Ollie was overweight, his coat was rough, coarse, and in a state of disarray, he didn’t get along with other dogs too easily (especially other males), and he BARKED – constantly, loudly, and monotonously. He barked at the air, he barked when something moved, he barked when he was happy, sad, hungry, bored,
excited, tired….you get the picture. As near as we can figure, barking was the only thing he could count on his whole life.
Ollie was found as a stray in Northern Vermont. A kind woman with two goldens of her own saved him from the pound, however after a few months of trying, he just didn’t blend in well with her goldens so she contacted Grrowls. The first three weeks I had Ollie, I had to keep the blinds and windows shut in my apartment because he barked at anything that moved – and kept on barking.
I enrolled us in an obedience class and for the first 4 weeks had to stand behind a partition so Ollie wouldn’t see the other dogs and start barking. But he was so smart!! Learned everything without even seeming to have to practice much. It was in the middle of this eight week obedience class, though, that the most incredible thing happened. One day when I was putting away laundry, Ollie sat down in front of me and his look said, “You’re my Mommy”. Who could resist that face? It was so serious, so loving, so, was that a bit of trust starting??
That night as we cuddled on my bed, Ollie and I had a chat. We discussed all of his difficulties (and mine!) and I promised him that if he trusted me, we would beat this. Together. I told him something that I have repeated to him uncountable times since and also to some of Grrowls’s other dogs that have been extra-special to me, “You are loved, you are safe, you are cared for, and you are protected. I promise you that forever”. Forever hasn’t ended
yet and I hope it never, ever will.