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Ollie: My Best Friend
by Kat M.
My new family 2014
I was having coffee outside a café in my hometown of Austin, TX the day after Halloween in 2008. There were a variety of dogs caged for all to see in hopes of finding permanent homes. I had been fed up with friends/boyfriends letting me down and had pretty much withdrawn from everyone for several months. I had a lot of love to give but no one in my life, at that point in time, really deserved it.
The dogs ranged from every mix, breed, age, or size. I saw a sickly, vacant eyed dog leaning against the cage avoiding eye contact with anyone. He stunk of frito chip dog odor, reeked of motor oil, and was covered in ticks and fleas. He also looked how I felt: Tired, broken, and disappointed.
I was in my mid 30's and had never had a dog of my very own. I always had a cat in my apartment and really never considered myself a dog person. I asked one of the girls how this dog ended up here. He came from a family that wanted to adopt a pure bred Australian Shepherd puppy. I wasn't familiar with the breed. She made sure that I knew he was neutered in case I wanted something part of a puppy mill.
She went on to say that he was too energetic so the family kept him in the backyard chained to a post. He became destructive, barked incessantly, and damaged property. That included himself. He had chewed all of the hair off of his rear end and legs.
The group had gotten him from the kill shelter in Lockhart where he was deemed unadoptable and sentenced to euthanasia. These great people had already seen what I saw in his eyes: Hope. I had to take him home with me! He sat on my couch for a 10 weeks. He would not look at me when I talked to him, would not play, and even backed out of his collar and ran away once. The vet visits were a nightmare. He had to be sedated with every test or procedure. The vet said he would need medication to cope with daily life. He could not be eased.
I remember a phone call to my father who was always great with our family dogs. I told him "This dog hates me. He doesn't want anything to do with me!" He told me to give it time and that someday I would be his whole world." I decided that Ollie needed affection and reassurance before any sort of discipline short of walking on a leash for his own safety. I cuddled him and spoke to him for hours on end. He responded with a lot of work and time. I lost a few shoes and purses. One day, he looked at me one day with a smile. It's that same beautiful smile that all Aussies seem to have. He was no longer afraid and had decided that I was worthy of his love. He loved be back!
Now, he is the biggest baby on earth. His hair grew back and he is so handsome! No medication needed. He has turned into a wonderfully well behaved, confident dog. He is so intelligent and so eager to please. He is never too far away from me and I am the apple of his eye. Always ready to go to a friend's house, car ride, anywhere I am. He always makes me smile. I feel that we saved one another. He is my best friend!