Natural Selections

Pets of Tri-I

Pooja Viswanathan

In this issue, we return with a pet interview. I have had my eye on this little puppy for a while and due to social distancing measures, I have been keeping a respectful distance, but in this time he’s already grown so much that I must introduce him to all of you without delay. Today, I interview Otto, the beautiful dog who has come to live with Tatiane Kanno (Postdoc, Brivanlou Lab, The Rockefeller University). 

Pooja Viswanathan: How old are you? In human years?

Watson and Otto

Otto: I just turned six months old. In human years I am ten years old. I am a happy little boy!

PV: Is there a story behind your name?

O: My mommy said she likes unusual Brazilian names; Otto is actually short for Otacílio. 

PV: How did you first meet your mommy?

O: I was living in a foster home for a week when my mom started looking for a puppy. I went to visit her house and she could not say no to my cuteness, so she adopted me right then and there. I met my big brother Watson the same day. He is my best friend! He is teaching me how to be a good boy and how to outsmart the hoomans with puppy eyes!

PV: What is your first memory?

O: I was rescued in Texas with two other siblings, but I do not remember much about it. My best memories are from the day I met my new family! 

PV: Where do you live?

O: I live on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. 

PV: What are your favorite smells of NYC?

O: NYC has such a diversity of smells; I am still exploring so I don’t have a favorite smell, I think. Every day I find something new.

PV: What are your favorite neighborhoods in NYC?

O: I haven’t had the chance to explore much in the city. My hooman said I am not allowed to go out because we are in quarantine. I don’t really know what that means, but hooman is home all the time and I love it! For now, I can say I like walking by the river, and I went to Central Park a couple of times. Central Park is so much fun, a bunch of new things to explore and see. I am looking forward to going back there and chasing squirrels with my brother, Watson.

PV: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live?

O: I would be happy living anywhere else as long as my mommy is with me. I don’t like to be left alone; I cry when she goes out without me. Mommy also said she will take me to Brazil for the holidays, I wonder what it’s like there.

PV: What are your favorite foods?

O: Hooman food of course! Every time she eats, I get very excited and want to eat as well, but mommy said I cannot have much of it. Besides hooman food, I love eating peanut butter and banana treats. 

PV: What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

O: I like walking outside and playing with my big brother Watson. But, what is a weekend? Hooman said every day is a weekend nowadays.

PV: Besides your human roomie, who is your favorite human in the Tri-I community?

O: Watson! Wait, Watson is not a hooman. Hmm, I like Watson’s dad Kevin as well. He likes bullying me all the time, but I know he loves me very much. We used to share the same name. When I was living in my foster home, my name was Kevin as well. Uncle Kevin helped my mommy with the whole adoption process and when he saw my name he told my mom: it is meant to be, it is fate! Adopt him! So, I guess I like him because he helped me find a home! 

PV: Do you have a funny story to share with us?

O: One night I had a playdate with my big brother Watson, we had so much fun and I got very thirsty after running all over the place with him. I went to drink water, and the tiny water bowl was empty. Then, I started exploring the house in search of water. When I entered the bathroom, I saw a huge white bowl of water. I was so happy that I had found water, but when I started drinking my mommy came yelling at me and gave me a stink-eye. I still don’t know why; I was just thirsty. Hmm, maybe that was not such a funny story, I got scolded in the end!

PV: Is there some way we can see more pictures of you on the interwebs?

O: Yes, @watson_otto on instagram! I share the account with my big brother, Watson.

PV: If you could have any human ability, what would it be?

O: To talk because every time my hooman leaves me alone, I scold her, but she doesn’t understand what I am saying. She thinks I’m joking and laughs! 

PV: What do you miss the most about pre-COVID times?

O: I’m a COVID baby. I don’t know anything before COVID. But I wish it would go away so I can go to the dog park. Watson told me it’s so much fun there!

PV: How have you helped your human get through these times?

O: I give her lots of cuddles and kisses! I don’t give her any space to sleep on the bed and I like to share her pillow. This way, I’m sure she isn’t lonely! I also like following her everywhere in the house, even when she is in the shower, I keep peeking to see if she’s okay. She might get stuck indoors, so I make sure she always has company!

Watson and Otto
Otto and Watson