Thelma outweighs Otis by at least forty pounds, and is infinitely more bulky. But I don’t want to downplay Otis’ strengths. He might be a squirt, but he is smart, a fast learner, and he can manufacture smells capable of bringing the most hardened shrimp boat captain to his knees.

The last thing we needed was another puppy.

This whole day seems like a blur. I woke up, ate breakfast, read the sports page, took a shower. And (snap!) I have two puppies. It all happened so fast, I’ve forgotten my own name.

The puppy’s name is Otis Campbell. He is black, with white socks, and a snow-white belly. He is part Labrador.

Otis has the disposition of your classic dog. Calm. Quiet. Loyal. Big eyes. He has a sixth sense for things like human emotion, basic spirituality, and how to rip stuffing from residential sofas.

It all started when my wife and I visited a puppy adoption fair today. This was a bad idea.

There were several cars in the parking lot. And inside were people from all walks of life.

A young couple in Spandex workout attire wandered the cell blocks. They poked fingers through cages. They spoke in high-pitched voices.

A red headed little boy held a terrier mutt who looked like a malnourished Benji.

“He likes me, mom,” said the boy. “He licked me, look! He likes me.”

A young woman and her daughter sat in a kennel with a puppy so skinny you could see its skeleton. It was missing hair, and looked sick.

I asked about this dog.

“Yeah, he’s sweet,” said one volunteer. “He came to us half-starved.”

This upsets me.

There were dogs with names like “Pete,” “Sam,” “Duke,” and “Scruffy.” They watched me walk by with wide eyes and sad stares.

Many of these pups will not be adopted, the volunteers tell me. Many stay in shelters long enough to learn to prefer sleeping in concrete corners.

“Please, mom,” said the redhead again. “He’s so pretty, I promise I’ll take care of him.”

The mother shook her head. She said, “Put him down, I said we were only going to LOOK today.”

The boy’s face fell a hundred stories.

And that’s when it happened.

My wife said, “Come here, Sean.”

She saw a dog nosing a ball in his kennel. The little guy was running in circles, entertaining himself.

The volunteer let us into the pen, then read the dog’s chart from a clipboard. “He’s only three months old,” the volunteer said. “He’s got big paws, doesn’t he?

“Someone found him on the side of the road. He was just kinda walking around lost. Hungry.”

My wife got down on her haunches. The dog came to her.

“Sit,” my wife said.

He sat.

She tossed a toy.

He brought it back.

We signed the paperwork.

When we got home, our house became the unadulterated worldwide nervecenter for chaos. Within our four walls is nothing but puppy breath, bags of food, water bowls, leashes hanging from lamps, bacon-flavored dog treats, and it smells like a Junior Varsity locker room.

Thelma Lou and Otis played hard today. They rolled in the dirt, chewing on each other for nearly two hours. Then they fell asleep in awkward positions.

Thelma laid on top of Otis. Otis’ tail was in her mouth. She snored. Otis had dreams that made his body jerk.

Thelma outweighs Otis by at least forty pounds, and is infinitely more bulky. But I don’t want to downplay Otis’ strengths. He might be a squirt, but he is smart, a fast learner, and he can manufacture smells capable of bringing the most hardened shrimp boat captain to his knees.

And he is a friend. For the entire day, Otis stuck beside Thelma like a shadow. A very rambunctious, bow-legged shadow. Whenever he looked at Thelma Lou, you could see admiration in his eyes.

You see, to us, Thelma Lou is seventy pounds of stink and slobber. To Otis, Thelma Lou is a Great American. When she runs, he runs. When she howls, he barks. When she rolls in poop, he waits his turn.

After a full day of play, Otis fell asleep on my wife’s lap. Otis kept his head on her arm, and a weak smile on his face. He breathed so gentle he sounded like a newborn.

Thus, there are two animals sleeping in our living room. Two loud, obnoxious, snoring animals.

The last thing we needed in our lives was another dog. Thank God we got one anyway.

Welcome to the family, Otis Campbell.

59 comments

  1. Pamela McEachern - September 2, 2018 5:47 am

    You two are the best! I always thought it was easier to have multiples and boy have I had them. This is another Blessing for all. Good night Otis Campbell and Thelma Lou…the Dietrich house will never be the same💕

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
    • Sherry - September 3, 2018 2:13 am

      Love, happiness & prayers answered ❤️❤️

      Reply
  2. Jeanne Butler - September 2, 2018 5:53 am

    So awesome. God bless you and Jamie for taking home Otis Campbell. You will never regret it. Love

    Reply
  3. Diane - September 2, 2018 6:26 am

    Oh my goodness! Welcome to the world Otis Campbell. I think you just won the lottery! But, I hope you don’t inherit your namesake’s bad habits. 🐾❤️🐾

    Reply
  4. Leslie in NC - September 2, 2018 6:31 am

    Oh boy, can’t wait to read your stories about Thel and Otis’ big adventures! Thank you, Sean & Jamie, for opening your hearts and home to another fur baby in need of a loving family.

    Reply
  5. Cathi - September 2, 2018 7:51 am

    Yay Otis!!! Thelma is gonna love having a brother & your life is going to get infinitely more interesting. Thank you for adopting Otis!

    Reply
  6. Sandi in FL. - September 2, 2018 8:24 am

    I’m guessing that within a week Otis will be just as spoiled as Thelma!

    Reply
  7. Bonnie - September 2, 2018 9:42 am

    Welcome Otis!! You have been adopted by the best 2 people ever and gained a sister Thelma!

    Reply
  8. Alison - September 2, 2018 10:08 am

    Congratulations to you and Jamie on the new addition! I’m sure I’m not the only reader that would LOVE to see a picture of these two dogs together!!! Please take a picture and run it with your next story about Otis and Thelma Lou’s grand adventures.

    Reply
  9. Kelly - September 2, 2018 10:36 am

    Congratulations! This made me so happy this morning. Welcome, Otis Campbell – you have found the best forever home! I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures with Thelma Lou and your new family!

    Reply
  10. Dewey Fleetwood - September 2, 2018 10:46 am

    Love it, I think y’all might be kinfolks, my kind of life.

    Reply
  11. Karen - September 2, 2018 11:00 am

    Otis has won the lottery. He and Thelma Lou will be buds. I am so glad you and Jamie made this choice.

    Reply
  12. Jo Ann - September 2, 2018 11:03 am

    Welcome, Otis. How wonderful, more puppy stories!

    Reply
  13. GaryD - September 2, 2018 11:43 am

    Pictures, please. 📸😀

    Reply
  14. Janie's Jottings - September 2, 2018 11:53 am

    Yes, yes, yes!!!

    Reply
  15. Nita Stacey - September 2, 2018 12:08 pm

    I read your story about Otis sitting on my back porch with a cup of coffee and my rescue pup Kota, while my purchased pup, Angus, still sleeps. Kota was classified as a biter but I decided to take a chance on him anyway. He had been starved and mistreated but today, after 5 months of enough to eat and plenty of love he’s the sweetest fur baby I’ve ever had. Where I am so is he. Thanks for sharing your sweet story and thanks to you and Jamie for rescuing Otis Campbell. We want to see pictures.

    Reply
  16. Joy - September 2, 2018 12:13 pm

    Loved this story…as I do all of them! Sean you are gifted and so willing to share it with us. Would love to see pictures of Thelma and Otis. You and Jamie have wonderful hearts. Even though I don’t know you personally, in my heart we are brother and sister! Keep the stories coming….you always touch my heart and bring back memories.

    Reply
  17. Terri C Boykin - September 2, 2018 12:24 pm

    This makes me so happy, congratulations!
    Love you much, Sean.

    Reply
  18. Sandra Smith - September 2, 2018 12:47 pm

    Already in love with Otis Campbell ! Can’t wait for more adventures of he & Ms Thelma Lou !
    I’m in the process of becoming a Foster Fail, I’m pretty sure. Found Walter on the side of the road, skinnier than a keen switch. Came right to me. (First uh-oh) Walked into my house, immediately, house trained (neener,neener, neener) (second uh-oh) and is part lab, part mystery, and loves to cuddle….if I could just get him to swear off the litter box !
    Oh, the joy of puppies ! 😱

    Reply
  19. Jackye Thompson - September 2, 2018 12:51 pm

    God Bless you for new arrival of Otis .I wish all puppies had. A forever home and love.
    Jackye

    Reply
  20. Connie Havard Ryland - September 2, 2018 1:00 pm

    Sounds so familiar. One of our babies is here because we “were just going to look” then he walked to the edge of the crate and laid his head in my hand. He was 3 years old and had just been rescued from a shelter on his last day on earth, for them. He’s been with us 3 years. His little sister was abandoned on the side of the road at just 1 pound. She’s been with us 2 years and now weighs 10 pounds. They are best friends. And they let us live with them. I love you and Jamie and your big hearts.

    Reply
  21. Lisa Perkins - September 2, 2018 1:11 pm

    You guys are awesome! Thank you for saving this pup and giving Otis and Thelma a wonderful life full of love, attention and comfort. The world needs more of you both!

    Reply
  22. Melanie - September 2, 2018 1:12 pm

    Yay!!! Another pup!!! Joy abounds for all in the Dietrich household. Thank you both for opening your hearts and home. As you well know, you are rewarded a million times over. So happy for the whole family! ❤️

    Reply
  23. Pecos Kate - September 2, 2018 1:22 pm

    Sound like Otis is a “Mama’s Boy”. Now Jamie has her own puppy to love on.

    Congratulations!

    Reply
  24. Shirley Brown - September 2, 2018 1:36 pm

    A houseful of love? What’s not wrong with this picture?

    Reply
  25. perry5360 - September 2, 2018 1:47 pm

    Hahaha. Love it . I am the proud mother of three of the awfullest dogs and cannot wait to get home everyday and just be home with my kids. Good for You!👍🏻

    Reply
  26. Donna - September 2, 2018 1:49 pm

    Otis Campbell and Thelma Lou: could there be any two greater names?! I ‘m a firm believer that our furry companions deserve two names… it helps them express their gellical side!! SO. Otis Campbell: welcome to Sean & Jamie’s world!! Great Blessings upon the Dietrich household.

    Reply
  27. Jack Darnell - September 2, 2018 1:53 pm

    YOu got it. I like the name, sounds familiar. I’m glad Thelma lou has a friend now she ain’t stuck with you all the timel LOL Good for you!

    Reply
  28. Martha D Laska - September 2, 2018 1:59 pm

    As my sweet aging Peaches lays at my aging feet I wonder about puppies and new and all the joy and work. Time will tell.

    Reply
  29. Kathy Wolfe - September 2, 2018 1:59 pm

    I’m so happy Thelma Lou got a little brother!!! My grandson volunteers at the humane society in our town and he and I pray for the sweeties by name. He teaches them basic skills so they will be adoptable but some need special prayer to achieve the happy ending.

    Reply
  30. Sharon and Kelley Carter - September 2, 2018 2:41 pm

    Pictures on Sean Dietrich facebook, the whole gang.

    Reply
  31. Edna B. - September 2, 2018 3:15 pm

    Congratulations! Otis sounds just awesome! You and Jamie are so blessed with both your doggies. I wish you many years of happiness with them. Every doggie deserves a nice home with a loving family. Sean, you have a great day! Hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  32. sholmes53 - September 2, 2018 3:35 pm

    Thank you both for hearts of gold!

    Reply
  33. Jo Brooks - September 2, 2018 3:53 pm

    Wonderful. As it should be. The best adoptions happen by accident, when they choose you.
    And I hope the little boy eventually gets his dog. Every Benji needs a kid to take care of.

    Reply
  34. Haskel JP - September 2, 2018 4:39 pm

    Good job Sean and Jamie! You know that having only one dog is like having only one chicken.

    Reply
  35. Susan Swiderski - September 2, 2018 4:50 pm

    Dogs and cats are just like potato chips. It’s nice to have one, but it’s more like a party when you have more. Enjoy!

    Reply
  36. Liz Watkins - September 2, 2018 5:18 pm

    I have a vivid picture of your dogs and y’all taking it easy in the living room!! Your words are like a movie in my head!
    Please keep writing!
    Liz Watkins

    Reply
  37. Susan Kennedy - September 2, 2018 5:25 pm

    Puppy Breath is the best. 💕

    Reply
  38. Marcia Zuhlke - September 2, 2018 5:58 pm

    Congrats! Love his name. If he gets tipsy he can put himself into his own crate and lock the door😂

    Reply
  39. Pat Byers - September 2, 2018 6:26 pm

    and i just sat here and cried.

    Reply
  40. Barbara Schweck - September 2, 2018 6:54 pm

    A house full of love!! Congratulations to the whole family!

    Reply
  41. Roxanne - September 2, 2018 7:25 pm

    Pretty soon you’ll have the whole gang…Andy, Barney, Opie, Floyd, Goober, Gomer, even Howard! Congratulations!!!

    Reply
  42. Jody - September 2, 2018 8:49 pm

    Roxanne I feel certain some of those names could be used for the kittens looking for a good home 💕

    Reply
  43. Janne Swearengen - September 2, 2018 8:55 pm

    There will be more…trust me, said by a person with FOUR!

    Reply
  44. Linda Chipman - September 2, 2018 8:55 pm

    Congratulations! Love the name.

    Reply
  45. Ruth Klarner - September 2, 2018 9:37 pm

    Thank you for saving Otis Campbell. Ellie is super happy!

    Reply
  46. Kathy - September 2, 2018 11:20 pm

    Otis saw you and Jamie coming a mile away! ❤️

    Reply
  47. Rhonda Lovato - September 2, 2018 11:43 pm

    Welcome to the family Otis!!! You are loved.

    Reply
  48. Jan Bruck - September 3, 2018 2:05 am

    Welcome, Otis Campbell!!!

    Reply
  49. Heidi - September 3, 2018 2:17 am

    You & Jamie have the softest hearts…….thank God for good people like you. Welcome home Otis Campbell!

    Reply
  50. Colleen Stringfellow - September 3, 2018 4:30 am

    So happy for the two of you! Now the four of you!! Enjoy all this love you’ll be sharing.

    Reply
  51. Marty from Alabama - September 3, 2018 1:56 pm

    You and Jamie are the perfect couple. You both understand “dog-eese.” Was meant for Thelma Lou and Otis to grow up together.

    Reply
  52. Steve Winfield - September 4, 2018 1:34 pm

    Right now Oscar Mayer is it. Jack’s buried out back. I’ve had Skipper, Pete, Sparky, Barney, Duke, Astro, Catfish & others. Took one in from a friend once & named him Leon. (Wanna bite of my sammich?) Leon gutted a sofa that cost as much as a car & my wife sent him right back. Oh yeah, Stella & Roxanne. I stupidly gave Oscar a big pork shoulder bone Saturday & he stayed sick the whole Labor Day weekend. Pooped 37 or 38 times. He’s better now.
    Good luck with those two. God bless you all.

    Reply
  53. Shelton Armour - September 4, 2018 11:13 pm

    Let’s hope Otis doesn’t become the town drunk. Congratulations on the new pup. Glad he and Thelma Lou get along. May Otis long admire Thelma Lou.

    Reply
  54. Leslie - September 5, 2018 2:41 am

    Congratulations on the new addition. Dogs are the best! Welcome Otis. I can’t wait to read about all of the trouble you and Thel get into.

    Reply
  55. Cathy Honeycutt - September 5, 2018 3:19 pm

    Bless you, can I post your post on our site. I help find homes for animals and this Saturday we are having Dog Days Festival for kind Kare no kill shelter. I want to use this at the festival for people to read.

    Reply
  56. Patricia Gibson - September 6, 2018 1:10 am

    I love it!!

    Reply
  57. Carolyn K - October 29, 2018 10:52 am

    ❤️This nothing like puppy love

    Reply
  58. Sylvia - October 29, 2018 2:34 pm

    Otis Campbell is the fictional “town drunk” in Mayberry on the American TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. Otis was played by Hal Smith and made frequent appearances on the show from 1960 to 1967

    Reply

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