ESPN anchor holds back tears as he gives emotional tribute to his beloved dog on air

ESPN sportscaster Scott Van Pelt has never shied away from discussing serious topics on his show, “One Big Thing.” But his recent SportsCenter segment—a tribute to his late dog, Otis—is one of the most moving moments in television you’ll ever see.

Van Pelt announced on April 27 that Otis, his 11 year-old dog, had passed away. Van Pelt’s viewers and listeners have been familiar with the pup since his radio shows.


“Crushed to share that we had to say goodbye to Otis The Dog,” he wrote on Twitter. “Truly the most special friendship and bond of my entire lifetime. He was an absolute King. Love on your good boys and good girls with all your might – every day that you can. There aren’t ever enough of them.”

Departing from the usual programming on “One Big Thing,” Van Pelt dedicated a special segment in his honor during the show’s April 28 episode. He wanted to let the entire world know how much Otis meant so much to him and his loved ones and what a wonderful dog he was.

“Simply by his presence, he has been a joyous and loving constant every single day of our lives,” he said.

Scott Van Pelt announcing his tribute to Otis on Twitter

Van Pelt admitted that he didn’t fully understand the pain that dog owners go through after losing their pets until it happened to him.

“I’ve read countless moving tributes through the years about what your bonds meant and what made your dogs unique,” he said.” I always felt badly for you but I had no idea honestly and I wish I didn’t know now.”

Van Pelt also shared the struggle involved in explaining Otis’ passing to his children, whom the dog has protected and showered with love since they were born.

“The simplest explanation I suppose, for any of this, is the truest. The best part of life is to love everything. You do it even though you know the hardest part, which is that there will always be loss. And the weight of this loss is enormous. Because he was the corner puzzle piece so much of what mattered to our family,” he said.

Scott Van Pelt's dog Otis

Trying to hold back his tears, Van Pelt described how Otis would always come running to greet him at night whenever he’d get home from work.

Van Pelt stated that the pup would nudge his knees repeatedly, asking for treats and love.

The dog’s cheerful and loving presence brought him immense comfort, and now that Otis is gone, it’s one thing he’ll miss the most about him.

“After the show tonight, I’d rather drive all the way from D.C. to the Pacific Ocean, instead of taking a short ride home, where I’m going to sit in the dark waiting for my Otie boy,” Van Pelt said.

Scott Van Pelt with his family and dog Otis

Toward the end, Van Pelt said that he was just “so happy that he was ours, and I’m so happy that we were his.”

“I stared into the eyes of Otis the dog and into his soul and I promised him again and again, ‘Yours is going to forever live in mine,’” he concluded.

ESPN recently uploaded Van Pelt’s emotional segment on its YouTube channel, and hundreds of people flocked to the comments to share their thoughts. Here are some of the notable reactions.

Scott Van Pelt's dog Otis

“This pain is truly what I don’t wish on dog owners. A man’s true best friend, that’s something untouchable right there.”

“For some reason, it always hurts more when you lose a dog than it does when you lose a close friend or family member. Dogs provide unconditional love. That doesn’t exist in people. I think that’s why it just hurts more.”

“Beautiful eulogy. Wish dogs lived to be more. 10-15 years isn’t enough.”

Scott Van Pelt, thank-you for putting into words what so many dog owners feel. Luke has been an amazing dog. He has brought joy to my life in all the highs as well as the lows. MUST SEE.

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