Our buddy our only child Otto
by Su Sazama
Otto always finding a pillow to sleep on
This is my sweet and only child, Otto. We called him Pooh sometimes for his Winnie the Pooh like attitude. Or Automatic, because he was smart and so well trained that he did things automatically. I talked out loud so much that he learned what I was saying, and would react appropriately even though I wasn't talking to him.
Otto spent his whole life by my side. We hiked an hour every morning and then to work where he greeted my customers at my retail store. He loved to walk so much that he knew his walking schedule to the minute, at 6, 11, 3 and 7. If it was time, he would come and tell me with a particular bark.
Otto never complained. He loved whatever I fed him. He loved to swim and if you asked him if he wanted to take a bath, he would run to the bathtub. In his younger years, he would jump right in. He loved the vet, people and all dogs. He never started or entered a fight. He’d snuggle on his own terms and could be stubborn at times when he thought “come” wasn't a necessary command at the moment; but that was probably because he never wandered off or jumped off the curb.
The farthest he went without me is three doors down to the neighbor’s house where they kept their dog toys in a box on the front porch. One day I noticed the front gate open and went down to the sidewalk to see where Otto was. Running towards me was his beautiful black mustache holding a giant red Elmo. He kept looking behind to make sure someone wasn't coming after him. He past me and ran up to the house and into the bed with his stolen toy.
Otto preferred to go somewhere in the car and wait in the car than to stay at home. As long as he could go with me, he was happy. That it is why it is so hard to believe that he is gone. His image is so clear to me where ever I look.
It was lymphoma that took him at 12-3/4 years of age on October 3, 2013. He had been losing weight the past year, but we didn't know he had cancer until a week and half before he died. We made it the best week of his life, spending it outdoors, seeing all his friends and eating steak, peanut butter, cheese and eggs. He must have thought he was already in heaven.
I loved Otto with everything I had, because he kept giving it back. He was the third person in our household who will forever be missed. It has taken me a while to get there, but I can see now that I was the luckiest person alive to have had such profound love for 12-3/4 years of my life. We miss you buddy.