Our newest family member on the left.
About a month ago, yoga cat disappeared. We were sad. Our dog was sadder. He destroyed long-time favorite toys, sniffed every inch of ground on our walks, and just looked generally depressed whenever he was left home alone. He and yoga cat used to play chase to pass the time and we almost always found them in the same room, together, when we got home.
Lacking the chase exercise, he began to put on weight. Suddenly, the dog door he had used for years was a little too small. I finally drew the line when he got stuck. Yes, stuck. His harness was the straw that broke the camel’s back, or got the pomeranian stuck in the dog door, depending on how you look at it.
My husband had been trying to convince me he needed a friend for weeks. I was reluctant. What if Luna came back? Did we really want the added expense and work of another creature in our house? Did we feel like potty training a puppy? I was staunchly on the no side, but my husband persisted and I gave in. It would be his dog. He had to pick it out, do the work.
He found a pure-bred border collie puppy down in Modesto. My gut said no. I didn’t want a puppy and I was nervous about having such a smart, possibly high-energy dog. So, I did what any good wife would do and got back on Petfinder to look for a decoy. Success. A wire-haired terrier with grey polka dots on her ears. She looked a lot like Simon’s favorite girlfriend down the street. The dog was supposed to be Simon’s new friend, after all.
My husband, the good sport he is, approved of a quick trip to Elk Grove to check her out at a sanctuary for homeless pets. Poor creature, she was a mess, and Simon had zero interest. He is breed-ist and prefers dogs with poofs similar to his own. Fortunately, in the back of one of the dog runs, Alex spotted our new dog, a border collie mix who patiently wagged his tail while all the other mutts howled in pandemonium.
Our gentle boy.
Alex asked if he could be brought out. It was love, for Alex at least. For Simon, well, he still didn’t show much interest, but as the dog checked him out, they showed no aggression to each other, which is unusual for Simon with boy dogs. This dog was one of the gentlest we had ever met. Even the roaming cats were of no interest to him. As Simon barked like a mad man each time a cat crossed our path, Otis did nothing but wag his tail. All good signs, we decided.
Turns out our pal Otis was the spoiled beast of his previous rescue family, but he kept taking the toys of the three year-old child and it was just too much for the family to handle. He had gone to obedience training, received every medical service imaginable, even had a DNA test to determine his breed combination, (apparently schnauzer, border collie, and cocker, but I’m not convinced). In his year and a half of life, he somehow ended up on death row at a pound and then was rescued by this animal group, adopted, then returned.
The two week trial sold me. Here was this dog with all these pluses, if it didn’t work, we could bring him back. We felt like he picked us. He was so happy to see us through that chain-linked fence, so patient as he watched Simon and wagged his tail. On the car ride home, he snuggled his new friend the entire way. Last night he slept without objection or a single noise in his crate. Today he and Simon stomped around the backyard for hours while I did some spring yard work.
And I thought I was Simon’s best friend…
I wasn’t sure if it would be hard to love another dog like I love Simon, but I think Otis will at least come close. He’s eager to please, kind, and affectionate. He loves Simon like he’s known him forever. Somehow he makes our home more complete, happier even, I guess my husband was right.
The only part we don’t agree on is his name. Alex wants to call him Odin after a pagan Norse god. I immediately took to calling him Oats and Odi for short, which for me goes more with Otis. I guess this dog will have two names, depending on which family member you ask. Although, really, we have both been calling him Odi, so I guess that’s his name. And, it does have a pretty great song to go with it, Odi, Odi, Odi, Oh! Smart boy that he is, his ears already perk up when it plays.
Alright, he does have one bad habit for us to break– he seems to think the planter box is for play… And, yes, there is a reason I did all that yard work, winter left our backyard a mess.