Monday, August 24, 2009

Ok, So Otis

I've avoided talking about some personal stuff going on in my life for a while now, but I think that the time has come to share with all of you guys what's going on, partially because it has affected the show/blog a little more recently, and may for a little while after this post, at least as far as my participation is concerned.

On September 27th of last year, my pug Otis was diagnosed with cancer in his bladder. It came as a complete shock to me, as I was thinking I was taking him to the vet to be treated for a bladder infection (He had a few accidents in the middle of the night while we were sleeping.) The tumor was/is inoperable, in that if they operated:

a.) there was a very good chance that he was going to have no bladder control and
b.) the way the tumor was growing, they were almost certain they weren't going to be able to get all of it, guaranteeing that it would grow back, and may be more aggressive.

The vet gave Otis a diagnosis of 1 to 3 months, but suggested that if I put him on chemotherapy, that may double his life expectancy. Bracing for an estimate of several hundred dollars, I was pleasantly surprised when my vet said it would cost approximately 27 dollars a month. I immediately agreed and Otis and I started our daily ritual of taking our meds together in the morning.

As months went on, Otis would get up several times in the night to demand to go out to pee. This was exhausting for Babaloo and I, but we did it because we knew that he couldn't help it. I think one night between the two of us, we got up six times. Eventually, we decided on taking turns, like parents with a crying newborn. It worked out well for months, even as we could see a gradual decline in his energy level. Then one night a few months ago, I was watching television with Otis in my lap, and it felt warmer than usual, but I didn't think anything of it. He got up, and I had wet pink spots all over my pants. Then, that night, I rolled over into a pattern of small wet spots all over any place where he had been sleeping. The brown sheets didn't help as far as seeing that there was blood in his urine (denial is a wonderful thing), but coming home from work the next day, and finding blood all over the kitchen and dining room floor was a nightmare for me. I called the vet and rushed Otis in to his office. The vet did a catheter on Otis, and brought in a vial that looked like tomato soup to show me. "This is what's in his bladder now." The vet said that the tumor had grown to the point of where it was feeding off of Otis' blood supply, and he would eventually become anemic. The vet gave me a prognosis of a couple of days. She also provided me with some antibiotics to possibly help ward off the risk of infection, as that may have been a factor as well. That was about two months ago. Otis got used to wearing an incontinence belt that has become so stretched out we have to tie it in a knot in the back, making him look like a little sumo wrestler when he walks around the house.

Over the last week or so, Babaloo and I have notice a severe drop in Otis' functioning. He's lost a significant amount of weight, you can feel his bones when you pick him up. He's stopped eating for the most part, though he did enjoy some Fuji apples yesterday, but tends to vomit when he does eat. He's still taking in a very small amount of water. His incontinence pad seems to less and less full when we change it, and he's sleeping a lot more, and becoming a little less steady on his feet. BUT, he's still following Babaloo and I around, still wagging his tail, still has a glossy look in his eye. Most importantly he does not appear to be in any pain. He's just kinda laying around like a senior dog should. We've begun talking about the final days, and if I should take him in versus letting nature take its course. Earlier today I spoke with the vet's office. She explained to me that unfortunately even though he is not suffering now, that he will begin going through dehydration, which she stated would result in suffering for him, something that I don't want. She said from the sounds of it, he's not quite ready to go yet, but we're looking at 24 to 48 hours now. (It's important to note here that I have said from day one the moment I think he is suffering, I will take him to the vet to be put down.) She explained to me the process for euthanizing a dog, and that my vet's office is willing to make a house call (!) to assist the family with comfort. We talked about final arrangements. I've decided I would like Otis to be cremated, and I think that I would like for his ashes to be returned to me.

Drum and I got Otis two days after 9/11. We were blessed to get him through Pug Rescue of Tampa Bay. He had been found wandering in the woods of Pasco County for what was probably weeks. He was gaunt and missing hair, and only 13 pounds when they gave him to us. We eventually got him up to 23 at his biggest, and while he was a pain in the ass at times, he is/was our pain in the ass. (I have offered for Drum to be present when we say goodbye to Otis, feeling it only right that he have a chance to say goodbye to him. He said he thinks he would like to be here.)

Otis is the first dog I have ever had, and this experience is something I never thought I would be going through. You kinda forget about this part when you get a dog, that they have shorter life expectancies than humans do. To say I am sad would be an understatement. I have a headache from crying all day, talking to people on the phone and keeping them up to date. Everyone keeps telling me I'll know when it's time to make that last call. I can feel that time getting closer. And it sucks.

So, while we taped 115 last night (pretty good show, if I do say so myself) and I will be editing it, it may be a little while before it gets to all of you. I'm thanking you all now for your support. I've said before we have the greatest listeners in the world, and I mean that. I know some of you will be thinking of Otis, and praying for him or whatever your belief system allows for. Just please take care of your pets, be it dog, cat, parakeet or snake.

Thank you all for letting me vent about this. I was feeling like I couldn't get anything done today until I got this off my chest.

Oh, and, because this is, you know, a blog for a comedy show, let me end with this. If anyone sends me a note or comment that involves the words "Rainbow Bridge" in it, I will personally fly to wherever you are, knock on your door, and when you open it, punch you in the throat. I hate that poem.



Melissa said...

Poor little guy. :( And poor you! You've given him a great life with lots of love and that's really all that matters. I'm glad you were able to have all of that extra time together. My thoughts will be with you over the next few weeks.

erik98122 said...

oh man this just brought me to tears! I don't usually have the time to comment on here (sue me! I'm lazy listener!)but I wanted to thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry to hear Otis is having such a rough time of it. It's never easy to see your "kids" going through something like this. I'm just glad Otis has two great dads to look after him. I wish you guys all the best. Give Otis lots of love!

erik the Seattle

Kristen said...

So sorry, sweetie. It's such a hard decision to make, but you know when the time is right, to do best by your doggie and to be the good owner that you are.

But it doesn't make it any less sad. Take care of yourself too.

Crystal in Buford said...

Oh, Taylor, I am so sorry for you, Babaloo and Drum. It is hard watch a pet have to go through all of that and to also have to make the final call. We lost our dog last August and after 12 years it was hard to let go of my first baby. My thoughts are with you and Babaloo and Drum.

Cassie said...

((((HUGS)))) to you all. I'm so sorry, Taylor.

Oh and thanks for making me cry at work fucker.

[LaLa] Lauren said...

I know how hard it is to see a pet suffer, then have to make that hard decision. You just have to know that in the end, you decided what was best for your pup, and know that he won't suffer anymore. My thoughts are with you!

Kelly said...

I am so sorry to hear this Taylor. It brings back memories of having to put my dalmation to sleep a few years back. It is such a difficult thing to do. You, Babaloo and Drum are in my prayers. Much love


M said...

I am sorry to hear about Otis. My heart goes out to you, Babaloo and Drum. You guys and Otis will be in my thoughts.

brothercasey said...


You are not alone in your sorrow. I have lost a Fraternity brother, so I am also in mourning. I am very sorry that you are losing Otis. But, you were a great Daddy to him and you showed him all the love he needed. Be thankful for the time you had with him. I hurts, and that sucks, but at least we are capable of loving, and that pain reminds us that we are open to love. I wish the best for you, Drum, Babaloo, and anyone else who is affected by this loss. My heart goes out to you, my friend.

jcallwrt said...

So sorry to hear Taylor... Thoughts and prayers for Otis and his parents.

Taffy said...

This is Tank,
I love you guys. Let me know if there is anything I can help with.

Melanie said...

Sweetie, I'm so very sorry. Otis has always sounded like one heck of a pug.

Were Mean Because Youre Stupid said...

I'm sorry to hear about Otis. I've had to make those final decisions for sick, suffering pets, and it's in all honesty the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Harder than losing my human relatives somehow. Maybe because I had to be the one to make the decision, maybe because your dog is there for you daily in a way that a lot of human relatives aren't. (I know that sounds weird, but it's true for me, I don't know about you)

My thoughts are with you.

xoxo Holly

Fairy Princess Holly said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Otis.

xoxo Holly

Mandie said...

Taylor, I am so sorry for you, Babaloo and Drum. I know how hard it is to do something like this. you are all in my thoughts. You will know when its time to let Otis go before he is suffering, it is one of the hardest decisions you will make, especially when they are like your kids. It makes things a little easier when you know that your pet will always be with you in its own way. I will be thinking of you guys often during this time.


Pat Gaik said...

Sending all the positive thoughts I can muster your way.



Cheryl Wade said...

I am soo sorry. Please give him a scritch behind the ears from me. I will be thinking about you.


Thom Takes On The World said...


I have learned that the amount of grief and heart wrenching pain that you now and will feel is proportionate to the amount of love that you have given. Though it's certainly not a good feeling, know that it validates just how big your heart is.

Hugs to you.

Looking forward nonetheless to seeing you in a week and half.

Hurting with you here in Nashville,


Christopher in San Francisco said...


I'm so very sorry to hear about Otis. I've been through exactly what you're going through now and I know how difficult it is. The one thing that really helped me was the support from my family/friends. I didn't have a podcast, so I didn't have listener support....but this is one listener that is send you a great big HUG!! Lots of love and prayers from me to you!


Christopher in San Francisco

Nessa said...

Sending warm thoughts your way. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

Ricky B said...


I am so sorry to hear of this. We were just talking about it a few weeks ago. I got teary eyed when you were telling us about it. Sending some positive vibes your way. I hope you feel better soon!


Sevi said...

I am so sorry to hear about Otis but thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the wonderful story of Otis. Everyone says that animals are lucky to be found but it sounds as if you were the lucky one instead.

Take care and remember Otis may have passed from us here but he is always with you in spirit. Don't be suprised if you walk into a room and his spirit is looking back at you. Dogs are amazing animals. Hugs Sweety.

Mel McP said...

Oh, no. Just wanted to say you guys are in my thoughts and I'm so sorry about little Otis. He had a great life with you. Sending lots of good vibes your way.

RambleRedhead said...

I want to say that thanks for sharing your story about Otis with us. I can totally understand what you are going through.

Joe and I adopted our dog Starbuck a while ago and although he would chew up shoes, shit and piss everywhere, and bark and jump on guests as they walk in the door - I still love him with all my heart just like you all did with Otis. They are part of your family and it is sad when this happens.

I wish you all the very best and hope you will take comfort that all of us around the world do care about you all as well.