Otto Bellinger died this month, but his legacy lives on helping other animals through his favorite dish, a pepperoni pizza. (Photo: Kathy Bellinger)
Clay Sexton was overwhelmed by the flurry of happiness, tears and social media buzz a pizza stacked with pepperoni — delivered to a dying Rottweiler — inspired. How people started reaching out to his Greek’s Pizzeria in Anderson.
How they thought Otto the Rottweiler, who died of cancer this month, deserved a pizza in his honor.
On Tuesday, Sexton announced the “Otto’s Double Pepperoni Pizza.”
“Otto was a beautiful Rottweiler and member of the Bellinger family. We recently had the opportunity to provide Otto with his favorite meal — a loaded pepperoni pizza — on his final night,” Sexton posted to Greek’s Facebook page. “As a result, several have suggested that we memorialize Otto with his own pizza. After speaking with the Bellingers, we have decided to add the Otto to our menu.”
A percentage of each Otto pizza sold will be donated to Friends for Paws, a Pendleton based non-profit which supports rescue animals. For a 12-inch medium Otto pizza which costs $15, for example, a donation of $2 will be made.
Each Otto pizza will include a rescue story and information on how to help support Friends for Paws. Otto was a good boy and his legacy lives on.
Here is Otto’s story, originally published Sept. 23.
The lump on Otto Bellinger’s left front ankle was cancer. Kathy and Michael Bellinger were told the 130-pound Rottweiler had a few months to live.
But Otto, almost 8, carried on for six more months. He turned a sad story into one of joy for the Bellingers. Otto was full of sweet smiles until the end.
And he remained obsessed with his one true love until the end: pepperoni.
“Otto understood. I know everybody says that about their dog, but this dog was so smart,” said Kathy Bellinger, of Pendleton. “We’d say pepperoni pizza, oh my gosh, he always loved pepperoni pizza. He would just go crazy.”
So when the Bellingers found out last week that Monday would be Otto’s last dinner — it was time, the vet was coming Tuesday — Kathy Bellinger set out on a mission to find the most loaded, delectable pepperoni pizza .
Otto with his dad Michael Bellinger on the screened in porch where he loved to hang out. (Photo: Kathy Bellinger)
She needed to find it quickly, so she went to her town’s Facebook page, Pendleton Chatter, and asked.
“Where’s the best pepperoni pizza around? … It’s our dog’s last pizza and we wanna get him a proper pepperoni pizza,” she wrote. “May sound silly, but it’s not to us.”
It did not sound silly to anyone. More than 200 comments followed with condolences for the Bellingers’ pending loss and suggestions for a perfect pie.
But one pizzeria got to work baking up a treat for Otto quicker than any other.
‘He lived his best life’
Maddie Sexton happened to see Kathy Bellinger’s post and turned to her dad, Clay.
“Dad, there is a Rottweiler that is going to be put to sleep,” she said. “He’s looking for a pizza.”
Clay Sexton owns Greek’s Pizzeria in Anderson. Maddie and her younger brother, Cooper (Mayo), go to Pendleton schools. The family, including mom Stephanie, also have their own Rottweiler at home, Nucky.
Otto’s story tore through their hearts.
“It wasn’t even a question,” said Clay Sexton.
Within two hours of Bellinger’s post, Sexton was in touch with her and Greek’s was delivering an extra large pepperoni pizza for Otto — as well as another pizza and a meatball sandwich.
“We loaded the pepperoni up,” Clay Sexton said. Or as Bellinger put it, “there must have been half a hog on that thing.”
“Otto,” she said, “he went out in style.”
Not only did he eat a few huge pieces of pizza, some friends brought Otto a grilled ribeye steak.
“He deserved it,” said Kathy Bellinger. “It was his last night.”
When morning came and it was time for the veterinarian to arrive, Bellinger put Otto’s favorite white satiny comforter on the screened-in porch. First Otto stood up to say hello to Dr. Brent Crabtree.
Then, he laid down.
“He gave him the injection,” said Kathy Bellinger, “and the last thing Otto did was put his face on my knee.”
She likes to think his last thoughts were about that pepperoni pizza from the night before.
“He lived his best life,” she said. “He really did.”
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: [email protected]
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