February 11, 2011 10:12AM
Ollie was born in Hattiesburg, Miss. In September 2005 he was rescued from Hurricane Katrina by a delegation from the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana dispatched from Gary to assist with pet disaster relief.
In his new home at the shelter, he had a bout with the deadly disease parvovirus and almost died. During his sickness, he had an epiphany. It was clear that being adorable was a good survival skill when trapped in the waters of a hurricane, but now he needed a greater purpose in life.
Ensconced in a metal cage, he watched the daily shelter activity and taught himself how to read. At night he broke out of the cage and went straight to the computer where he learned how to write. Shortly thereafter he was adopted by a Valparaiso family that thought his reading and writing skills were pretty cool.
“I’m not going to lie,” Ollie recently told an interviewer, “My resume doesn’t feature one civic award or college degree. And unless getting kicked out of obedience training or being demoted in the agility class counts for something... I got nothing,” he said. “But I can write and I know that my real purpose in life is to give all animals a chance to voice their opinions. That counts for a lot especially when you’re still told by humans that you are absolutely adorable.”
The Post-Tribune published his first column in January 2008.