Monday, February 29, 2016

DUCJFC 2016 - February 29 - THE FINISH LINE!! (long post)

For my very last start/WIP for this year's Challenge I've gone back to a project from last year's Challenge. It didn't get a lot of love last year since I made a major error and was so disheartened I had put it away. This year when I took it out I had forgotten the error, so it was mine to discover all over again. It didn't bother me as much this time though. 

I had spent a good hour or so gridding my fabric only to discover I was completely off!!! So frustrating. But fortunately, I didn't have to re-grid yet. I could figure out where I was and continue on. 

So what's the project you ask? Well, it's this:

so, the stitches on the left side are row 1, but for some reason I made them row 4... the far right stitches are the end of the first page

A ginormous portrait of Otto. He died on Easter day 2 years ago and we still miss him. He was the best companion we'd ever had. DH and I purchased his grandparents' house way back in 2000. DH hadn't planned on moving in for a while since he didn't have his own vehicle, but when he went back home after visiting me, his mother had packed up all his stuff and was like "when are you leaving?" so he felt like he didn't have much choice. 

After living alone for over a month, without a car, over an hour away from any family and 14+ hours from me since I was still in school, DH was going stir-crazy! After a lot of discussion we decided on a basset hound. I called up my old 6th grade teacher who used to show bassets for some info and she gave us the name of another show breeder in Niagara Falls, Ontario. DH drove down with his mother and younger brother to pick up Otto in late February. We named him "Ottoman" because he's just the right height to rest your feet on, although we never did. 

I came back to visit in March and met Otto and spent a lot of time with him sitting on my lap on the couch while I stitched or knit. He was playful, but also happy to just hang out. I had to go back to school after the week was out, but came to visit again in the summer. DH was very happy with Otto despite the fact that bassets are notoriously hard to house train. Finally he had some companionship! 
A few years later, school was done and I had a job 2 1/2 hours away from DH and Otto. I would drive there almost every weekend, and then back to work the next week. That went on for a bout a year until I was able to find a job that allowed me to live with them. I still had to commute, but it was worth it to be with them most of the time. Otto and DH and I went on lots of walks together and he still spent a lot of time on my lap while I stitched or knit. He also liked to lay at my feet sometimes if he didn't feel like getting up on the couch. 

Dial ahead a few more years, Otto had disk dysplasia in his back. He was in pretty bad shape for awhile and we were concerned he wouldn't last long. We decided we'd rescue a basset/beagle cross so he'd have companionship when we were away to work, etc. That didn't work out as planned as the rescue wasn't precisely right in the head, but anyways, go ahead a few more years and we adopted Max the cat. My SIL had found a whole litter of kittens in the snow and hadn't found anyone to adopt Max, so we did. Otto and Max had a lot of fun playing together. I had no idea that Max would be a better friend and companion than another dog! Max used to bop Otto on the nose and then go hide around a corner and Otto would chase him and then Max would do that standing thing cats do and wave his paws around then run away again. They had a lot of fun together. 

Dial ahead another year or two and we've moved into a house in Vermont. We had to get rid of Otto's couch, and he was pretty annoyed until we got the giant bed that's pictured in the photo. Otto loved that bed. We had a couch from Ikea previously that we had to add a step to for him to get up into it and he was happy with it, but it was old and getting worn. 
Otto turned 13 on November 2, 2013. That was shortly before DD was born. When DD was born, DH brought one of her bodysuits from the hospital for Otto and all the animals to sniff. Otto kept it in his bed and kept bringing it back if I tried to take it out. We had a few more months with Otto and they were good ones. He wasn't easy exactly as much as he was predictable. He expected breakfast and dinner at reasonable times and got justifiably annoyed if either was late. If he hadn't been petted in awhile he'd come over and get pets until he was satisfied, or we would cuddle with him in his bed. He was always happy to receive attention and treats of course. 

Dialing forward to the day before Easter, Otto started having trouble breathing. I had been at work all day, so DH was home with him and DD. As soon as I got home he took Otto to the emergency vet. They said he had pneumonia and needed antibiotics, so we thought he would get through it. But he refused to take the antibiotics. Not even with peanut butter. He didn't do well that night and was worse in the morning. DH took him to go back to the emergency vet so Otto could be put down, but when he had to stop for gas it seemed like Otto was worse and he sat with him in his car and Otto died shortly after. He took him to the vet anyway to have him cremated. I still don't think we're entirely over his loss, and I don't feel that we have to be. The hole is still there, it's just filled in a little. 

So if you made it through all that, good for you, and thank you for reading about my friend. I made it through most of this without breaking down, so that's an improvement. My reasonable goal is to finish at least the first page this year. The crazy unrealistic goal is to finish the top row, all 12 pages of it. 

Happy Stitching, 



  1. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face and can hardly type. What a wonderful story Tiffany. And what a wonderful design to stitch in Otto's memory.


  2. It's never easy losing a pet whose been a companion for so long but you have photos and memories and the cross stitch - one day! Good luck in achieving your goals and congratulations on finishing the challenge! Now, go and have a break from blogging for a few days, sort out what you want to stitch on first and we'll see you again soon! :)

  3. Such a heart touching post. Thank you for sharing Otto's story with us. I'm sure you will re live the moments spent with him while stitching the piece for him.

  4. Thank you for sharing! You've got me in tears too! It's always sad to lose a pet, I have some idea how you feel as we have lost three cats to cancer, over the years, and each time it breaks your heart! What a lovely idea to stitch him and have a constant memory of the happiness he brought you! Take care of yourselves! Hugs! Barbara xx

  5. It is difficult to adjust with a loss of pet who has been a companion for many years. I hope you will be at peace while stitching for him. You completed the challenge, congrats!!

  6. What a beautiful project.
    It will be a lovely keepsake of your cute companion. A really nice way to remember Otto.

  7. Oh Thanks for sharing even though it made me cry. I love dogs so much. I can tell you do too. They are babies we just don't give birth to. They torture us with their short lives but they are so worth it! I wish you luck on this wonderful project.

  8. Congratulations on finishing the first part of the challenge. Now to finish them all! This will be a lovely tribute to your treasured pet.

  9. A lovely piece to remind you of your beautiful dog.

  10. What a beautiful tribute. It's always so traumatic to lose a pet; it's unfair that they have such short lives! I'm glad he found a companion in a cat though; that's adorable. The B&W picture of him melting into the cushion is my favorite.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful story of Otto. Losing a pet makes such a huge hole, but they are so, so worth it. Best of luck with your memorial project.

  12. As someone who has an older dog who is having health issues, your stories hit me right in the heart. What a wonderful companion and wonderful stories. I look forward to seeing progress on your Otto piece.

  13. I've lost two babies in the past five years, so I completely understand and your post was a beautiful tribute to him. I'm still not past the grieving stage for either, but one day I'll do a tribute stitch too. I've told Bam that he is not allowed to get old and he better mind me!

  14. Tiffany, thank you so much for sharing Otto's life with us - he sounds like he was a true and faithful companion.

  15. What a loving story, sounds like he had a wonderful life with you and is still much missed.
    Love his name too and the meaning behind it!

  16. Aw, Otto sounds like he was a real sweetheart. I still miss my cat (we lost her over 15 years ago); I still dream about her sometimes!


Thanks for any comments!

2021 Tokyo Paralympics Wrap-Up

Finally I'm back after a rough weekend. I had a lot of hopes for that 3 days off, but spent most of it with a severe migraine, so didn&#...