Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye. Losing Otis

To lose a dog is hard, its a raw emotion that affects everyone in different ways, but there is no doubt, its a very hard decision many of us have to make. As followers from my Facebook page will know, I recently lost my Greyhound, Otis. I had been in his life for 7.5 years out of his 13 years on this planet. He came to me as an emergency Foster for "Busselton Greyhound Awareness" in Western Australia, they spotted him on Gumtree as a "Free to good home". (They had initially fostered him when he finished racing, and recognised him immediately). They couldn't get the owner to contact them, so asked would I try. I got a response and said I would foster him until he found him a good home. They dropped him off at my home, he lay on the cool floor on a hot, January day, and just stayed there. As they left he made no move to say goodbye or even raise his head as they went out of the door. It was so sad. This boy had resigned himself to being "Left behind." I found out his story was similar to his first Adoption, a blended family adopted him and had him for roughly a year, then when they split up, the dog went back to BGA for foster. What was wrong with this beautiful, Blue-Brindle, long boy? That's just it, there was NOTHING wrong with him, he was sad, and he was just waiting to see what came next. Well, I came next. There was no way this boy was going anywhere again where someone else could let him down, so I made a promise, come hell or high water, he was staying with me for the rest of his life. I already had a greyhound, Daisy, who was 8, and a gorgeous boy Harvey, a Heinz 57, with a super gentle nature, who was 10.

Such a handsome greyhound

Adjusting to a new home

Several days went by and Otis was slowly interacting, but most of the time he just lay on the floor, he would wag his tail, a thump – thump on the wooden floors, and raise his head if you called his name. He walked like he was on a mission, no time to stop, while Harvey made his way through orange orchards, with Daisy trotting alongside, Otis was quiet, but he was safe. Fast forward two years…. I had noticed subtle changes, he would rather be in the room with me, he was interacting with Daisy. By this time, I had lost Harvey, another soul dog who is still carried in my heart, so Otis’s role changed, it was his turn to be man of the house, but under Daisy… she was definitely the boss!

Then one day as I was in the art room, he came looking for me, I was deep in thought and was nudged by a wet nose on the elbow, he made me jump, he snuggled in for a 3-minute pat and back rub, then shook, and went back to his couch. This began to happen more and more, then after 3 years he actually got on the same couch as me. As I returned home from… anywhere… he would great me at the gate with the happiest of playful dances, followed by zoomies round the yard, more playful dances and then off to the couch. His transition from solo dog to family pet had been made in his head. I think he realised he wasn’t going anywhere, WE were HIS pack, he was here to STAY.

My three dogs

Acccepting new family members

A new Dad and Brother

I met my husband, Paul as lockdown hit, so when he moved in Otis accepted him and his puppy, Shadow, his new brother, his new Dad, willingly. Otis was a happy boy, social butterfly, very cheeky and a lazy couch potato, but the best ambassador for the Greyhound breed. Otis wowed people, they fell in love with him, he was soft furred and stunning looking.

He loved his walks, he got so excited, would leap into the car and await his harness being put on, and his hunnyboots. He was dressed for an outing! He would follow one lady, Deb, around the park in her mobility scooter, actively seeking her out, she had treats and lot of cuddles, he was in heaven. He had canine mates who he loved to greet, then he was off on his human rounds, peemails and treats.

It's time

Otis fell whilst running and injured his back 3 years ago, nerve damage left him wobbly in his legs and clumsy. He carried injuries and problems with dislocated toes from his racing days. An infected toe injury turned to septicaemia, despite all our efforts to keep in clean and treated, it took a toll on his Kidneys. He nearly died. 

He was on pain relief and heart medication in the end, and it didn’t slow him down or stop him, he still had little wobbly trots and would flash you the cheekiest smile if you tried to make him slow down as he zoomed past.

Unfortunately, all this took a toll on his aged body. Otis hid illness well, ever stoic, but  cut a toe nail or remove a bandage and get the howl of doom in return, yet when he was in pain, real pain he was silent. 

He was quiet and slow over the last couple of days, then deteriorated quickly. A trip to the vet for, we thought, something to stop his nausea and vomiting, it led to blood tests revealing Kidney failure. 

Otis was tired, he was ill, and he was in pain. We held him gently, yet firmly in our arms and said the hardest goodbye I have ever said. Our hearts were broken, our loving boy had gone.

 Thank you to everyone who expressed sadness and messaged, he was so loved by everyone, and I told him he was loved every night as I  adjusted his wobbly legs on the couch, then I would play “the paw of more” with him and give him a kiss.  If I just had a bit more time, another hug, another cheeky smile.

I’d give anything to have just another day with my beautiful Otis. Fly fast and swift Otis, you were loved, you are missed.

Your wings were ready, but my heart most definitely was not.

 Between “Hello and Goodbye” there was SO much love.