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Omaha Magazine

Not Funny: It's a Dog's Life

Oct 29, 2020 03:47PM ● By Otis Twelve
Otis Twelve column photo

And (to mix my metaphors) since birds of a feather flock together, most of my friends are dog people, too. Now, it is true that a few of them have ancillary cats. That is, those cats are just “add-ons” and are relegated to subsidiary roles in the household—a lot like Gunther on Friends. I’m able to overlook the litter box in the corner and grant those friends full “dog person” status. I am a very open-minded person, but please don’t presume to think that I will accept anyone who keeps budgies. I am adamantly opposed to the domestication of budgerigars. I don’t care how many dogs you own if you have even one single caged, long-tailed, seedeater in your house, then you are a bird person and I cast you out.

Recently a friend’s precious furry companion crossed that Rainbow Bridge. He was a sad-eyed, floppy-eared drooler, and a whine-in-the-middle-of-the-night mutt. How could anyone not love that, right? This dog of his, named Frederick the Pretty Great, had this way of looking deep into your eyes…deeper and deeper…his eyes glowing like the calm surface of a peaceful lake at sunset…deeper and deeper…Before you knew it, you came to in the pet aisle at the grocery store with a package of Beggin’ Strips in your hand, unsure of how exactly you got there.

Needless to say, my friend was bereft. The void a dog leaves behind is a large one. I know it’s sad when your favorite cat passes too, but hey, like I said. It’s just like a scene in the Central Perk without Gunther. When a dog dies, it’s like Old Yeller every time.

(Great, now I’ve got Phoebe’s voice in my head…Smelly cat, smelly cat…The only cure is to remember Ross. Shudder…I hate Ross.)

Frederick the Pretty Great has crossed over. Sad. It made me think of the dogs I’ve known and loved. There was Robespierre, my mom’s poodle, who specialized in running out onto a nearby golf course and snatching tee shots while they were still rolling, returning every Titleist and Callaway thus captured to one of our basement window wells. Next came Abbey Road, my giant St. Bernard, who loved joining my neighbors on their screened porches by walking through the screen. Another favorite joined me at my “starter home,” Glorf, the Dead Martian Dog, who I got at the pound to keep rabbits out of my garden only to find him helping the evil cottontails by digging up the carrots for them. I will never forget Clinton, the two-termed pet—constantly in trouble but only more lovable with every misadventure. My dogs…I have loved them all.

Presently I am living with Fay Wray, the blonde dog named after the actress who made King Kong’s giant fingers famous. Fay is now of advanced years. She is blind. She is deaf. She snores like a longshoreman sleeping off a cocaine binge. She gets lost on the patio, trapped in corners, stranded on her favorite chair, but she can always find her food dish at suppertime. She’s a mess, kind of like me these days. And I love her. We can see the bridge ahead…but not yet.  

Isn’t that the sweetest time, the “not yet?” 

Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. Visit for more information.

This article was printed in the November/December 2020 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.