Susie Senior Dogs shared the story of Olive, a beautiful senior dog who has been a much needed companion to her owner Andrea. Andrea has found out that the love of an old dog is a very special kind of love; a love that not many are fortunate enough to know in their own lifetime.
This is Olive. I’ve wanted to tell you all about her for a while now, but it’s so hard to put into words just what she means to my family and, more importantly, how she’s changed our lives. We met Olive just two months after having said goodbye to my first ‘adult’ dog Rocky- he’d been my companion through a deep depression, the death of a sibling at age 22, and the hardest part of my educational career. He was five or so when I adopted him and his calm demeanor had been the most welcome presence in my life. Six years later, he would develop a mental problem that made him aggressive toward even his closest person (me). I wasn’t sure if we’d ever recover from the emotional trauma that surrounded his departure. But our lives were empty and our house was quiet.
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One of our local shelters was at the forefront for pairing dogs with families that matched their dispositions. (check out the calendar for local shelters offering adoption days )
Olive’s face came up and, after reading her bio, I hoped deep down that we would be a match. ‘Let’s just go see if anyone clicks with us!’ was my gateway line. One visit and I was hooked, but the husband needed convincing. Olive had severe arthritis in one of her knees and it kept her to very short walks and not much other activity. But she was so sweet to the folks at the shelter (raining kisses on everyone) and her demeanor was just so youthful and enthusiastic, I couldn’t get her out of my head.
The timing was terrible- my husband’s grandfather passed away the day we met her and he was soon on a cross-country flight for the funeral. I followed a few days later, but not without visiting her multiple times daily, walking and chatting to her about how things were about to change. The morning I arrived back in town, I was waiting at the shelter door when they opened. She rode home in my lap and has refused to leave my side ever since.
At first, she could barely make it around the block- her arthritis was very progressed for her age (10 or so). After some expert consults, we were able to get her on a pain management regimen, feed her nutritional and joint supplemental food, and even began acupuncture!
We realized early on that our time with her would not be as long as we wanted. She showed an intense enthusiasm for exploring- seeing new places and smelling new smells. We made it our goal to show her as much of the world as we could. Five years later, and she’s seen more of WA / OR / CA than I had in the 28 years before I knew her. We go on ‘just us girls’ trips often, camping in the woods, or cozying up at her favorite beach. She gets me up with the sun, eager to go out and explore more. She gently suggests that we get outside on even the soggiest of PNW days. When my migraines have me laid up in bed for hours or even days, she’s by my side. She’s made some ‘best dog friends’ in our neighborhood, which means we now know our neighbors better! She is the antidote to my shy, antisocial, seasonally-bummed, lazy self. I’d do anything to get her tail waggin’.
One of the great joys of my life thus far has been watch her blossom, gaining confidence to assert her wishes and show us the things she likes. While she may be slowing down, having a difficult time enjoying everything she used to, we’ve committed to making her life a full and happy one as long as we can. We bought a bike trailer to make the trip up to the local coffee shop (she used to make it with ease). We found a backpack to carry her in for hikes (for a while, five miles was doable- a miraculous transformation from her early days). We’ve built ramps to all of the furniture and she even sleeps in the bed now (who could resist a little old lady like her!) Through it all, her spirit has been resilient and simply happy.
She has changed our lives and I can only hope she knows just how loved she is.