For most of us who live in the United States, our attention has been focused on Texas the last few days and the incredible flooding and problems they are experiencing due to Hurricane Harvey. They will be recovering from this storm for a long time, and it’s not even finished pummeling them yet. Our hearts are certainly with everyone dealing with this storm right now. One story that has come out of this catastrophic event is about a German Shepherd mix named Otis who seems to understand that sometimes you have to do things for yourself.
Otis was captured in a photograph carrying a bag of dog food down the street after the initial storm surge and flooding. He’s become a symbol for the resilience of the people of Texas who are doing all they can to help themselves and each other. The story behind the photograph adds to the impact it carries.
Otis was staying with Salvador Segovia, a 65 year old man who is the grandfather of the dog’s five year old owner. His family had to quickly evacuate because of the flooding and Otis went to stay with Segovia, who had left him on his screened in porch. When he went to check on the dog, he was gone. The next morning, he noticed that the bag of dog food was gone. He got in his car and began driving around, looking for the dog. A neighbor flagged him down and said he’d seen Otis with is bag of food in mouth. Another neighbor took the picture that went viral, and Segovia was able to bring Otis home before his grandson returned.
Otis was already a bit of a local celebrity. He helps his young owner get through seizures and asthma. It’s also said that he gets cheeseburgers from the local Dairy Queen and is the only dog allowed to lie down in front of the county court house. He was already a special dog before he was spotted carrying his own bag of food down the street.
What I love about the story is how everyone in their small town of about 6,000 people seemed to know him and how special he was. The entire town is taking matters into their own hands and already starting to rebuild. Otis’ spirit is an extension of his community, and it reminds me again of how dogs seem to be bringing our neighborhoods back together in the digital age of disconnection. Out of all kinds of disasters, small good things come to light, and this is another example. I hope that Otis and his boy are back to living normal life as soon as possible, along with their whole town and the state of Texas.