I am writing to let you know that Otis passed away on August 30th, 2007. He was put down when complications from bladder cancer became life debilitating.
During the past twelve and a half years Otis was a part of many of our lives as he headed out on adventures spanning fourteen states, one province and two countries.
Otis swam in the Pacific ocean, traveled to the Atlantic and ran/kayaked many rivers in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado (Otis has a drop named after him on the Upper North Fork of the Kaweah River in California, "Otis' Slide"). He has been eye to eye with spy hopping Orcas in the San Juan Islands, plucked oysters from Westcott Bay and run amok at Chrissy Field under the Golden Gate Bridge.
At the age of 8 weeks, Otis was peering out of jet aircraft windows at 35,000 feet while seated next to me, he got the window seat. Otis has stood on the top of mountains and explored deserts, lakes and oceans. He was equally at home in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Portland, OR as he was in small towns like Bliss, ID or Davenport, FL, as long as there were places to go and people to see.
Otis was one of the first product testers and a key member of the research and development team at Ruffwear. He was an inspiration to, and instrumental in the development and improvement of many gear items, among them, K-9 flotation devices, dog boots, dog backpacks and pet first aid kits. He was always willing to prove or disprove the festivity and durability of dog toys. Many of these products have assisted and enhanced humans and canines lives during world events such as the World Trade Center event of September 11th, the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, as well as helped individual guide dogs, canine assistance dogs, avalanche search and rescue teams and literally thousands of folks and dogs simply out for a run, swim, hike or game of fetch.
At home Otis lived up to his Australian Cattle Dog lineage by keeping us in line and on task. He made sure we all knew when it was time to eat, when it was time to sleep, when it was time to play and when we were due for a road trip, outing or adventure. Otis' bright eyes were a indication of his wit, always attentive and inquisitive, he was able to accomplish desired tasks with few requests. His inspiration to make the most of everything we did, be it a walk on the river trail or a cross-country trip, was infectious. You could not help but to be caught up in his enthusiasm for life. One thing Otis never accommodated us on was our request to use an "inside voice". Rather he chose to use his outside cattle driving, ear piercing bark inside and out, often times startling folks less accustomed to his singular vocal level. Waking up each morning, Otis would literally dive on to his pack of humans and roll on us while making all sorts of un-dog like cheerful vocal sounds, coaxing us to wake up and celebrate the day. Towards the end of his life Otis had started to make the transition easier on us by teaching me a few old tricks. It didn't take long for him to get me fetching the newspaper again, something Otis had done for so many years.
Thanks to all of you who contributed to Otis' life, for inviting him into your home, joining us and including him on adventures, looking after him when I would travel without him, and for being part of his extended family.
I miss the little guy.