Otis’s bed isn’t in the corner by the television. His sloppy water bucket and food dish aren’t in their usual spot beneath the table. His Dirty Rotten Kitty, squeaky hedgehog and a surplus of other tattered and crusty creatures aren’t strewn throughout the camper. But worst of all, Otis is not snoring in his favorite spot lying along the foot of the bed as though he is hiding under the overhanging bedspread.
For the past eleven years, Otis, our English Bulldog has been our devoted traveling companion. Friends, family and even strangers
have often commented they would want to be reincarnated as Otis. He has traveled both eastern and western coastlines as well as most of the northern and southern US borders. He’s had his picture taken at the mouth of the Mississippi River, the famous Four Corners Monument (a paw in each one of the intersecting states Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) and in front of Touchdown Jesus on the Notre Dame Campus.
He wasn’t around for the tenting and tent camper days so his take on camping involved a couch, air conditioning and a convection oven that he patiently stalked each time it whirled into action. Three years ago, we loaded our motorhome into the belly of a ferry on the Alaskan Marine Highway for a three day journey on the Inside Passage from Bellingham, Washington to Haines, Alaska. To our dismay, pets were to remain below on the car deck, secured in a vehicle but owners were allowed several visits a day. With each visit to the car deck, as most other pets were released from crates and carriers, Otis emerged from the RV like Prince Charles at the Taj Mahal. I suppose some would say he was spoiled.
This is our first trip without him in eleven years. He passed away in July after being diagnosed with cancer in January. We miss him beyond what words can convey. There will be tears often but we will smile and laugh at a lifetime of wonderful memories he left us with.