This is my dog Otis. He crys a lot when he doesn't get attention, loves getting his belly rubbed (who doesn't?), enjoys Yoga-like stretches, long walks around the neighborhood, Carneasadas, and absolutely despises taking pictures (which makes this picture that much sweeter). He's been hit by a bus and lived to tell the tale (so to speak). He's known in the neighborhood as "Rooster" because he wakes up at the crack of dawn and makes sure every one knows about it. He once bit the mail man and has never missed an opportunity to bark at any passerby around my house. Our house has been robbed a grand total of 0 times while Otis has been patrolling the back yard and patio area. Perhaps because no one has tried, or even more likely still, that Otis scared off any would-be burglar by barking so much that the thief-to-be felt rushed and left our house, valuables untouched. My father took Otis for walks on evenings on Wednesday through Sunday when his schedule allowed and Otis ran, barked, sniffed, and played with the other dogs in the nieghborhood, while my father walked behind him. When I'd see them walking together, I'd ask myself, "Who's walking who?" It really was hard to tell who was happier.
So when Otis died last Saturday, it was a punch to the nose for the whole family.
I can tell you the whole story, and go deep into his life, but I don't want to write another obituary. I'd rather write him a letter.
Thank you. You were always happy to see me. Some people didn't like how you always barked (and I understand why) but I always thought you just wanted to kick it. Right? If you saw someone hanging out inside the house, you'd say whaddup. You'd try to get our attention. You just wanted to hang out. I loved your enthusiasm.
I might have told you once. Surely, it was before I went to Oregon. I read Garth Stein's "The Art of Racing in the Rain". It had to have been 2007, because I had just quit my job at Starbucks not so long before then and I had not been accepted to Oregon yet. Do you remember? After I read the "Art of Racing in the Rain" I looked at you differently. I apologize if I didn't treat you with the respect you deserved before hand, but that book was special.
When I was finished reading, I sat with you and Pestosa (rest her soul) and asked you guys if you understood me the way Enzo understood Denny. I knew it all along. You guys were up to something.
Even if your tongue was loose and lacking in suffucient control to make speech, you had a language in your soul.
Even if you didn't have thumbs to help you open doors and use silverware you had a heart that gave love.
Even if I never left the TV on for you to watch shows about reincarnation, I still believe that one day you'll be a kind and loyal man.
Mom and Pops would always worry when you got out of the yard. I think it was because of the one time you got hit by the bus. I thought more of you though buddy. No way you're dumb enough to get hit by the bus twice. I knew I had to go get you every time you got out of the house. I just never felt the urgency. I knew you'd always come back home eventually.
I know, you will always come back home. Eventually.
Thank you for being so happy, for helping my little brother not be afraid of dogs as a child, for listening to me, keeping me humble, keeping my father company, and being a great friend and compnion.