Ottis: Family Clown
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Choosing & Caring for a Dog
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The Charm of One Beloved Lab
and his history
Thirteen years ago, 2 weeks after we were married, my husband and I bought our first dog. This was before we knew of puppy mills and yes, unfortunately, I'm afraid that is where Ottis came from. As much as we love him, we realize that his parents would have been wonderful companions too and it grieves us to know that they likely never had a chance at that life, and that by purchasing Ottis, we only helped determine that they would always be there.

When our son was born one and half years later, and I would be so tired that I did not hear him cry in the middle of the night, Ottis would come into our room and wake me to feed the baby.

He is always a very gentle dog, tolerating pet rabbits and our parakeet, who used to follow Ottis everywhere, pecking at his toes, tail, and nose. Although gentle, he is very protective of his family, forbidding strangers to enter the property or trapping them on the porch if they make it that far. He loves to tease, pulling socks gently off feet and prancing around the house with them. Or hiding the controller for the tv when we've been gone from home longer than he feels is needed.

Ottis will be 13 years old in just a few weeks and although he has slowed down over the years, he still loves to play baseball and fetch. The funniest thing I've ever seen Ottis do was hide by the garage, waiting for birds to come to the feeder. When he was content that there were enough birds there, he would run out and scare them all away. Then he would look at us, sort of laugh, and go back into hiding, waiting for the next unsuspecting flock to settle in before he'ld do it all over again.

It will be a very sad day in our house when Ottis leaves us. And although I would really love to get another Lab, there will never be another one who will replace Ottis. He is the greatest dog in the world.


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