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Your key light is a bit too hot.

Thanks to his handsome face and exceptional posture, Otus belongs to the breed known as Chick Hound. Women and children love him, and he graciously allows them to express their affection with snacks, back rubs, and effusive words of praise. Family members refer to him as a Norwegian Derp Hund, just to keep him humble.

Unfortunately — given his size — Otus thinks he’s a lap dog and will invite himself to share a comfy chair with anyone as soon as they sit back. A natural-born people pleaser, he is remarkably good at reading the room, so whenever he does commit a faux paw and gets scolded for it, he expresses his deep shame by letting out a plaintive woooOOOWwooooo.

His greatest talents are jumping (he can easily clear 6 feet), charming the socks off strangers, and cleaning out the ears of squealing children. His favorite pastime, aside from eating cheese, is playing catch with a lacrosse ball on a tennis court. And Otus loves to meet and greet everyone he encounters on his walks. If his friend Finn didn’t already hold the job, he'd run for mayor of Holiday Hideaway.

But Otus is more than just a pretty face attached to a charm factory. From the moment the Dog Island Project was born, he’s been a willing model for photographer Michael Hilliard’s many lighting tests. He has now absorbed just enough information to become a self-styled expert about everything, which is another way of saying he’s declared himself a fully qualified art director.

Photography: Michael Hilliard, Writing: Kathleen Cain, Project Management: Karin Mellskog
Otus's Human

Michael Hilliard

Photographer/Creative Director

An agency creative director and commercial photographer for several decades, Michael's many portraits of lawyers and technology leaders have been good practice for working with stubborn subjects with short attention spans who don't take direction well... kidding, just kidding. During his previous careers, he produced the radio morning shows on KJR and KUBE 93, then started and ran Neo-Neon, the first neon art gallery during the very Miami-Vice-mid-to-late 80s.

Michael considers himself the Skipper to Otus' Gilligan, frequently referring to him as "little buddy," though each are certain they're clever enough for the role of Professor.