When we found Oliver at the shelter, he just looked so sad. He was a 5- or 6-year-old black lab/pitbull mix. My kids and I picked him out and he came home with us that day. He attached to me very quickly. My husband didn’t get home until late that night and Oliver did not take kindly to some strange man coming into his new love’s home. It took about 6 months until he trusted my husband completely.
He would shake and hide if someone held a belt or a broom. He disliked most people and all animals, except baby ones! He kindly helped us watch some baby birds we found. When Oliver was comfortable, he was the best dog. He listened, he was goofy, and he was sweet. It took us some time to figure out that he was fear aggressive, not just mean. It took him about 6 months to feel safe enough to wag his tail.
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More than one person thought we should take him back to the shelter because he would snap at people, but we just couldn’t do that to him. He loved us and we loved him. I found some great classes that were for reactive dogs. They didn’t cure him, but they helped us understand the way his mind worked and helped us to help him. He was finally able to be around my brother’s dog without going after him. He never played with another dog. You could see that he wanted to but was just too afraid.
By the time he passed away at 12 years old, he loved 20 people (up from about 6 in the beginning). Being at the cabin with us was his favorite place. No other people or animals and he could relax and just be a dog. We learned so much from Oliver. How to love difficult people and how to see past behavior and realize that there are reasons why people act the way they do. And that you can see good in someone, even if no one else can.
Story submitted by Gretchen, from Franklintown, PA.
Oliver’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!
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