Heartfelt Tribute To Family Dog Who’d Passed Away Has Touched Thousands

When our time together ends, as it is expected to one day, I hope the good memories we share will overpower the grief, the loss, and the unknown. It is difficult to stay positive and grateful in the light of devastation, however, it is possible, as we’ll see in the story that I bring you today.

A sportscaster for ESPN and his family had recently lost their dog to illness and instead of his usual program, he cherished the life of Otis, the dog, in a touching tribute.

Do grab the tissues for this one as it’s an incredibly heartfelt moment that will make you curse at the onion ninjas. Your support in the form of upvotes, follows, and comments is much appreciated. Without further ado, let’s remember Otis for the best dog that he was.

More info: YouTube

Scott Van Pelt, an ESPN sportscaster, along with his family, had to say their goodbyes to their family dog Otis

Heartfelt Tribute To Family Dog Who’d Passed Away Has Touched Thousands

Image credits: notthefakeSVP

At the beginning of May, ESPN sportscaster Scott Van Pelt brought viewers to a matter close to his heart. He dedicated the segment of One Big Thing to remember and cherish the life of his family dog Otis, who’d sadly passed away at the end of April.

The dog, as said by Scott, was “the corner puzzle piece. So much of what mattered to our family.”

Scott decided to honor the pup’s life in a moving tribute during his segment, called One Big Thing

Heartfelt Tribute To Family Dog Who’d Passed Away Has Touched Thousands

Image credits: ESPN

The heartwarming tribute featured a few of Scott’s favorite memories with Otis, as well as a dozen pictures of happy times spent together. He began by saying, “I apologize in advance for however this goes,” as he’d been crying just writing the speech for the segment.

But regardless, he continued, saying: “A few years ago I wrote about my dad on the anniversary of his passing, which wasn’t easy but this is more difficult, because any time I wrote anything for this show, sitting behind me in my office in his spot on the leather chair, was Otis the dog. And that thing is worn in like a catcher’s mitt because of him.”

During the pandemic, when the world continued over Zoom calls, Otis was always there in the background, keeping Scott company and making sure he was doing a good job. Sometimes calm and restful, other times – moving about and grooming himself. ‘Tis the life of a dog and we were all invited to witness it.

The pair had spent lots of time together, especially during the pandemic, when Otis joined in on Scott’s Zoom calls

Heartfelt Tribute To Family Dog Who’d Passed Away Has Touched Thousands

Image credits: ESPN

Their journey together began soon after Scott’s wedding. He explained that they saw the dog as a first step before having kids, as a means to “make sure you can take care of something and keep it alive.” However, it seemed to be a struggle, as Otis endured battle after battle, in the forms of surgery and illness.

“He had so many surgeries we lost count,” Scott said. “We jokingly started referring to him as Otis the bullet dodger. He fought through so much and just kept on trucking. But nobody dodges them all. And when yet another tumor arrived, it turned out to be the bullet with his name on it.”

And thus, they had to say goodbye to the King of the household. The sportscaster described the moment as one which made him cry more than he ever had before, enduring “such profound sadness over a love that was so damn pure.”

He continued to say that Otis was never mad at him, always looking forward to seeing his owner after a day at work. “Nothing we do could earn what our dogs give away to us for free,” he said. “That level of love and loyalty and so many of you know what I am talking about.”

Otis had been incredible with the family’s three children. Gentle, patient and forgiving. It was very painful explaining to them that their friend was gone

Image credits: ESPN

Before having Otis, Scott read many moving tributes that his viewers had sent in, but he’d never understood the levels of grief until the moment he lost Otis. He continued to say, “I always felt badly for you, but I had no idea honestly. And I wish I didn’t know now. The truth of the matter is that the only thing our dogs have to do to take up this much room in our hearts and in our souls, is be ours.”

The patience and protective nature of Otis was mentioned next. As Scott’s family grew with a daughter and two sons, Otis seemed incredibly gentle with his little siblings.

Regardless of how much the kids “pummeled him and climbed on him and pestered him, he never so much as showed his teeth.” Scott even imitated a little growl Otis used to do, as it was the only bit of protest against the kids’ advances.

“How do you make it make sense to them? Hell, how do I make it make sense to me?” Scott questioned

Image credits: ESPN

Though Scott tried his best to withhold them, the tears came through at the end. “Trying to explain his absence to my children was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “How do you make it make sense to them? Hell, how do I make it make sense to me?”

Scott believes that the simplest explanation for all of it is the fact that loving anything strongly is the best part of life, even knowing that, at some point, there will be a goodbye.

He couldn’t hold back the tears thinking about their close companionship and the void his absence left in Scott’s and his family’s life

Image credits: ESPN

One of the most heartbreaking moments in the segment was Scott’s realization that his routine would be changed forever. “When I get home from the show late at night, I’d sit in a chair in a room off of our kitchen in the dark and I’d wait to hear the click of his nails on the floor.”

“And then he barreled down the stairs, tail going like a helicopter. And he’d head butt my knee again and again like he was saying ‘give me some love, papa, and some treats!’ alright big fella! I got plenty of both.” The importance of such little things cannot be understated as their loss weighs deeply on one’s existence.

“After the show tonight, I’d rather drive all the way from DC to the Pacific Ocean instead of taking a short ride home where I’m going to sit in the dark waiting for my Otie boy,” Scott said.

But as difficult as it was, he looked on the bright side, saying that “If this hurt is the cost of the transaction for being on the receiving end of a mighty love that I got to know in Otis the dog, then I pay it with enormous gratitude. Because, even though I’m crying, I was just so happy he was ours and I’m so happy that we were his.”

But regardless of the pain of loss and the grief, Scott would do it all again to feel the unconditional love that Otis had to offer

The tribute brought us all closer to what it feels like to grieve the loss of a family pet. Whether a pet owner or not, we can empathize with him, as most of us have said goodbye to a person, thing, or animal we cherished.

Scott finished the segment with: “I stared into the eyes of Otis the dog and into his soul and I promised him again and again ‘yours is going to forever live in mine.’”

Help Guide states that the pain of loss can feel overwhelming, making a person experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness, as well as it affecting your physical state.

Scott finished the segment, saying: “I stared into the eyes of Otis the dog and into his soul and I promised him again and again ‘yours is going to forever live in mine’”

Image credits: ESPN

While it is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain and come to terms with grief, however, it is important to note that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve.

Most importantly, you must be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold, as it might take months or years to heal. Help Guide lists a few ways of coping, as well as provides helplines that might be of use, so make sure to click the highlighted text to go to their page.

We wish Scott and his family strength and peace during this time, as well as anyone else grieving the loss of a loved one

Image credits: notthefakeSVP

Losing a loved one is devastating. There are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ there. And whilst the void of their presence continues to engulf us, happy memories with them can soften the edges of loss. Our beloved deserve to be remembered and as long as we do, they continue to live on.

You can watch the full tribute here


We wish Scott and his family strength, peace and healing during this time. I’d also like to extend those wishes to anyone grieving at the moment.

People have sent their love and shared their own stories. Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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Written by Jone Dark

Meet Jone Dark, the passionate blogger behind heartwarming tales of dogs and pets. Hailing from Ca, Jone's love for animals led them to create a captivating online space. Through vivid storytelling, Jone's blog explores the joy, challenges, and unique stories within the canine world. Beyond the virtual realm, Jone actively supports animal welfare and adoption initiatives. Join Jone Dark in celebrating the remarkable bond between humans and their furry companions on their blog, where every dog's story is a tale worth telling.

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