Friday, September 5, 2008

Otis...A Sad Goodbye

"Grief is so painfully real,
regardless of its origin.
The love of, and attachment to,
an animal friend
can equal that of human relationships.
Likewise, the loss of an animal
can be just as devastating."
- Rev. Joel L. Morgan

Yesterday was a very sad and painful day for me. I had to say goodbye to my little pug, Otis. Otis was the first housedog I ever had, and I had gotten him as a little 10-week old puppy just shy of 12 years ago. He was such a little character!!! His bark was kind of pathetic, because it always sounded like he had laryngitis. In fact, a few years back on Halloween, a little girl came to the door and rang the doorbell for trick-or-treating. And Otis always barked whenever anyone would ever ring the bell. When I opened the door, instead of saying "trick or treat," the girl said, "What's wrong with your dog?" It's true, I swear!

Throughout his entire life, poor Otis always had health problems. For quite a while, we were at the Vet's office on a very regular basis, and I always joked with 'Dr. Vic' that I helped finance a large portion of the new addition they had added to the clinic. Otis finally seemed to overcome many of his ailments, and seemed to be in pretty good shape for many years, with the exception of an enlarged heart, which he took medication for. The last several years of his life, however, his health began to deteriorate. Dark pigment spots formed on both of his eyes, so his vision was impaired; he became nearly deaf, and he had severe arthritis in his back and hind legs. He also had trouble with fluid accumulating in his lungs. Nevertheless, my little O.T. never seemed to complain, and would wag his little 'cinnabun' curly tail in slow-motion when he was happy. For the past couple of months, we noticed a lump inside of his mouth which was getting larger and larger. He lost his appetite and also a lot of weight. Wednesday evening, he began to cry out in a heart-wrenching way, which was so terribly painful to hear. Even our other two pugs raced into the kitchen to see what was wrong with him. I felt so helpless...I couldn't do anything to help him. So early yesterday morning, I called his vet and took him right in. Unfortunately, I knew deep-down in my heart that this was going to be his last visit there. I loved Otis so much. We went through so much together...he was my little pal that I could hold like a baby in the recliner every night when I watched TV. He was the little confidant that I could tell my troubles to. He loved me no matter what. I could never make the choice whether or not to 'put him down' even though he was in poor health for a while, because he was part of our family, and I would feel like I was betraying him. As soon as Dr. Vic saw Otis, he made the decision for me. The lump in his mouth was cancerous. He could see that immediately by its appearance, and also felt that it had more than likely spread to other parts of his body. His heart was failing and going into arrhythmia, his breathing was labored, and his lungs were filled with fluid. He said that I shouldn't feel guilty about doing this, because I had gone above and beyond what most people would've ever done to care for him all these years. Hearing that didn't make it any easier for me, though. At least I was able to be with him at the end, and he layed his little chin on my arm and looked into my eyes before he passed on. I can't stop my tears from falling even as I'm typing this, because it hurts so much to lose such a faithful little friend. I'm going to end this post with the following poem which really sums up what Otis probably would've said to me, if dogs could speak:


If it should be that I grow frail and weak,

And pain should keep me from my sleep,

Then will you do what must be done,

For this, the last battle, can't be won.

You will be sad I understand,

But don't let grief then stay your hand,

For on this day, more than the rest,

Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,

You wouldn't want me to suffer so.

When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend,

Only, stay with me until the end.

And hold me firm and speak to me,

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,

It is a kindness you do to me.

Although my tail its last has waved,

From pain and suffering I have been saved.

- Anonymous

"Otis may be gone from my life, but never from my heart."


kecia said...

ugh, that was so hard to read. i'm bawling my eyes out right now in sadness for the loss of your good friend. your right - it is the hardest part of having pets. it's heartbreaking. thinking of you and sweet Otis.

Denise said...

Jill, I know you don't know me but I'm a fellow dog-lover and my heart goes out to you in you time of loss.


abbymaya said...

I'm so sorry for you loss Jill.

Kelly said...

i read about otis at kecia's. so i came here to offer my sympathies. otis was so precious! i love his costume photo. he looks like he was just the happiest of dogs. we are all so lucky to get to spend years with our dogs. they really make life happy. i'm so sorry for your loss.

Kim Rae Nugent said...

How sad...I was crying in the living room after reading your post and Mark walked in. I think he thought I had PMS again already.

I am glad I got to meet little Otis. He had a wonderful life. I'm so sorry for your loss.

dogfaeriex5 said...

oh sweet girl~
i really know all too well how you are feeling...just know that you, hubby and your other 2 furbabies are all in my you~

Bernie Berlin said...

There are no words, just know you are loved by so many!!!
Life is so precious and fleeting..
Where does the time go???
Otis LOVED you and will always be by your side, just remember if you smell something wrinkle related and don't know where it is coming from, he is there in spirit:) You know what I'm talking about, just don't want to give the code word away..
I wrote a dedicated post to Otis and you on my blog...
Love you my sweet friend!!!

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Jill.. I am SO VERY SORRY for your loss. I am a puddle of tears reading your story about Otis. Our sweet little Zoe Pug passed away over a year ago. She died on my 40th Birthday.

I was devastated and still to this day I can not bring myself to take her collar and picture down off the bulletin board in our kitchen. She had diabetes really bad. My husband had been giving her insulin shots for months, twice a day. She never complained... She was always so happy.

The morning of my birthday, I woke up and she was lying in her pet bed in a huge pool of blood. I started screaming, and I knew she was going to leave us.

She was the BEST.. we could make kissing noises and she would turn her head and let us kiss her on the cheek.

Wishing you much peace and light... and good memories of a cherished companion.

Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Thoughts said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Otis seems like a real fighter and your story brought tears to my eyes. I hope you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you right now and I hope you can find some ounce of comfort somewhere for your grief.
There are some pet loss poems I recently posted that might help you feel a little better if you want to check them out.
In the mean time, Otis is waiting for you over the Rainbow Bridge right now. Just remember that!

Denita said...

My dear Jill,

I stumbled upon Bernie's blog today which in turn brought me to your's (which I absolutely LOVE by the way!) as I am sure you know, there are no accidents. After many years involved in rescue, managing a veterinary surgeons office and now owning and operating a thrift store to help rescue groups finacially, I'm here to tell you that there absolutely is NO love to match the love and companionship we receive from our beloved pets. I feel your pain and I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to you! Please know that when "Otis" needed you most, you were a true friend! Until you and "Otis" meet again . . . I hold you in white light.


Dawn said...

Hi Jill
I am visiting you from A place to Bark after reading Bernie's post and am sitting here sobbing! I can't begin to imagine how you feel.
Our furry friends mean the world to us and to loose one is heartbreaking but just know that you gave him the best possible life and love he could ever have had and he loved you back ten fold.
I love animals and have two cats whom I love dearly.
The poem Jill is amazing and so poignant.
Otis looked a little treasure and his memory will be treasured.
Thinking of you
(with red puffy eyes!)

Tracy said...

Hello, my family and I have just moved and I've not been on my own blog for sometime. I came over to yours through Kecias, hearing about your loss.

My heart goes out to you and your fur babies. Otis looked like such a character ! Pugs have such funny barks and I love it when they get all goofy, those little skinny legs, bulgey eyes, chubby body and that cute swirled tail lol !
I'm seeing Otis flying around with tiny wings, barking at all the other dog souls while wiggling his tail in delight :)

Bless you and your family, Otis was very lucky to have such a warm and loving family and home.

Josh Main said...

Hi Jill
you don't know me but I saw Bernie's post on her blog about your Otis and wanted to pop in and give you somje hugs.
Sadly I too had to say goodbye to my pug who's name was also Otis just this March :( He was 17 years old. I have never seen that post before but it perfectly describes what I went through and I am sure what you are going through.
I am crying just thinking about it. Hope you are holding up and I am sending some hugs darn those little squished faces sure work their way into your heart don't they.

Wabbit said...

I don't know you, Jill, but I'm a fellow dog-lover and I'm crying like crazy right now, thinking about you losing your little sweetie. This is the hardest part of having pets, it's true. They are so wonderful while they are with us, that we know we can't live properly without dogs in our lives. My heart goes out to you. Your Otis will always live on in your heart, just as my Jaspy does in mine. HUGS!

katy said...

i have a cat with an enlarged heart so i understand and i know it was the best for Otis to let him go even though it is heart wrenching sad. i am so sorry for your loss.