Pets bring so much joy to our daily lives that when we have to say goodbye, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.
ESPN sportscaster Scott Van Pelt first introduced his dog Otis to viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many people, Van Pelt was working from home, and Otis was a fixture in the background of just about every video conference and interview he conducted.
Van Pelt says he and his wife adopted Otis right after getting married as a sort of trial run for having kids. Even though the dog was plagued by health problems for much of his life, he always came through his surgeries and setbacks stronger than ever. Recently, however, Otis developed a tumor that “turned out to be the bullet with his name on it.”
Otis passed away in late April, and Van Pelt thought it was only fitting to devote his regular segment “One Big Thing” to the companion who always wanted to be right by his side.
Crushed to share that we had to say goodbye to Otis The Dog. Truly the most special friendship and bond of my entire lifetime.— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) April 27, 2022
He was an absolute King.
Love on your good boys and good girls with all your might – every day that you can. There aren’t ever enough of them. pic.twitter.com/uzSPjnLEtV
In the video, Van Pelt described bringing Otis home and watching him become the “cornerstone” of their growing family. The dog welcomed their three human children right along with Van Pelt and his wife, becoming their best friends as they grew up.
Even though they often tugged, jumped, and flopped on the dog, as children do, Otis never once “showed his teeth” or acted aggressively in any way. He went on to say that the love shared between dog and human is one of the purest loves he’s ever known.
“Otis was never mad at me,” he said, adding, “That level of love and loyalty… and so many of you know what I am talking about.”
Struggling to maintain control of his emotions, Van Pelt recalled how difficult it was to explain Otis’ death to his children. But it was the final moments of his tribute that really got the sportscaster choked up as he described how Otis always came running to his side the moment he got home from work. There would be no “click of his nails on the floor” that night, and Van Pelt knew he would feel his absence deep in his soul.
And yet, in spite of this pain, Van Pelt says that having Otis in his life was well worth the heartbreak of losing him.
“If this hurt is the cost of the transaction for being on the receiving end of a mighty love that I got to know in Otis the dog, then I pay it with enormous gratitude,” he said. “Because, even though I’m crying, I was just so happy he was ours and I’m so happy that we were his.”
Anyone who’s ever lost a pet understands how Van Pelt’s feeling. Saying goodbye is the most tragic part of loving an animal. Rest in peace, Otis. You’ll be greatly missed!
Watch Van Pelt’s touching tribute below, and be sure to share this story to send your condolences to him and his family.
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