Since May, I have been going to a personal trainer, which explains my stunning physique. Before our first meeting, she asked, “Do you have a problem with dogs? Mine likes to be in the room while people work out, but if you don’t like them, I’ll put him upstairs before you arrive.”
I guess you don’t need to wonder about my answer.
Otis was right at the door when I arrived, large and magnificent, never barking. He looked like a cross between maybe a Great Dane and a Lab or something. But he had brindle fur, so he was like a large mellow Peanut Butter Cup. Not that I’ve seen excitable Peanut Butter Cups.
I meant to take 109 photos of him through the months, but I was always, you know, working out. This is the only one I took of us.
My trainer got him because, years ago, a friend of hers was in the woods, and Otis came bounding up. He was alone. The friend asked my trainer, “Can you just keep him for a night or two while I find his owner or a new home?”
My trainer said yes, and that night, Otis got in bed with her and spooned her like she’d never been spooned before. Well, I own this dog now, she thought.
A picture of Otis that she sent me, knowing the extent of my obsession. My Otsession.
Right before my accident, she mentioned Otis was getting arthritis, and you can imagine the godawful long walks a personal trainer must make a dog take, so she ordered this huge stroller for him to go in when he needed a break.
Then I got rear-ended, and couldn’t go to the trainer for more than a month. I went back I think last week for the first time, and when I saw Otis my eyes welled. He’d declined so much. His tail was straight down. He didn’t lie on me when I was prone on the mat. Normally he delighted in flopping all 700 pounds of himself on me, for comfort. “I think it’s more than arthritis,” she said, mentioning they were going back to the vet.
I made sure to go pet his big head between sets of torment.
On Sunday, my trainer texted me. “I had to put Otis to sleep today.”
Dammit. I loved that dog. I wish Otis well and hoped he’d have a good time in Peanut Butter Cup heaven.
Yesterday I was back at the trainer and she told me a story. Her ex-husband had just called her. “I can’t get this out of my mind, and I have to tell you,” he said.
He’d been to the dump, as you do. And it was this odd, out-of-the-way dump. At said dump, there was an old man, but not sitting next to him makin’ love to his tonic and gin, thank heavens. “How you doin’?” asked my trainer’s ex-husband, probably just being polite, as Southern people are wont to do.
“Not too good,” said the old man, and oh, here we go.
“Last week my wife of 50 years died. We were at home. It was completely unexpected. Then the very next day, my dog died.”
I mean, if it weren’t for bad luck he’d have no luck at all.
On Sunday, the old man went for a walk. Without his wife or even his dog, he was at loose ends. He just went for the walk to make himself feel better, and maybe he should’ve tried getting amorous with a tonic and gin.
As he walked across a field, he saw a dog.
The dog bounded over to him from the woods. He’d never seen that dog before in his life, but it rolled over to have its stomach rubbed, then got up and walked right at his hip for an hour and a half.
The man headed home and the dog went with him. What could he do but let it in? He fed the dog, not sure if he was going to keep it or what, but that night, the dog spooned him like he’d never been spooned before.
My trainer’s ex-husband paused. “Do you…have a picture of the dog?” he asked.
The dog looked exactly like Otis.
That dog bounded out of the woods to the old man, same as he’d bounded to the trainer’s friend that day. He’d bounded out of the woods on the same day Otis died.
“I guess Otis found someone who needed him more than I did,” my trainer said.
And that is the story of Otis, the magic Peanut Butter Cup dog.