Today we’re meeting Natasha and Ollie for a very interesting pet adoption story. Natasha managed to make her adoption of Ollie work, even though it was awkward timing and she was about to go away. Here’s their story:
When I met Ollie, I was not looking to adopt (although I’m always kind of looking to adopt) another dog. Two days before I was scheduled to leave for eight weeks of training. I stopped by a specialty pet store to visit a friend where there was an adoption event going on with tons of adorable puppies. (There are a lot of local rescue organizations in the Boston area that have regular adoption events)
As I was waiting for my friend, I saw that there was an older dog, sitting quietly and patiently near the puppy area. I moved closer to her and asked if I could pet her, and when given the go-ahead, I crouched down and we made eye contact. That was it. I knew she was mine.
I asked her foster mom a few questions, but knew that they were never going to give a dog to someone who was leaving for two months! I left for training but a week later, I still could not get her out of my head. I contacted the rescue organization to see if we could work something out, and after another week of phone interviews, emails and conversations, they said her foster mom could keep her until I returned!
She had been with the rescue for a long time because she was a “special needs” dog – she had been found left outside and tethered by her hind leg, which had to be amputated. As soon as I returned home, I started getting my dog, Oscar, ready for his new sister. He is very sweet and confident and I knew he would do well with another dog – and I hoped she would do well with him too.
When I picked Ollie up to bring her home, I was so happy with how great she was in the car. We road-trip a lot so it was very exciting to see that she was already somewhat acclimated to being in a car. When she and Oscar met for the first time, they immediately started playing. I knew that was a good sign so I left the room for a minute, and when I came back they were snuggling together in one of Oscar’s dog beds (even though they each had a separate one!).
In our home, Ollie is such an amazing addition – she is well mannered, easy to train, housebroken and is a fantastic buddy for Oscar. Our challenges came into play when there were OTHER dogs or small children. She would become very upset, lunging and barking at them and would turn a simple walk into a stressful ordeal.
As a rescue dog, I knew that I could never fully know or understand her past but we decided to start giving her great new experiences. Some of my friends who had children would (safely) bring their children over to interact with Ollie. We also organized play dates with confident, non-aggressive dogs who were about her same size. It took us several months but eventually she was much happier and confident and would be less reactive when she encountered something new.
Ollie is such an amazing dog and I am inspired by her resilience. She is a great example of the “it takes a village” concept too – many friends and family members all joined in to help make sure she could be less stressed and just enjoy being a dog.
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