In July 2017, someone spotted an energetic dog running loose on Grand Mesa near Scotland Trail. Good Samaritans gave the friendly animal a ride to town and Otto became a resident at the Surface Creek Animal Shelter in Cedaredge waiting for his owners to turn up or for a new family to adopt him.
Jacki Dapkus is board secretary for the Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control (FCAC), the agency that operates the nonprofit shelter, and she knows Otto well. She reported that the dog had an implanted chip which was registered in Florida, but efforts to contact the owners proved unsuccessful. Last year things were looking up for Otto when some local folks adopted him. Unfortunately they had to bring him back. The people loved the dog but he was incompatible with the family's other pets so Otto was returned to the shelter and again, he waited.
Animals that end up at the small all-volunteer shelter are usually adopted quickly. Half of stray dogs are claimed by owners within 48 hours. In 2016 the average stray stayed two weeks with the longest stay lasting a month. For Otto, the wait stretched to five months.
Otto is two years old. He's a big dog, a black-mouthed cur weighing in at 70 pounds. Typically curs are working dogs. The shelter's Facebook page described Otto's personality:
"His temperament is pretty consistent with a cur ... fearless, trainable, protective, loyal, active, kind. He loves his walks, can scale a chain link fence, will protect his person, is gentle and loveable. Otto is fit as a fiddle, energetic and well-mannered. He is a dominant dog with a reserved personality. Otto would do great as the only animal in an active household. He would love exercise, a ranch lifestyle and people to love on. Otto has good house manners too!"
And the dog was patient. Visitors to the shelter were liable to find Otto standing on top of his dog house watching diligently for the volunteers who took him for long walks twice daily. Or maybe he was keeping an eye out for that special someone because his wait ended this week when he finally got adopted again. And this time it looks like Otto hit the jackpot. The shelter reports that, as of Jan. 1, the dog that no one seemed to want has a great home and a brand new job, something he'll be good at. It's a supervisory position keeping an eye on an eight-acre orchard.
The Surface Creek Animal Shelter houses dogs and cats and anyone interested in adopting a pet can visit daily from 8 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. The shelter is located at 265 SE High Country Avenue in Cedaredge and can be reached at 856-2346. The shelter website (surfacecreekanimalshelter.org) also highlights available pets.