very concerning. Friday afternoon he still greeted me at the door with his bone, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights he couldn’t sleep at all, he couldn’t lie down on either side of his body. He was in great distress. Saturday night, he left our deck to go sit on the driveway, in the rain, while we were eating dinner. The regular Otis would be under that table and close by for any and all food drops. Otis also hated the rain. I think that was the moment I knew that I had to make a very hard decision, very soon. I would find him in the middle of the night standing in the corner of my bedroom, or trying to lie down in parts of the house he never used to sleep in. Sunday during the day one of his best friends came to see him, and he ran to greet her, but otherwise spent most of the day in the yard. It wasn’t restful, he would lie down, get him, stand and look confused, and try again in a different spot. This went on all day, and all night. For about an hour on Sunday he finally got a little comfortable inside on my bed and I went and took a nap next to him. I think he was exhausted, and he actually slept enough to have a dream, and his paws were running. That was our last nap together, and I’m so glad I had the presence of mind to lie next to him. I cried into his soft fur, but let him sleep as long as he could stay comfortable. Sunday night was the worst, gagging, pacing, no sleep. Monday morning, he refused to eat. He never even skipped a meal during his recovery from amputation. I called our vet in tears, and we set up an appointment to come in at 11am.
My parents, who Otis loves, came with me and my fiance. The four of us sat outside under a tree, surrounding Otis while we waited for our appointment. The weather was sunny and breezy, and Otis, despite his panting, seemed ok. We went to an exam room when it was time– Otis has always loved going to the vet, so he happily hopped inside. He showed off a little for his vet, who he really did like, and ate some chicken, but was otherwise just lying very still on his stomach. We talked about some options, but mostly we talked about how Otis was miserable and my goal from day 1 of diagnosis was to be fair to Otis and to give him the pain free life he deserved. I shared that we had tried to get him comfortable at night with some painkillers, but to no avail. In keeping with that goal, I knew I couldn’t take a dog home who could not sleep or eat. Our vet listened to his heart, listened to me, and talked with us about the likelihood of what a chest xray could reveal.
It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have been a wreck since Friday, but especially since Monday afternoon. I believe, in my heart of hearts, I did the right thing, but the pain of missing Otis makes me question my decision daily, did I give up on him too soon? Was he suffering longer than I knew and hiding it from me? Has Otis forgiven me for the pain he suffered before his diagnosis? All of these crazy questions keep popping into my head. And then, I see him, standing alone, far away in the yard, not knowing what to do, and I am reminded that I had to help him find peace. He was such a special dog and our bond made my entire life feel right. A friend of mine shared with me, after learning of his passing, that she “never understood how strong a bond between a human and a dog could be until she stayed at my house and met Otis.” It was one of the sweetest and saddest things someone said to me on Monday. I will treasure Otis for all the days of my life.
I know this is a long post, but I needed to write it, and, although I’m crying, I want to say to all of you here on Tripawds, you were a great support and comfort to me during Otis’ life. I couldn’t imagine going through this diagnosis, amputation, and recovery without these compassionate, and knowledgeable people by my side. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We have started donating Otis’ remaining items– food, treats, heartworm meds, and it feels good to know that Otis continues to spread love, even as he is no longer with us on earth. My fiance took up the traction yoga mats/rubber tiles we had and the dog beds while I cried on Monday. We cleaned all of those things and put them in our basement next to some shelves with dog supplies. We expect we will have another dog at some point, but the pain of losing Otis is too much for me to even think about when that time will be. We would like to give our Vet a thank you gift, which sounds odd, but he did not charge us for our last appointment and he was so compassionate and treated Otis with such gentleness and it brought us some small comfort to have him help us relieve Otis of his suffering. If you have any ideas about how to honor Otis and thank our Vet, please let me know. I’m working from home this week to let myself be as sad as I need to be, but I expect I will be sad for a very long time.
Love to all of you.
25 April 2007
Camille, thank you so much for taking time to write and share Otis’ story here. Looking at the beautiful photos and watching the videos of him, it’s clear that he was so loved, such a very happy dog — even with a cone of shame ! Talk about a once in a lifetime dog. He was your soulmate and always will be, that kind of love never, ever disappears.
It’s normal to second guess yourself. I did it for a very, very long time even though my rational self knew that to allow Jerry to continue on (identical to how Otis was behaving), was not being fair to him. Making that call to the vet was the hardest thing we had to do, but ultimately it was the right one. Jerry thanked us for setting him free of the pain of cancer, by making some unforgettable “guest appearances” in our travels. I have no doubt that at some point Otis will do the same for you.
We send all our love and hugs, now and always. Every Tripawd journey is so special and adds to the collective fabric of this community. Otis’ story will always be here to inspire and give hope to others. We cannot thank you enough for sharing your journey with us.
1 October 2017
My heart just aches for you and Otis. He is a great pup and you are an amazing pawrent. I feel privileged to have been able to share just a small part of your journey together. You could feel the love you shared right through the airwaves of technology. I cried when you posted that he had crossed, and my eyes are filling up now just trying to respond to your beautiful post. I have no doubt that when it was time for him to cross over, it was exactly the time it should have been. Thank you for coming back and sharing your photos and videos, he was just breathtaking. I can see how he could make a dog lover out of anybody.
I know there is nothing I can say right now to take the pain away, I just wanted to tell you that I have thought of you often and I share your sorrow. I know he is not hurting anymore and he will be watching over you. He had many wonderful furbabies waiting to greet him with open arms. May you have peace in this time of such overwhelming sadness and grief.
Lots of love,
Jackie and Huckleberry
Jackie, David, Mitchell, Andy Oscar, and the coolest feral tripawd kitty Huckleberry
22 February 2013
I come back here soooo many times to try and find words….any words…just anything, but to no avail. I kmow far too well that’s futile . And the tears are still here, as I kmow yours are.
I want ro give you a link to a BEAUTIFUL poem our Michelle shared. I do believe it will give you comfort. Even sounds like Otis had a paw in writing some of this just for you❤
It has been such an honotr to follow Otis’s journey from the beginning . We were all amazed at how well he handled his recoveru! That boy was not going to waste one second laying around. He knew he could make every day the best day ever with you by his side. He counted moments as he flowed effortlessly from one glorious moment to the next. He never counted days on a calender .
You did a lobely job of capturing so many little snippets of what made Otis be Otis. It made me smile. Please share more when you can.
And yes, you did EVERYTHING ppssible for your boy and you released him at EXACTLY the right time. He did a great job of letting you know he was ready to shed his earthly clothes. He knew you would understand . For whatever it’s worth, when my Hapooy Hannah sropped being avle tomsleep at ni3, that was one of her signs for me.
You know that special nap you shared where he was running in his dreams.. I think his Spirit was already getting a head start running free to the Bridge. What a sweet memory he gave you.
I can just visualize him playing tug of war with the Angels now! Feathers are flying as he gives one victorious tug after another
Please know how much we were all touched by Otis and his never failing zest for life! He will ALWAYS be remembered here . Otis will be our “go to” dog when people are worried about recovery and worried avout quality veing restored.
Has he shown you a sign of his presence yet. I’m pretty sure he has , vut if not, pay attention. He will.
Surrounding you with the Joy of Otis❤
Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too
Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!
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