Joshua Morrison/News Odi, the last Pittie Paw Rescue dog, is ready to head to his new home with Eileen Otworth, left, as Knox County Animal Shelter’s Brook Brown looks on Monday. Otworth runs Doggie Detour, an Upper Sandusky non-profit dog rescue.

Joshua Morrison/Mount Vernon News

Odi, the last Pittie Paw Rescue dog, is ready to head to his new home with Eileen Otworth, left, as Knox County Animal Shelter’s Brook Brown looks on Monday. Otworth runs Doggie Detour, an Upper Sandusky non-profit dog rescue. Request this photo

 

MOUNT VERNON — It took 1 year, 8 months and 13 days, but the last of 67 Pittie Paw Rescue dogs housed at the Knox County Animal Shelter found a home Monday — even if it is a temporary one before he finds his new forever home.

The male dog, a 103-pound, brindle-colored mixed breed named Odi, could sense that his approximately 7-year-old life was about to change. Brought into the dog shelter lobby from the isolation area where he has stayed for 621 days, his leash was handed over to Eileen Otworth, who founded the Doggie Detour rescue operation in Upper Sandusky with her husband, Eddie. They have been taking in dogs for about 20 years.

After attempting to sniff the photographer’s camera, and seeing numerous human well-wishers around him who were all smiles, Odi was led outside into the Otworth’s car and his 75-minute drive to his next stop. Doggie Detour is a good-sized property with three large buildings the seven or eight dogs there can enter and exit freely. They can walk or run about the property, and also get walks by leash around a good-sized pond, said Eileen, whose colorful T-shirt read “Always Distracted By Dogs.”

The aim of Doggie Detour, like the approximately 50 other dog rescue organizations the Knox County Animal Shelter has worked with, is to socialize them enough to eventually find them a forever home with a caring individual or family they are well suited for. The Otworths said they have already taken in a Pittie Paw Rescue dog, Charlie, a black-and-white pit bull who was placed with the rescue in January after spending 478 days at the dog shelter. He is doing well and awaiting adoption.

“Odi is going to a place where he can decompress,” said Marla McCutcheon, president of the Dogs of Knox Fund, which provides support to the dog shelter including medicine for dogs with special needs and adoption-related assistance. “And he won’t be pushed.”

Shari Baugher, a shelter volunteer who has walked Odi on numerous occasions, said he always enjoyed going into the bonding room with her. Now, he will have his own couch to recline on, the Otworths said.

“He’s going to love that,” Baugher offered. “He used to like to stretch out his legs in the bonding room.”

Pittie Paw Rescue, now defunct, was a rescue organization outside Mount Vernon operated by a mother and daughter that was shut down in late 2018 due to negligence-related charges brought against them, for which they were later convicted. The Knox County Animal Shelter was tasked with taking in 67 dogs, a handful of which had severe aggression issues and had to be euthanized. But most, about 60, were cared for until they could be adopted or sent to non-profit rescue operations like Doggie Detour.

Odi has overcome a difficult and troubled past, county Dog Warden John Carhart noted recently. Before being a PPR dog, he had lived with an elderly man, who was a military veteran in Tuscarawas County. The elderly man had allowed a married couple and their daughter to live with him.

According to Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell, as cited in a Times Reporter story in March 2017, the elderly man had allowed the family to use his Social Security benefits. They continued to do so even after the man died and the body continued to decompose in the Wainright, Ohio home they shared with Odi. The family was charged with related crimes, and Odi then entered the “care” of Pittie Paw Rescue.

Baugher said all of those troubles are now behind the large dog, who prefers the company of women as he has some minor issues to overcome.

“He is beginning to trust more,” Baugher said. “But I understand his position in life.”

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Larry Di Giovanni: 740-397-5333 or larry@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews