Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Ollie, The Old Southern American Bulldog
I will start out this lovely rainy Wednesday morning with a new Wednesday soon-to-be tradition. I want to hear about and share pet's stories. You all know how important our dogs are to us. They are spoiled rotten and fat and happy. But, Ollie didn't come to me that way, rolled up in stretchy puppy fat, a little bundle of joy. He came into my life very damaged, sick and very aggressive. He's made an incredible transformation. We are coming up on the two year anniversary of our lives together and I really want to tell you his story.
I found Ollie at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona on November 1st, 2008. I was teaching middle school at the time and since I was bringing home a steady income, I decided I wanted a dog. I lived with a roommate at the time and had Mooky, but something was missing. Ollie was missing. As I walked up and down the isle of kennels, I didn't think i would find a dog that day. I wanted a big dog, a young dog, I didn't care what breed, but I love bully breeds and I love really big dogs. I always have. Then, in the second to last kennel there he was. Sitting in a corner, staring out at the world. I crouched down and he didn't hesitate to come over and sniff, lick and jump against the chain link gate. He had my heart instantly. His name was "Speckles" and he was 11 months old.
(Ollie in his kennel at the shelter, trying to jump up and kiss me, or bite my face, it was a coin toss)
His face was swollen and he had a gnarly cough. He looked so very sick. I could stick my fingers behind his ribs up to my knuckles. The volunteer told me he had just come in, only an hour or so before I came in. I took him for a walk, he had no idea how to walk on a leash, and we went to the little yard to play. He completely ignored me at first, but as he sniffed past my foot, I scratched his back, and he melted, leaned into me, I melted. I made up my mind immediately. Called my landlord, got permission. My roommate wasn't thrilled about it, but we only had another month or so on our lease together, so I wasn't concerned. I was in love. He needed to be neutered so I wouldn't get to take him home for a few days. It was the longest three days of my life.
(This is a photo from the day I brought Ollie home from the vet, the day he came into my life for good)
When I brought Ollie home, I had already named him. I knew the moment I saw him I wanted him to be an Ollie. It just fit.
After I brought Ollie home, it was a long road to get him well. He had really serious kennel cough, as he had never been socialized around other dogs, so the kennel was a major shock to him, emotionally and to his immune system. He was also very underweight. Close to 20lbs underweight. The vet gave us antibiotics for the cough and a high protein diet for the weight. This boy went through a 50lb bag of food in 2 weeks! I took Ollie to Doggie Day Care while I was at work, but let my kids watch him on the projector while they did projects. Ollie didn't like daycare. He sat in a corner and watched the dogs play, ever so often grumpily responding to the other dogs. It was too overwhelming for him, so I pulled him from the daycare.
I quickly started realizing other issues we had to deal with. He hated men, all men. He barked a lot when my dad came to visit, tried to attack any strange man who touched him, cowered behind me if a man approached. The first man he opened up to was Doug. Doug grabbed Ollie's face during a barking fit and held it up to his. Ollie calmed instantly and started wagging his tail. You know they're inseparable now. Ollie also had a tough time at dog parks. It has been a long two years of socializing, training and his brothers love for him to be as good as he is now. It didn't hurt that we have a steady stream of dog-loving skateboarders coming over daily.
Now, almost two years later. Ollie loves playing with other dogs. He is the sweetest, friendliest dog you could ever meet. He loves playing, running, wrestling, snuggling, and going for walks. He is still working on meeting new friends, but that will be a life long journey. This dog saved my life and I just so happened to save his too. He is the baby of our family and I'm so happy I got to share his story with you.
Age: 2 years, 11 months old.
Color: White with black spots
Breed: Old Southern American Bulldog
Favorite Treat: peanut butter and mac&cheese
Favorite Toy: Tug Tug (rope)
Siblings: Charlie (5) Monster (4) and Mooky (11)
Best Dog Friends: Milton (English Bulldog) and Oscar (Blue Nose Pitt Bull)
Best Human Friends: Eloy, Oraibi, Shawn and his Dad, Doug
Tricks: yeah right! Does the death roll count?
If you want me to feature you and your dog (or other pet's story) on my blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story. Please include photos of your pet and photos of you and your pet together. Also please answer the above questions from age to nickname. Include any other information you'd like about yourself, if you have a blog or shop, what you do, if you make art, whatevs. I'll be doing this every Wednesday from now on so email me before Tuesday at noon.