Dear Otis

Hey Stinker.

So, you’ve gone and found yourself yet another home. Third time is a charm, right? I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that this one will stick and that your new dad will appreciate you like I do (which he seems to!).  After spending four wonderful months with you, I still cannot believe it took you so long to find your forever home. Luckily, though, it seems I am learning time and time again that good things come to those who wait. You’ve finally got yourself a really good thing, Oats.

Your story is different than the others I’ve helped because this time it was all up to me. While I have many online supporters, parents who love you just like I do, and friends who cheered for me and you the whole way – I started this journey to find you happiness in July 2011 and, a year later, it was my job to finish it.

You made it very clear you knew that fact from the beginning by attaching to me like you were some orphaned child who finally found their mother (oh wait, I guess you were…). Your hopeless devotion to me was a bit overwhelming at times but overall quite endearing, and it made you stand out to me from my other fosters. Sure, you were extra needy when we were together, but you made up for it ten times over by having zero separation anxiety and behaving beautifully whenever I was away.  You were, in my eyes, the perfect dog.

It quickly became clear to me that others would not be as fortunate to know your true self. You loved me so, so much that you barely had the time of day for anyone else. You warmed up to my mom and dad, but even FosterDad didn’t get much more than a quick acknowledgement when he came around. This made it hard to show everyone else just how perfect you were. But it was okay, because I knew that anyone who was good enough to have you would recognize your shyness around others as just fierce loyalty to your person – a characteristic to be envied.

I wrote a post a few days ago about my realization of just how different you are from the day I brought you home. It was bittersweet because when I was writing that post I already knew you had found a new family, and I knew you would temporarily be set back in your progress.  But you simply couldn’t stay with me forever, even though you (and maybe me, too) wanted it.  Your new owner is the best of the best for you, and I know he will help you through this transition with understanding and gentle guidance.  I wish I could be there with the two of you to help as well, but it’s time for you and your new dad to figure things out on your own because you’re his now, not mine.

When I started this note I really didn’t intend for it to be sad or emotional because you, Otis, are far from that. You are goofy, happy, silly, expressive, sweet, and cuddly – and this journey with you has been all of those positive emotions rolled into one. You were one misunderstood pooch, and I’m happy I got the chance to turn things around for you.

Good luck in your new life, Otie! May you finally find joy and happiness in all you do.

18 thoughts on “Dear Otis

  1. I have all of my fingers and toes crossed for Otis! You gave him all the tools he needed to be successful in his new home – you should be so proud of yourself!

  2. Karen Wagner

    I thought I cried enough yesterday…now I am crying even more today:( I found myself tearing up everytime I thought of Otis yesterday….I just want him to be happy and be able to be his silly self too:) I am so thankful Otis had you to turn his life around and so grateful he found his new dad. Otis and his new dad are going to be great together…how could they not be with Otis there? I just loved reading all Otis’ post’s…he ALWAYS made me laugh and smile. I am quite sure he will do the same for his dad..he is Otis!! Thank you for writing this heartfelt letter…it is beautiful. xoxo

  3. Such a sweet post, you did a wonderful job with him. I’m sure there will be an adjustment period but you should be proud because you taught him everything he needs to know.

  4. Hubby and I have been tossing around the idea of fostering, but after crying my eyes out over you having to watch Otis leave with someone else, I have decided that maybe this isn’t the route for me. I cried again today over your heartfelt letter to Otis and I don’t even know either one of you. I can only imagine what a basket case I would be if I were fostering and building relationships with these dogs on a personal level. I give you a good ole chest bump for being able to do what you do! And a high five for the care you have given to your fosters. You are a hero in my book!!

  5. Trish

    What a beautiful post – I honestly don’t know how you do it. You and Alexs inspired me to try fostering (10 years ago I tried and failed – but it’s the best kind of failure). I have a special place in my heart for senior dogs, and when I saw the photo of certain older boy in need, I knew we had to give it a try. After a few weeks, we knew we loved him, and we also knew he’d be a tough case to adopt. He was fear biting periodically, and we discovered he was having seizures. The first time we left him for a weekend away, his attachment to us was evident as he practically did backflips when we came through the door. And as it turned out, we were pretty attached to him, too. It was a tough decision to keep him since we already have 3 dogs, but when we thought about him having to readjust to a new home and the potential reasons he could be returned, we decided to fail (I’m a two-time loser/winner). I wish I could have the strength to do what you do! I have a great feeling about Otis’ future, and without you and your steadfast devotion to your mission, he never would have had this chance. I’m looking forward to following your next foster (but already miss Otis) – and will read with awe. :)

  6. Lynnie

    WOW!!! That 3rd picture down is PRICELESS and nearly incredible, but I don’t put anything past the ability of a dog. Your expressions are MATCHED! This awesome picture is now my desktop background and I smile and marvel when I turn my comp. on now. You 2 are both amazing!

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