NORMAN — The brown leather sofas at the Norman Veteran’s Center sat empty on Tuesday morning. What was once a campground for the Veteran’s Center resident dog, Little Bit, was now just another painful reminder that she truly was gone.
Also bare were the hallways of the center. Gone were the many veteran’s bearing their badges of courage from wars past. No one was sitting outside either. No discussions of the weather. No mention of current events. On this Tuesday morning, it seemed that most of the residents of the Norman Veteran’s Center had gathered inside the activities room to remember the dog that had stolen the hearts of her 301 owners.
Little Bit called the Norman Veteran’s Center home for 10 years before her passing on Sept. 13 after suffering from congestive heart failure. She held many hats while living at the facility. Social services employee at the center, Martha Lewis, described Little Bit as the resident rabbit, bird and squirrel chaser, a public relations representative and a therapy dog.
“Little Bit had many roles here. She was a greeter. She commandeered the sofas up front, those were hers. When we would have new families come in, she was a comfort to them,” Lewis said. “She brought happiness. She also brought tears of joy. In her own way, she was a therapy dog, even though she was not really trained. She was always there when a vet needed comfort. Little Bit also assumed the role here as the guard dog.”
Speaking at Little Bit’s service was Dr. John Otto of University Animal Hospital. During his weekly visits to the center, Otto was prone to check the schnauzer mix’s ever-failing heart.
“She was a perfect fit. She loved all of you unconditionally. I never saw her get mean or angry toward anybody here. She loved you guys tremendously. The only time I ever saw her raise her hair up was when someone would bring another dog in here. She loved you from the bottom of her heart and she didn’t want to share that with anybody,” Otto said. “She was a blessing to all of us, and it was my privilege to be her doctor.”