As the saying goes, a dog is a man's best friend. For Chad Tucker, a journalist with Fox 8 News in North Carolina, his dog Otis was also his lifeline.
But sadly, just a little over a week ago, Tucker and his family received devastating news - that Otis, whom they'd had for 10 years, was ill and had only a limited amount of time left to live.
The rescued Jack Russell-bichon mix suffered from diabetes and Cushing's disease, which causes a dog's body to produce too much of a hormone called cortisol. Side effects include hair loss and sluggishness.
For Tucker, Otis had been a constant source of compassion.
"During a very tough time in my life, before [my wife] Meredith and two kids, Otis was my constant," Tucker wrote on Facebook. "When I would come home depressed, heartbroken and feeling like a failure, there was Otis. He listened to all my troubles and loved me when I didn't love myself."
Tucker described the many lessons Otis taught him throughout his 30s - forgiveness, love and loyalty, to name a few. "He also taught us all to laugh, a lot," Tucker wrote. "Especially when he would get his head stuck in the treat jar or fall in the empty washing machine trying to get the treats on the shelf above."
He attended the wedding of Tucker and his wife, Meredith, in 2012, and later became close with Tucker's daughter, Carson Parry.
Otis loved to indulge in tea parties with her, as well as stroller rides. The rescue dog was also popular with Tucker's Fox 8 News community and, through social media, became an ambassador for shelter pets in need of homes.
So, when Otis received his terminal diagnosis, Tucker and his family made sure he lived his final moments to the fullest.
"After a week in the animal hospital, and with no signs of improvement, we brought him home Friday morning for a weekend packed full of loving on him and doing all the things he loved," Tucker wrote.
Otis' bucket list weekend was filled with activities like going on long car rides, taking family Christmas photos, visiting his favorite bank teller and dining at an outdoor picnic.
One night was spent simply holding Otis until 3 a.m., Tucker wrote, as Otis loved to be cradled most of all.
"As the weekend started to wind down and we began our trek home, Otis was getting weaker and we knew the time had come," Tucker wrote.
Last Sunday, Otis quietly left the world in the arms of Tucker and his wife.