In death 'Good dog Otis' reached for the morning Sun
A legend dies.
Good dog Otis at Highland Ranch 2005
Grief knows no bounds as "Good dog Otis" greets the morning Sun on his final journey.
She cried as if she had lost her only child. The not so old women in the next room had known good dog Otis for more than 12 years, and now he was gone. Fond memories of the four week old mutt left on her porch by a well meaning partner, re-ran through her brain chasing grief through a now too quickly changed world.
Ridgewalker Ray had presented the pup to her years ago in an attempt to ease the pain that comes with the loss of a loved one. Young “good dog” Otis would soon replace Maggie; a Blue Healer mix that had made her untimely exit at sixteen years.
“Hell, times never right for death, no way to prepare for it,” mumbled Ray as he looked for his ever-missing car keys. “Have to keep my cool, she needs me now.”
An hour had passed since Otis made his exit from planet earth.
That morning on the new dawn, Otis would raise his head and look Ray in the eye while taking his last labored breath. “Then the damnedest thing happened…” As if good dog was greeting the morning Sun, he lifted his head to the east; stretched his body and tail and seemingly flew off into the Sun. With that, he was gone with the blink of an eye,” said Ray.
The handsome Rotty, Labrador mix that had received compliments from admiring strangers just the day before, now lay beneath Ray in his brown and black soft furred splendor. His muzzle just slightly gray, his coat perfect. The early morning departure took on the surrealistic setting of a futuristic sci-fi flick, as the misty earth produced steam of morning reflected the glow of a rising Sun.
Good dog lay covered in his favorite blanket on the steps of Orb House; as Ray searched in disbelief for a sign of life that had left Otis just minutes before. Was he breathing, moving? Not so old woman was inconsolable as Ray rocked her in his arms. With the death of her dog friend she’d reverted back to that little girl within her that had lost countless pets; friends and family; along life’s path to womanhood and then fifty something.
Ray too was reduced to quite tears as he recalled the moment of good dog’s passing.
Not so old women asked the ridge walker why men did not cry as women did in sad moments. There was no answer to the question, just introspective pondering.
He and “not so old women” held the paw of the old dog as he went to the other side. And to both, the loss was great and most immeasurable. Over the last handful of years they’d been through several death watches and this one felt most profound. The division between animal and human vanished in the painful realization of personal loss; as the two pondered with disbelief the unexpected death of this spirit guide.
Ray hadn't slept much the night before in anticipation of good dog’s passing. Only a week or two before, he and good dog Otis had been running through the wetlands in search of a great nature photo or two. All of that had changed a few days earlier when good dog stopped eating. Way out of character for this world class beggar, good dog had grown increasingly picky of human food offerings. Dog food? Forget it.
“Got to where he wouldn't even lick a plate,” said Ray as we talked on the front porch.
So, Ray started Otis on a daily nibble of chicken and rice. “Hell, I thought he was juss gettn old. I didn't know he was dying. “Got him to eat, thought he was on the road to recovery.”
Lowering his hat just a bit to the top of his brow, Ray walked out to the tool shed. He and good dog had spent countless hours there “messing about” according to not so old women.
The ridge walker wiped his tearing eye with a weathered shop coat sleeve that hadn't been introduced to soap and water in a year or two. Closing the shop door and looking over his left shoulder, he pointed to the mound of dirt that now protected good dog from the elements. A soft rain dripped through the branch covered forest canopy that shielded the burial mound from direct weather. Good dog Otis had always loved the orb covered hillsides that framed the old homestead; and now in time would become a part of it.
Around the burial mound were carefully placed rocks gathered from good dog’s favorite beach. As a pup good dog would dig and run for hours on the warm sand as those around him would marvel at the smiling dog. A diplomat under most circumstances, good dog Otis would be loved by hundreds as he made his mark on the world one dog to person at a time.
Balanced on top of the memorial was a carefully placed flower pot containing yellow daffodils with a candle or two. In the center was a glass garden orb. All, a tribute to the greatest orb hunter of all time.
The not so old women watched over the final resting place of her exceptional dog friend from the kitchen window that looked to the southeast. She took little comfort in the fact that good dog would remain on the farm long after she was gone. With the passing of good dog, not so old women had very little reason to stay.
Ray worried about his human partner as she mourned the loss of her dear dog friend. A few years earlier she had lost her mother and was slow, if ever, to recover from that loss. This felt uncomfortably familiar to Ray as he contemplated the future. Another thread that held the growing fragile relationship between Ray and not so old women together, had broken. The future became uncertain as the past became a harsh reality with the passing of good dog Otis.
According to Ray, Good dog Otis can still be heard from time to time at Orb House; as he scratches on the front door; walks on the deck and jumps on the master's bed. Head trip'n? It's said that one photo speaks a thousand words. For your edification Ray presents the final photo taken of Good dog Otis; the night of his earthly death.
Arguably the greatest orb hunting dog of our time, Ray believes that the bright blue orb above Otis's grave is Otis in his spirit guide form.