Seven-year-old Otto may have an ailing ticker, but it’s the love in his life — not his heart condition — that defines this cutie. Otto arrived at the Sanctuary from Los Angeles in 2014, bringing with him a deep affection for car rides, a fondness for toys and tennis balls, and his true passion — belly rubs.

Otto’s health requires frequent veterinary checkups, so Dr. Patti sees him regularly. Fortunately, his medications are doing exactly what they’re supposed to, and the spunky pup is as playful and energetic as can be.

When it comes to meeting new people, Otto can be particular — at first. He warms to some folks right away but with others, taking it slow and incorporating plenty of treats and games help smooth introductions. Once that trust is built, however, Otto is a friend for life. Hesitation and uncertainty are replaced with shameless appeals for belly rubs. And his fans are more than happy to oblige by tending to his heart from the outside in.

Want to help Otto feel the love? He would be eternally grateful for a sponsor like you.

Otto's Progress Journal

June 24, 2016

Summer is not Otto’s favorite time of year, but it has its perks. Riding in air-conditioned cars, not having to go on long walks, napping on the cool floor — none of these things are hard for Otto to take. But caring for 140 pounds of Otto during the heat is serious business and his caregivers must monitor him closely. His ongoing good health requires careful maintenance and attention so no one misses any subtle early clues that this enormous boy might not feel well. We are so thankful that due to your sponsorship, medically fragile giants, as well as not-so-giant dogs can receive the vigilant skilled care they require to lead healthy happy lives at the Sanctuary.

Otto the St. Bernard, sponsor program
Big love
January 25, 2016

Otto loves winter! Weighing in at about 140 pounds, this handsome and burly guy just loves the cold temperatures that winter brings. Otto’s physical exertions are closely monitored  because even though this big boy has a huge heart, it’s not very strong. Otto has dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), so he is on lots of medications that he takes at least twice a day to help him stay healthy and happy. One of his devoted caregivers comes like clockwork every evening at 7 p.m. to give him the last of his daily meds.

Otto joined the family at Jeffrey’s and is feeling comfortable in his new home. He is a powerful boy, and he is very particular about who he calls friend. He is protective of his territory, and really doesn’t like strangers (although that is improving with training and trust). At Jeffrey’s the caregivers go through a structured routine that introduces a new staff person to Otto. It’s a long process, but Otto lets them know quickly if this new person passes his initial can-we-ever-be-friends check. If they don’t, it’s a no go with Otto and he doesn’t forget. If the staff person passes that initial check, they can continue to work in Otto’s general vicinity. He watches them closely for (sometimes) weeks at a time. But once you are on Otto’s friends list, you are in forever. And this big, silly boy showers you with affection, slobber and fur.

Otto will call Best Friends his home for life. He will be loved and cared for by dedicated caregivers and he will never be without veterinary care for his fragile heart and the medications that keep him feeling frisky. Thank you so much for supporting this silly boy!