Corie Odden WPAW

Dads Do the Tough Stuff

October 19, 2017

Last weekend, my Parents said goodbye to someone very special to them and to me as well - our family dog, Otis. Otis was the last dog my parents had when my little brother and I still lived at home. So in a sense, it's like saying goodbye to an era. My brother and I have grown up, gotten married and started families (including new dogs) of our own. It's not the first time we've lost a dog... there have been several over the years, some sudden and others like Otis - slow into his old age, all of which felt like losing a family member. If you're not a dog person, then you won’t understand. My family has treated our dogs like actual family members since I can remember. They not only stay inside the house, they also sit by us on the couch and even sleep in our beds. So when it's time for them to pass on, their absence is greatly felt! 

Somehow, this time felt different. I realized it's my Dad who handles the real stuff when we lose a pet. Yes, we're all grieving, but he's the one who hides his tears from the rest of us. He's the one who delicately buries our pet- away from the rest of us. It's always been him over the years... every. single. pet. From dogs to hamsters, turtles and birds. We've had lots of pets and we've lost them all. Dad is the one who handles clean up so the rest of us can remember them as they were when they were alive. Maybe it's a special thing that's just built into Dad's. A gentle strength that can wipe away little kid's tears with a smile, knowing that deep inside they're crying too. 

My Mother told me that she caught a glimpse of my Dad walking down to that special resting place in the woods where we know Otis was buried, with flowers in his hands. Those strong workin' man hands have seen more 16 hour hard work days than I can imagine and still managed to come home every night of my childhood, wash up and help with dinner and homework... and play with the dog! 

Corie Odden WPAW