NORMAN — Long-time Norman veterinarian Dr. John Otto was recognized recently with Oklahoma State University veterinary college’s distinguished alumni award.
Otto graduated from OSU’s veterinary college in 1990 and opened a veterinary medicine practice in Norman. His hospital has been named most popular many times by vote through The Norman Transcript’s Readers Choice Awards.
Through his work with the Norman Animal Shelter, Otto mentors pre-veterinary students and helped establish spay neuter facilities as a teaching program for OSU students at the shelter. Over the years, he had cared for many animals in the shelter, and, in some cases, cared for them for years afterward when they were adopted by local families.
Otto also helped start a mentor program with current veterinary students and members of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association. He also volunteers on the Dean’s Development Associates working with Dr. Jean Sander, Dean, and others to move OSU’s veterinary center forward.
During the aftermath of the May 3, 1999 tornado, Dr. Otto volunteered his time, setting up a triage system for 131 dogs and cats injured or misplaced during the tornado. He received the American Red Cross Hero Award in recognition of his work.
He also is the volunteer veterinarian ot Lexington Correctional Facility for the dog training programs. Otto provides sterilization procedures on the animals and administers vaccines. Shelter animals are paired with an inmate who then trains the animal for 13 weeks. Once the pets graduate, they are given to nursing homes, veteran centers, shut-ins and people with special needs.
Otto works with Special Olympics through the Norman Kiwanis Club receiving the 2010 Hixon Award (local club highest award) and the 2007 TKO Lay Person of the Year (district highest award).
He also earned the 1991 and 2004 Second Chance Humanitarian of the Year award and the 2004 Spay USA Top Humanitarian Award.
Otto was chairman of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, which helped create the animal friendly license plate that funds a statewide indigent spay/neuter program.
Otto and his wife, Patti, reside in Norman with their two children, Grant, 15 and Payton, 12..