GREENSBORO, NC - "As the sun started setting Sunday, my wife Meredith and I held our sweet, gentle Otis as he slipped away to our creator. We loved on him like he loved on us. We wanted him to pass knowing just how loved he was and we thanked him for the joy he gave us and so many others."
Otis Tucker, the beloved rescued dog of a local anchor in Greensboro, North Carolina, Chad Tucker, became a favorite with viewers on-air and online passed away Sunday evening at the age of 9. Otis would have been 10 in July.
Chad made the announcement on his Facebook page saying Otis had suffered from diabetes, Cushing's disease and, in the past week, rapid kidney failure.
Otis was a Jack Russell/Bichon Frise mix. He was rescued by Chad in 2006 when Otis was just 6 weeks old. "Otis was my constant. When I would come home depressed, heartbroken and feeling like a failure there was Otis. He listened to all my troubles and loved me when I didn't love myself. "
Otis' bucket list weekend included the morning air atop Pilot Mountain, taking a long afternoon nap under a black walnut tree in Stokes County and enjoying long car rides through the foothills. The family stopped for ice cream, visited his favorite bank teller and one night Chad sat up holding Otis till 3:00 a.m.
"I could talk for forever about my buddy, but when I say he rescued me. I really mean it," said Tucker. "We have another mix-breed rescue named Lucy at home. I'm sure we will adopt again... though it will probably take a while of healing first."
Since the post was drafted to Chad's Facebook page on Wednesday, he has received thousands of condolences from as far away as Australia, London, Turkey, San Juan and Brazil.
"I've had many, many messages from people saying Otis' story has inspired them to consider giving their pet a "bucket list weekend" when the time comes. I've also had people message me saying my story has helped them in dealing with the loss of their pet."
Chad is hoping one day to write a children's book about Otis' friendship with his daughter.
I want to thank Chad for sharing his personal story of Otis with me. I am also proud owner of two bichons, so I connected with Chad immediately after I saw his post in a Facebook group.
The family is asking that donations be made in Memory of Otis to the Friends of the Stokes County Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 1807, King, NC 27021 or the The Sergei Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 17256, Winston-Salem, NC 27116.