Saying Goodbye

We had to say goodbye to Otis last night.   After he came home, he took a long nap laying next to me on the futon.   He was so happy to see my daughter – tail going enthusiastically.   My ex came over with his two dogs.   And his last meal was kibble and something called Hunk of Beef by the Evangers dog food company.   It really is a hunk of beef in a can.  He used to love it when he was younger, and I had seen it on display in a pet store two weeks ago and picked up two cans.  At around 5:30, he seemed to be breathing heavily, and the company left.  By 7:30, it was obvious that I was seeing the same breathing pattern as the night before and we took him in.  A final x-ray confirmed the build-up of air in his lungs.   He transitioned peacefully, accompanied by me, my ex and a family friend.

I feel like some small part of my heart went with him last night.   Not in a bad way, but as if it is flying free with him wherever he is now.   There is definitely an absence in the house, but the two most important things to me where that the final decision would be clear (the last x-ray ensured that) and that he had a good quality of life up until the end (he did).   I moved Tess’ favorite bed into my bedroom, but still have to decide what (or when) to deal with some of the things Tess will not use:  his favorite bed, his baby pool in the backyard, his food dishes.   And of the course, the industrial floor mats all over the house.   For now, they all stay as is.

Thank you to everyone reading this – I know how hard it can be to read the endings.  I truly appreciate the wonderful support from this community.  It meant so much during the last two nights to have our members from the UK and Australia online with me all night.   And the outpouring of support overall has been phenomenal.

We took this picture on Otis' last day.  We used to joke that he thought he was a 10 pound puppy when he tried to crawl into my lap.
We took this picture on Otis’ last day. We used to joke that he thought he was a 10 pound puppy when he tried to crawl into my lap.



I took this picture several months ago and somehow knew that it was the one I would want to use on this day to say goodbye.
I took this picture several months ago and somehow knew that it was the one I would want to use on this day to say goodbye.

Author: otisandtess

Otis, an 8 year old 106 lb. lab/Dane mix, became a Tripawd on February 9, 2016 after his right front leg broke due to osteosarcoma. We did 4 rounds of carboplatin, but lung mets were discovered on Agust 25, and he passed on September 4. Otis was half of a bonded pair, and his adopted sister Tess, passed suddenly of hemangiosarcoma on October 9. The day before Tess passed, a local lab rescue group had identfied Gator, a 120 pound 6 year old yellow in need of a home, as a potential companion for her. His picture was on my phone, and my house needed a dog. . .

29 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye”

  1. That picture says it all. It’s like he’s looking towards the rainbow bridge hearing “something” only he could hear. Many tears shed today here at Tripawds for your sweet boy.

  2. A beautiful tribute to your beautiful boy…these pictures are priceless, as was your life together. Thank you for sharing this journey with us – you’re right, reading the end of the journey is sad and painful, but also necessary. I’m so glad your had the support of Tripawd nation when you needed it most. Wishing you peace, my friend.

    Paula and Nitro
    P.S. If it were me, I’d probably make a wall-size print of the rainbow picture – it’s absolutely stunning

  3. My heart breaks for you … what a lovely tribute and how brave you sound. Thank you for sharing your story .. the good, the bad, the end. The story isn’t over though. It’s just changed. There is never an end when they are fur-ever in our hearts.

    I love those photos …

    Sending love!
    Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart

  4. We are so sorry to hear that Otis had to cross the Bridge so soon. By now Hannah should have him lined out, Shelby will have given him his party hat, and he will be headed to the water with Murphy and Gus.

    You are in our thoughts.


  5. I am so sorry to hear about Otis. I was hoping that he would be there when we would get to meet but he will be just not in physical form. I know these until I see you again with them are so hard.

    My heart is breaking for you. I love these pictures & agree with Paula you definitely need to print the rainbow one.

    Thank you for sharing Otis story with all of us

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  6. So sorry for your loss Christine. Thank you for sharing at this difficult time. I am new to this website but I am very encouraged by you & the wonderful people on here. Hang on to the wonderful memories of Otis. Sending you big hugs xxxx Take care.

  7. Christine,
    So glad you were able to have quality time with sweet Otis before he made his way to heaven. He is a beautiful boy. Hugs. Deb and Bandit

  8. Beautiful photos of your boy, Otis! Our hearts are breaking for you and your family. Thank you for sharing Otis’ journey with us and on a personal note, thank you for offering support when we first started down this road with Cayenne. Every day is a gift with our 3 legged buddies. Hugs to you and take good care of yourself and Tess!

  9. I am soaked in tears reading this news. I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to your handsome boy. I know I haven’t been on this site long to follow your journey from the start but you & Otis have been great supporters of Kylie this week. As Kev & I teared up reading your post, I told him in honour of Otis I think Kylie needs a cheeseburger for dinner 🙂
    Your photos are beautiful by the way, such a great keepsake.
    Much hugs being sent your way from us

  10. I just looked at all of Otis’ photos on your blog and boy was he a pretty boy!! He really did have a great life and I know that you are now changed forever!! I am so sad that he had to leave you too soon but just know he was sad to go also. Hope you and Tess and family take some time out to recover and not be too sad. It is so hard with our fur babies we love them so unconditionally as they love us and it makes losing them even harder than losing humans sometimes. Prayers for you all!! Rubys Gram Lisa

  11. I”m sitting here in tears. I am so very sorry. My heart is heavy and broken for you. Leave Otis’ stuff just where it is. No hurry. People say that time heals all wounds but it doesn’t. It leaves a scar and we learn how to live differently. I wish our dogs could just be with us forever

    Someone once told me to grieve is to have loved and that’s what I hold onto. I love the photos you chose to post. It is so hard to say “see you later” to them. They are part of us.

    Will keep you in my prayers!
    Julie and Spirit Buddy

  12. I have tears in my eyes reading this Christine. And that last photo really brought on the water works. Wow. I’m speechless.

    It has been an honor to be invited into your life, and we are forever changed because of it. Your pack’s spirit, love and generosity has left a paw print that will never be erased here in the Tripawds nation.

    Otis’ earthly journey might be over, but I can with absolute certainty say that his role as our spiritual Tripawds guide is just beginning. He is always with us.

    With all our heart and soul,
    Rene, Jim, Wyatt Ray & Spirit Jerry

  13. The photo of Otis bathed in light the colors of the rainbow speaks volumes. It’s in a silent language that our Souls understand.

    And to see that big Otis trying to fit his big self on your lap….what a treasure!

    If I can do this right, I’m going to try and post something that Martha (Oaktown Pack) shared with me when I had to release my beloved Hzppy Hannah. It really speaks to the void, to the break in routine of non stop watching over our tripawds, to the intensity of loss like no otner.

    The love you have for Otis, and he for you, is so oure, so uncomplicated. I thinks our grief is also the purest form of raw uninhibited grief we shall ever know.

    Holding you tightly in my heart…..

    Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

    Sweep the floor

    Look out the window


    Make a cup of tea and some toast

    But then not eat them

    Change the sheets on the bed

    Try to sing

    Start to cry

    Forget what day it is

    Stumble into a corner of the floor and hold your knees tightly


    Pull yourself together

    Make another cup of tea and this time drink it

    Look out a different window

    Stare at that spot on the floor where your dog used to stretch out, languid and happy, his paws twitching as he raced across sleep meadows and into dream ravines filled with moss and ferns and the scent of foxes

    Look for the Kleenex

    Use toilet paper instead

    Wander around the house, your heart like a damned anvil in your chest

    Heat up leftovers

    Push them around the plate before leaving the entire thing in the sink

    Look for what is not there

    Hear things

    Feel the forgotten fur beneath your fingertips

    Feel the forgetting begin

    Hold a memory, any memory, bright and shining, soft and sad, smelling of wet fur and leaves, with a whisker there and muddy paw prints left on the stairs, of a walk of a hike of a trip to the park with a treat and a bone and a belly rub snacks stolen off the counter and tug of war and the squeaky toy a glance of complicity in play with your hand on head with tail wagging and breath misting in the morning light or the moon over the trees while an owl croons ears are pricked and nose to the ground sniffing, sniffing, sniffing following the invisible trail to its joyful finding

    Put on your pajamas

    Turn around three times before you curl up by the rope toy and find yourself chasing the echo of a bark into a night that will never end

    Grow a tail

  14. Christine, I am so sorry to read this, but I am glad you have the solace of knowing it was time and knowing he had the quality of life you wanted for him to the end. Thank you for bravely sharing him with us. I am wishing him sunshine and paddling pools and all the cheeseburgers he could want. And wishing you comfort in the tenderness of memory. Fare thee well, dear Otis. You are so loved.

    Lisa and Pofi

  15. Oh Christine! I worked all weekend, so I didn’t see that you went to the emergency vet the other day…I’m sorry I couldn’t offer you hugs then. I cried at lunch today when I read this. My heart is broken for you. Hold Tess extra close….
    <3 Donna

  16. Christine,
    I’m so sorry to hear that you lost Otis. He was such a beautiful boy and I’m sure the joy he brought you will never be forgotten.

  17. Christine, I hope you know that we are mourning sweet Otis with you. Thank you so much for sharing him with all of us and for all of the love and support you give to this community.

    I’ll be hugging my Izzy extra tight and we are thinking of you!

  18. I am soo so sorry for your Loss… gorgeous pictures. Our community is so full of love and life and then we have these moments that take our breath away and make up look down at the ones still here next to us on earth or look up and feel our heart skip a beat in loss.
    Heart and love to you.

    Angel Neka & her earth guardian

  19. Beautiful words and wonderful pictures. I know exactly what you mean about wanting a clear decision. Thanks to you, his best interests were always paramount and his quality of life assured right to the end.

    Goodnight, Sweet Otis. You have touched our hearts.

    Sending all our love to you, Tess and your family.

    Meg, Clare, Elsie and Angel Billie

  20. I am so sorry to read about the loss of your beautiful Otis, you are our my thoughts and prayers.

    Tracy, Bruce and family.

  21. Hope you feel the love…it’s real. It’s real because you and Otis have imlacted our hearts forever here.

    Everyone grieves differently, and yet we all grieve the same with broken hearts and non stop crying. Our sadness is never ending, suffocatingly so.

    For me, there was a “relief” that her transition was peaceful. Relief that she didn’t have horrific suffering and unbearable pain leading up to that. For that I was grateful. For our time together I was grateful. Did it bri g mr so co fort? I suppose so. Did it lessen my sadness..nope, not one bit!

    I tried to go through the motions here on tbe site. I was numb a d it was different. It felt so foreign to be here without my Happy Hannah.

    I can promise you this, it does fade some eventually. It does get pushed further into the background. And then there are days it will hit you like a ton of bricks…years later.

    The happier times that you had with Otis sre very stronger than you realize. They push the grief further away. And Otis LOVES it when you smile when you think of him and all his crazy antics!

    We are here for you. No need to be “brave” with us! We get it!! Otis knew we would help you through this here on earth, while he watched over you and Tess fro above.

    Everyone hear can GUARANTEE yiu he will connect with you in a very “Otis specific” way! Pay attention! He WILL make is presence know !

    A d I know it’s really hard to think about right now, but he already has someone picked out for you and Tess!!

    Surrounding you with love and support…

    Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

    Oh,and as far as throwi g thi gs away or moving them, don’t even think about that right now. Heck, I even put a few morsels of food in Happy Hannah’s bowl for months! I still have the ice cream carton she ate from in the freezer two hrs and four months later

  22. Oh Christine, I’m so so sorry for your loss. The rainbow picture is awesome and I love, love the video of Otis rolling in the grass. Pure joy, pure dog.
    Wishing you peace.

  23. I am sitting here with tears as I just saw that your sweet Otis has gained his wings! I am sooooo very sorry for your loss of your sweet boy! No words can make the loss any less.

    What a wonderful tripawd mom you have been to him and he clearly lacked for nothing.

    I wish you comfort during these difficult transition days for you and Tess.

    When you love a pet it is the greatest joy in life, when you lose them it is the greatest heartache!

    Much love to you and Tess – Summer and Patchy xxxx

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