Thursday, June 4, 2015

30 Day Challenges Day 16 - 10 Photos and Anecdotes of My Dearly Departed Dog

I had a few ideas for today's post, but I decided to do what's been on my mind the most for the past few weeks. On April 20, 2014 we suddenly lost our beloved basset Otto. I named him Otto for ottoman since he's just the size to rest your feet on. It seemed to suit him and he also had a nickname of "Piggies" because he used to snort and snuff a lot. 

DH is a photographer and I became interested in at least improving my photos, so I hope you'll notice later photos are a bit better than the early ones. 


This is an early shot, which is likely obvious since Otto still has all his colour. He loved this couch. He used to sleep on it like that for hours and hours every day. We had to throw it away because it got fairly foul after about 5 years of drool. When it no longer looked clean after steam cleaning, it was time. 

Otto saw the garbage truck destroying his couch and he howled and cried. I had no idea that his vision was that good because our house was back from the road about 40 feet or so. We felt bad, but it really needed to go. We bought him another couch from Ikea later on and he enjoyed that one too, but it didn't have a nice arm rest like this one. 


Every year we used to do a Christmas card that featured Otto in some way. He was very good at posing and would sit patiently (for treats) while we took a photo. This is one of my favourites in his Santa hat. He didn't seem to mind it, just waited until we were done. 


Otto hurt his back badly when he was 9 1/2. He had intervertebral disc disease and was in bad shape for a long time. At first we had to limit his movement to a crate except for feeding and going outside, and then he could be in one room of the house, then he could go on short walks. We got the wagon so we could pick him up and he could still enjoy being outside without risking overdoing it. Of course he kept wanting to jump out and we had to keep an eye on him. 

He memorably hurt himself again on December 24th around 3pm. DH drove as fast as he dared to the pharmacy 30 minutes away and just made it in time to get him some medicine. I was sitting with Otto and holding frozen peas to his back and that helped a little. Enough that he stopped whimpering at least. 

Otto bounced back fairly quickly from that bout, and was his usual self in a couple weeks. 


I was incredibly happy with how this photo turned out. Otto was sleeping on his IKEA couch on these dead cat pillows. There were squarish with "limbs" and a head sticking out and the head's eyes were x'd out. Fortunately they were washable. 

He moved almost immediately after I took this photo, so I'm happy I captured him doing what he did best. 


We adopted Max (cat) from my BIL and SIL after they had found him in a snowbank while walking. They already had 4 cats, so we took Max off their hands. Max and Otto used to play all the time! Max would run up to Otto and bop him on the nose, then take off and hide. Otto would rumble after him and when he found Max behind a corner, Max would stand up on his hind legs and pretend to pounce, then take off again. 

When Otto hurt his back Max stopped playing that game and would sometimes sit near him, never right against him, and lick him as he is in this photo. 


Christmas at my parent's house in 2010 I believe. Otto is with DH here. Although I like to think Otto was my dog too, he was definitely DH's dog 100%. If DH was ever gone for the day when I was home Otto would spend time looking for DH in between his naps. 

Here DH is giving Otto his favourite belly rubs. When Otto was a puppy he didn't realize how great belly rubs were, we sort of had to show him. After that he eagerly flipped over for belly rubs any time we were petting him. 


Otto was a great howler. He didn't do it very often, it was usually for attention or if we started to howl at him. Then he'd howl back and drown us out. When Otto was really young, DH would kneel on the ground and put his head back and howl and howl until Otto got the idea. It was really amusing to watch. 


This was a typical night at our house. When I cross stitched I would sit on the other couch, away from the pets, but with knitting I would sit on Otto's couch so I could sit with him. The brown thing is carpet over some stiff styrofoam, the green stuff you use for plants, and it worked as a step for Otto. The dog steps you see in stores were much too narrow for his long basset body and this worked well. You can see one of the dead cat pillows on the edge of the IKEA couch.

Once I sat anywhere, Alice, the younger dog, would try and sit by me. She is somewhat pathologically attached to me. I say pathological because frequently either I or she gets a mild injury from me tripping over her. 

Max would also try and get on my lap if I gave him the chance. DH took the photo because it made him laugh that all the pets honed in on me when I sat down. 


I was playing with a new lens that DH had purchased and I tried a really shallow depth of field. Any time I was home Otto would try and get my attention, so it was easy to use him as a subject. It wasn't that easy to keep him still, but I managed it this time. He was good at giving us a direct stare when he wanted something. If he was doing something bad then he would tend to look down and not meet our gaze. I think that's pretty typical behaviour. 

He had so much personality, there's still a big Otto sized hole in my life. 


In Otto's younger days he was able to jump up onto our bed. He didn't always make it. Once in a while he didn't quite get enough oomph behind his jump and he'd fall backwards. He was never injured thankfully, but that was a scary moment. When I could, I would lift him up. 

Depending on how tired he was he would either snuggle up with me or DH. He was just the right size to fit under your arm, although I was always afraid I was crushing him. If it was night time, then he would go in between us and sleep horizontally. That meant he had 70% of the bed and DH and I had about 15% each. We didn't mind... much. 

Otto was the best dog I've ever known. He wasn't perfect, but he was definitely a lot of fun to have around. He made every day better when I came home and he ran over to greet me. 

I'll try and post some stitching progress tomorrow, and happy stitching!



  1. A sweet, wonderful post, Tiffany :-)

  2. Great post and I feel both your joy and pain over your baby. I've already told Bam that he has to outlive me because I just can't take another loss.

  3. What an awesome post Tiffany.


  4. I like this post, thanks for sharing theses memories :) what made you get Bassett hounds? Just out of curiosity. They are lovely.

    1. DH was living on his own while I was at school and at the time he was stuck over an hour away from his family and several hours from me without a vehicle. He was going stir crazy all by himself and wanted to get a dog. He wanted a bloodhound, but his prospective dog sitter (MIL) had heard they drooled. We compromised on a basset hound even though we knew they drooled, she didn't. And we couldn't have been happier with our choice.


Thanks for any comments!

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