I am on the train heading back to Ottawa. This was an unexpected trip, hence taking the train and the fact that Max is currently at home. My parents called on Saturday to let me know that our family dog, Ozzie was diagnosed with lymphoma and that they decided to have him put to sleep on Monday.
Ozzie was born in 2002, as a Australian Shepherd Beagle mix, and was placed in a local pet store for sale. A family picked him up, but after a few days decided that dog ownership was not for them and asked their friends if anyone wanted a dog. My parents were always looking at the local shelters to see what dogs were available, but never settled on one to take home. One day after my shift at Wal-mart, my parents picked me up with a surprise. I opened the door and there was a little puppy sleeping in my seat. The kicker? I was due to leave for university in two weeks. I took it that the dog was my replacement 🙂
Ozzie was named partially because he was part-Australian shepherd but also because we were a tinsy bit obsessed with watching Ozzy Osbourne’s family reality TV show.
For the next few years, Ozzie would be a hyperactive dog who liked to get himself in trouble. Ozzy throughly enjoyed eating garbage, shoes, the cat food and anything that was left on the counter (including sticks of butter). No matter how many times he threw up because he ate bad things – he continued to do it every single time. He even ate one of Max’s diapers last year. One of the more panic-inducing events was when he decided to eat a whole box of dark chocolate, brandy-filled chocolates. After a call to the vet yelling “omg, I think my dog is drunk!”, I gathered that he would be fine and he would just be a bit hyper. For that night I called him Flash Dog, because he was moving up and down the stairs rather quickly that night.
After his first couple of years, my parents saw how good Ozzie was with children and older people. After a couple of inquiries, they decided to see if Ozzie qualified for the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs program. Qualifying meant that Ozzie had to keep his cool under stressful conditions, including having a bed pan dropped beside him. He made the program and soon was traveling to various retirement homes making people’s days a bit brighter. For the past little while, on top of his usual visits to the homes, he also started visiting the Trillium Queensway hospital as well. Ozzie knew this time as “work” and he was always excited to visit his people. My Dad and Ozzie logged hundreds of volunteer hours, walked in a few parades and also won a volunteering award.
Ozzie was a great family dog. He never bit, rarely growled (except at door to door salespeople) and was always there to greet you when you walked in the door with a doggy smile and wagging tail. Ozzie will be greatly missed.