I’m so pleased to present a very special feature animal rescue dog this month for the blog! Meet Olly. This is his rescue story.
Olly came to Asheville by way of Unicoi County, Tennessee. This is what he looked like: (I’ll warn you, it’s a little bit disturbing and it will make you angry.)
As you can see from the first image, I’m happy to report that Olly looks quite a bit different these days. Before you make assumptions about what brought him into the animal shelter, please note that my blog is not meant to shame anyone or point fingers in any direction. You never know what people’s situations are or why animals end up in rescue. My goal is to highlight outstanding rescue stories and share images of rescue with happy beginnings in loving foster and permanent homes. I have no right to pass judgement on anyone. I’ll tell you though…..Clearly, Olly had a rough start to this story.
We don’t know exactly why he wound up in this shape but we can assume a few things. A: He was not being fed. (As a matter of fact, he was still digesting garbage three days after he went into foster -literally. He had eaten plastic and rags…anything that might have food on it or in it.) B: In some way, he was physically abused. Aside from the apparent starvation, he seemed to have a hatred of men and showed absolute fear when you handled him a certain way. I believe you can safely make a few assumptions for yourself on his history.
If that previous image broke your heart as it did mine, I’m here to tell you that he looks like a completely different dog these days thanks in part to a handful of kind souls who helped get him back to health. The shelter director in Unicoi County, TN took him in and immediately handed his care over to one of their veterinarians. He stayed at the vet’s office for almost a week. During that time, he gained 10 pounds. His picture went out with a plea for foster or adoption. One of the heroes of this story, (foster mom Lynn) saw his image and immediately contacted a local area rescue: Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue. Sound familiar? I shared information about Charlie’s Angels last month with Toby’s rescue story here: http://www.sherylmannphotography.com/february-blog-dog-toby/.
Charlie’s Angels arranged to pick up Olly and delivered him into the caring arms of Foster Mom Lynn. With her love and care, the past four weeks have seen a slow but steady and healthy weight gain. Olly has truly fallen in love with Lynn and her family and vice versa. (Lynn likes to refer to herself as “Olly’s Human”.) They are also continually seeing improvements with Olly’s trust and companionship.
Despite all that Olly has been through, he’s trusting humans again. He’s so happy to have regular meals and all the love he can handle. You could also make the assumption that Olly has food aggression issues but that is not the case. Olly tends to gobble his food quickly but eventually he’ll understand that there will always be another bowl of kibble waiting for him. He also has doggy playmates in the house ready to play chase or wrestle at a moments notice.
Olly’s foster mom tells me that he’s now up to a healthy 60 lbs and would love to see him gain just a few more pounds before they go into maintenance mode. She also tells me that Olly is so smart! He picks up on things so quickly and tells her when he has to go outside. He’ll stick his nose on the doorknob and patiently wait to be let outside.
Olly’s portrait session
I was prepared for a very shy and timid Ollie in the studio. I’m happy to report that I was way off base! He marched in the door ready for just about anything as long as it involved treats. I was all too happy to hand over the peanut butter! As a matter of fact, we had so much fun spoiling him with globs of peanut butter right out of the jar. I couldn’t resist getting a whole series of images of just his face. That glorious freckled, peanut butter covered face!
As you can see, this dog is clearly not the same dog that went into rescue a few months ago. Thanks in large part to Olly’s fantastic foster mom, Lynn. It is with her amazing patience and love that has brought this dog back into the world.
If you have ever doubted the incredible positive impact of fostering rescue animals, please look at Lynn and Olly’s story as proof that fostering saves lives. Not only does it get the animal out of a very stressful shelter situation, it helps cut down the workload of the shelter employees. It creates a much more soothing environment for the animal and it gives the animal a chance to recover on his own time, away from the noise. It allows that animal time to heal and to start trusting humans again. To me, there’s not much more noble a thing than that.
Until next month, my friends!
Wag more, bark less