My friend, Judi, has three basset hounds. Craig is 11 and has been with Judi since he was five; Clifford is 8 and came to Judi as a puppy. Otis is three or four, and, like Craig, came to Judi as a rescue. He is the newest addition to the pack, having arrived at Judi’s home via an animal shelter in South Carolina just two months ago. Otis is a powerhouse of a pup; the ringmaster of fun and frolic to Craig and Clifford, his less energetic, senior playmates; and, simply – he is adorable to look at.
I met Otis for the first time a couple weeks ago, and immediately fell in love with him. “Judi,” I asked, “why did the former owners give Otis away?”
“They said that he was aggressive towards people,” Judi responded.
Otis and I looked at each other, his eyes wide with curiosity and enthusiasm. “That’s hard to believe,” I said.
“When the shelter told me that he was aggressive towards people and that was the reason why his former owners left him there, that didn’t bother me,” Judi said. ” I knew I’d be able to deal with it.”
Two nights ago, while in a deep sleep, my eyes popped open and I heard these words in my head: “They were lying.” I knew immediately that this message was related to Otis and what it was about.
The next morning, I went into Judi’s office. “Judi, I have something important to tell you.” Judi spun around in her chair to face me. “They were lying, Judi. Otis’s previous owners were lying. They didn’t want to look bad by just dumping him at the shelter, so they made up a story about him being aggressive with people.”
“You know”, Judi said, “I had actually thought of that. They wanted to save face about getting rid of him.”
I walked out of Judi’s office and went to work at the kitchen counter. Otis came over to me and I started playing with his pendulous ears, folding them in two and stroking his velvety cuteness. I know in my heart that Otis came over to thank me for setting the record straight. “It’s okay Otis,” I told him. “We know the truth now. We know those people were lying and we know that you’re not a bad dog. We all love you, Otis.”
Maybe one day, you’ll get to meet Otis. I guarantee that you’ll fall in love with him. He’s got a spring in his step like Snoopy that’ll make you giggle. You’ll find him to be energetic and full of life. You’ll find him to be obedient.
The most important thing, though, is that Otis is an honest dog. And that’s what he would want you to know.