Tag Archives: scarlett and otto

Identity Theft

I think Otto might be having an identity crisis. He hasn’t said anything specific about it, but Scarlett changes his name nearly every day and I just feel that this must be confusing. Sometimes she calls him “Sticks” and other times she affectionately refers to him as “Phinneas.” She has spent hours telling him that his name is “Bernice”, and I once caught her chasing him in the backyard with a stick screaming “COME BACK, PROFESSOR!”

In case that thing about the stick alarms you, let me assure you that the professor was having the time of his life.

But really, what’s in a name? An Otto by any other name still farts as much. I guess I’ve been thinking about identity a lot lately, because there is so much wrapped up into what we consider our self, and it’s undeniable that parts of myself are slipping away from me. I’ve never been someone who dwells in the past, at least I wasn’t until I got ALS. Now I look back with a nostalgia typically reserved for someone who has lived twice as long as I have. I have never wanted to go backward, but I would like to go forward differently. I would like to feel more like me.

The writer Gerda Saunders recently published a book called Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on my Dementia. I read a review of the book and was struck by the following phrase: Read More>

Stress Balls

I’m sick of thinking about ALS this week. I feel like I live in a land of meaningless press releases and articles promising breakthroughs that never come. It’s hard to stay positive, easy to get cynical. And from there it’s a slippery slope to downright depression. I don’t want to go to that place.

So let’s talk about Otto. He is 10 months old and still not neutered, because there has been some discrepancy between the information we received from our vet to chop him at six months and Rob’s research indicating that waiting longer would be better for the shape of Otto’s head or something like that. I mostly stay out of the conversation, because the presence of dog testicles doesn’t really affect my life on a daily basis.

That is, until we were trying to plan our latest trip to Lake Tahoe, and no one would take our horny, humping, aggressive maniac. Otto went to two different “auditions” at small home-based kennels that claimed to be happy to care for an unfixed puppy. After both attempts, he was gently invited to find somewhere else to stay. One woman said, “He’s a beautiful dog…and he knows it.” Read More>

Who Is In Charge Here?

Scarlett and Otto were lying on the living room rug the other day, her head leaning against him, his tail thumping lazily on the floor. Rob sat on the couch above them, part of this suddenly serene moment that I watched from my vantage point at the dining room table. Our house is basically one big room, so that even when we’re in separate spots, we’re all together. This has its upsides and its downsides. But when everyone is behaving calmly and cutely, it’s mostly upside.

Then. “Let’s get a new dog,” Scarlett declared. “I don’t want this one anymore. He’s too aggressive.” Otto remained beneath her, looking to me as if he was doing his best impression of the coffee table, a weathered wooden semi sphere that has never been known for its forcefulness.

Scarlett is off school all week, and Rob is taking the week off from work, too. It’s heaven for Otto, who gets much more attention when the two of them are home. This morning, Scarlett is playing at a friend’s house, but Rob took the dog to a nearby park to run him around and exhaust him, in hopes that he will stop eating pieces of pizza off the kitchen counter. “Don’t leave them there,” I said futilely. Read More>