On October 4, 2017, we said our final goodbyes to our sweet and incredible boy, Otto.
Otto, words are hard to come by when trying to describe or explain how important you are to me. When we first met, I was 20 years old and you were (we think) somewhere from 6-9 months. Looking back on those 12+ years, it’s incredible how much life we have lived together. Our college years in Fort Collins were marked by so many long walks all through Old Town and campus together. I was so proud to have such an awesome best friend. You got me back into running, something that I did in high school but lost touch with, because I wanted to make sure you were happy and getting your exercise, too. I tried to bring you with me everywhere I went and I think we helped each other gain confidence (you were abandoned as a pup and had to learn to trust humans again). Shortly after graduation, I accepted an internship in Washington D.C. – which is not the cheapest nor the dog friendliest of cities. I didn’t care. I knew you were coming with me. We made it work. I declined happy hours and dinners because I had to (gladly) get home to you. We went on walks around the United States Capitol together and you would chase the National Mall squirrels. Every weekend, we’d trot on over to Eastern Market, I’d get a crepe (and share with you, obviously) and you’d be fooled EVERY SINGLE TIME by this old English bulldog statue. Before too long, you and I finally ended up back in Colorado together. We met this guy, Ryan, and we decided we wanted to spend a lot of time with him. Slowly but surely these rules of “no dogs on the couch” or “no dogs on the bed” ceased to exist because together, we brought an element of “cute” that no man could resist (ok, it was mostly your cute). The three of us did countless hikes, long walks, naps in the park, camping trips, lunches and happy hours together. I continued to fight to bring you everywhere we went. Going to dinner? Great; let’s make sure there is a patio so Boo can come. Going to a friend’s party – let’s just bring Otto; they won’t mind. I can’t tell you how many times Ryan and I talked our Uber or cab drivers into letting us bring you with. I think they always expected us to come back and get in with a tiny lap dog – but we just smiled as we sat you, our 50lb boxer “lap dog”, on top of us and proceeded to our destination.
Eventually you started to need more naps, more rest between adventures, and more massages on your back legs. We started to leave you at home on occasion because we didn’t want to wear you out too much, but please know that we loved you all the same. I love that you started to gray young, just like me, but eventually you were almost entirely white. You wore it well; you looked so regal. Even though you had slowed down some, you still made sure to greet us with all you had when we got home from work. We’d still go to the “P” (park) as often as we could and let you run and run even though we knew it meant you’d be sleepy and sore the rest of the night through the following morning. We knew you loved it so we loved it and watching you there brought us so much happiness. When we found out about your brain tumor, we were so sad but we stayed positive. We listened to the vets and asked so many questions. We slept downstairs with you for weeks (the stairs were just too hard for you these last few months) so you could go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if needed and so if you did have a seizure – you wouldn’t be alone. We eventually moved back upstairs and you claimed the couch as your new bed. We loved hearing your little tippy-toes at the bottom of the stairs in the morning letting us know you were up and ready to go well before our alarms were set to go off. We gladly adjusted our schedules, travel plans, etc. to make sure we were with you as much as we could be. We kept saying, “How lucky are we to have this sweet boy in our lives for this long?!?!” We would have done anything possible to keep you healthy and happy forever, Boo.
When we couldn’t get your seizures to stop this last time, we knew we couldn’t let you be in pain or stay sedated any longer. We tried so hard but it was time to say our goodbyes. We are so thankful we were able spend your last few hours at our home together. We wanted you to enjoy your spot in the yard where you terrorized squirrels and delivery people alike, and said hello to all your friends who walked by. You were kind of a big deal, Otto. When we were on walks together people would yell your name from cars or stop to say “HI” to you – we didn’t know them, but they knew you. We wanted to make sure you and Kitty could see each other again. I know you two had your brotherly squabbles, but despite Kitty’s “cattitude”, we all know that he head-butted you and laid close, but not TOO close, to you because he loves you. We wanted you to smell the familiar and comforting smells of your home. We wanted you to lay on your cozy bed in your corner of the living room and feel peace. And of course, we wanted one last couch snuggle. I loved the nights when you’d lay on top of me for as long as you could bear before you got too hot, and I could pet your soft fur and sniff and kiss your sweet head for hours at a time.
We decided that the “P” was the most fitting spot to say our final goodbye. We took you there and laid you down underneath the tree we played peek-a-boo around, spent hours sitting under people-watching, and that you had sniffed up and down countless times. We thanked you for all you did for us. You made me feel safe; when I lived alone and then when Ryan had to travel for work. When we had bad days or weren’t feeling great, you always provided us with the snuggles and comfort to get us through. When we were celebrating, you were right there wagging your tail and wiggling next to us. You loved it when I would sing the in the “name song” (otto otto bobotto…”) because it meant a dance party. You came along on countless errands and we never felt lonely. You had a sweetness to you that everyone could see. You would lean up against friends and strangers alike to let them know “pets” were welcomed… and expected.
Most importantly Otto, you taught me more about myself and more about love than I thought possible. The day we met was the most important and defining day of my life. I became an adult with you by my side. I know that I would not be who I am today without your selfless love and companionship. Though your peaceful departure from this world doesn’t even come close to making up for all you have done for us, please know that we made the hardest decision ever out of pure love. Otto, you are my soulmate. We will miss you every single day for the rest of our lives. You are the very best boy and I could not have asked for a better companion to grow up with. Rest in Peace, Otto Bear.
We love you.
In endless gratitude,
Kristin, Ryan, & Mr. Kitty