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Day 120

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

Otis, I am happy you are able to protect and love a new child. Your heart is big enough to love so many. I know that you will continue to make me proud. To the family that now has Otis, you already know what I am going to say. You are so incredibly lucky to have him. Give him lots of love from me to him. He’s earned it.

When the time was right, I planned to get Constance to take responsibility for feeding and watering Otis. Constance never got to become old enough. When preparing his breakfast, I noticed he hadn’t finished his dinner. When he seemed disinterested in breakfast, I decided to give him the day off and take him to the vet. The x-ray showed Otis ate two landscaping rocks. They gave me two options: lay out several grand for emergency surgery or say goodbye.

I immediately drove him to the surgery center for surgery. What is the point of a credit card if it is not to save the life of your daughter’s service dog?

The first day after the surgery, I went to visit him. He had the same attitude I did after my cesarean: eager for more pain medication and less chitchat.

The next day he was released and I had to physically lift him into the car because he physically couldn’t climb in. The poor boy suffered. They gave me pain medication that warned of its strength with a picture of a sleeping horse on the cap. It worked but it was hard to trick Otis into taking the pain medication and the antibiotic. Dogs can smell a rat in more ways than one.

When I called and told Constance’s father about the surgery, he was glad I’d noticed the issue. He jokingly suggested that I might have saved money if I’d just loaded Otis with laxatives for a couple of days. This seems like the bright idea made by a person out of town that would not be the one searching through dog diarrhea for rocks but alternatively will be asked to pay for half of a vet bill.

After the surgery, they gave me the rocks from Otis’ tummy. They weren’t anything I recognized from our yard or anywhere else. The veterinary surgeon suggested that I put Otis on a short tie down when he’s outside—that way, he’s easy to supervise. I said I wouldn’t do that for the same reason I wouldn’t put Constance on one. The vet signed loudly. I am sure he was imaging the boat he was going to buy with all the money I'd be giving him in the coming years for dog stomach surgery.

The only time I’m the bad cop is when it comes to Constance’s safety. This was a serious health issue for Otis and Constance. Otis kept Constance safe. It took two years to get him. He was the best dog ever. He was irreplaceable. I wasn’t going to let someone else’s irresponsibility result in him having needless, painful surgeries.

I took a very hard line. I put a sign on the door to the backyard and then verbally reiterated the rules to everyone. It was simple. Everyone had to go outside with Otis to supervise him every time they let him out, regardless of the weather. Anyone caught letting Otis out without going outside with him would not ever be let back in my house. If you can’t be responsible for Otis than you can’t be here. Furthermore, I warned that if Otis ate any more rocks then, after the next surgery, I’m going to:

1. Tell Laurel that we can’t be responsible for Otis and have her place him with a family that will treat him better; and

2. The offending human will have to also no longer be allowed in our house. Perhaps another family with less complicated rules would take them in.

The humans complied. You can teach old humans new tricks.

For Otis, I made some changes to his diet and toys just in case he was trying to get more chewing out of the rocks or trying to get a missing mineral/vitamin out of them. I added daily softer chews and weekly hard chews to his diet. His diet became a bit loony. I kept him on the vegan dog food but began sprinkling quesadilla cheese on top (his preference) and added the beef jerky (for humans) daily and a large beef bone (for dogs) every week.

I also added several new chew toys, which had to be replaced regularly. One chew toy’s packaging bragged that it was puncture proof “even for big dogs.” Otis murdered that squeaky toy before we even got home. I wonder what those squeaks sound like to dogs to make them immediately tear their throats out. It’s probably trash talk about their mamas…you know, typical bastard dog stuff.


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Unknown member
Jul 13, 2018

Michele, Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it. Otis is an incredible dog. He's impossible not to love.


Unknown member
Jul 13, 2018

Day 121 is at


Unknown member
Jul 13, 2018

You've had more loss this year than a human should have to endure for a lifetime. That was so selfless and generous of you to give Otis up. I know his new Mom loves him already.

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