Oliver…Falling in Love with the “Last 10%”

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Behavior, Donations, Fundraising, Pets Needing Homes, Special Needs Pets

Ollie, Ollie, Ollenpig!  What can you say about this dog and his ridiculous cuteness?  He is snuggly.  He is snorty.  He is a complete cuddlebug with a big ‘ol head who thinks he can fit in your lap.  He loves belly rubs.  He loves toys.  He loves every person lucky enough to be graced by his snorting sweetness.

And he is part of the last 10%.  The big dogs with behavior challenges still dying at the Austin city shelter.  Oliver doesn’t have a sad story like many of those dogs.  He doesn’t seem to have been mistreated.  He’s wonderfully behaved in a home environment.  In fact, Oliver represents a type of behavior dog that presents one of the biggest and most heartbreaking challenges; his issues are all caused by the shelter environment.

We have no doubt that, once Olliepiglet is settled in a home, the only updates we’ll get from his adopters will be about how much they love him.  How they can’t imagine life without his big sweet face and his piggy snorts.  The trick is getting Oliver and dogs like him into a home.   It is tough when you have a great dog like this who is highly stressed and shows poorly in the shelter environment.  It is hard to showcase the Ollenpig you know and love so much.

As much as we wish dogs who are extra sensitive to the shelter enviroment could all go to foster homes until they are adopted, the fact is that – at least at this time – they can’t.  There aren’t enough homes willing to take dogs like Oliver until they are adopted to enable us to save enough of their lives.  And dogs like Oliver need to be saved.  This is a wonderful, wonderful dog.

The life rooms we have built at our TLAC facility have been an invaluable stepping stone for dogs like Oliver.  They provide that home setting within a shelter.  A place where Ollie can relax and snort around and snuggle.  They also provide a place where potential adopters can meet these dogs and get a better idea of what they’re going to be like at home.   Oliver is wishing his very hardest for a real home of his own.

To support dogs like Oliver in the shelter and prevent them from deteriorating, we integrate lots of enrichment and supported downtime into their training plans.  Oliver gets to learn a variety of different enrichment games and activities that help give him an outlet.  It’s a way to work his mind, to use all of his senses, to develop problem solving skills, and to have fun.  Oliver recently added nose work (or scenting games) to his list of activities and he loves it.  Listening to him snort out where the stinky treat is located is quite the sight to behold.

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Oliver also gets plenty of time to relax.  When the dogs are very stressed, we use TTouch or massage work or quiet music to really help them come down.  Sometimes taking a nap is a genuine part of a dog’s training plan.  Getting some real rest is an invaluable way to help lower stress levels and support a dog’s well-being and the life rooms give us a perfect place to let that happen within the shelter.

We would love you to come meet Oliver and make his wish for a home come true.  We hope that you’ll look past the stress of the shelter and really see the sweet Ollenpig that has stolen the hearts of everyone here at APA!.  Please email email hidden; JavaScript is required for more info or visit Ollie at our TLAC location.

We have started a drive to raise funds to hire professional dog behaviorists help us work with and develop training plans for dogs like Oliver.  Can you commit to $25 per month to pay for an hour of professional training per month?  Our goal is to build up to 100 hours of training per month so we can save more of Austin’s homeless dogs this year!

You can set up a recurring or one-time donation here – just select “dog behavior program” in the program dropdown so we know your donation is to pay for training.  And $25/month makes you part of our Constant Companion Club!

Visit our program page and follow the LFS dogs on facebook to see how else you can help give these dogs a chance.

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4 Responses to "Oliver…Falling in Love with the “Last 10%”"

  1. Becki Reedsays: March 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I was wanting more info on Oliver!! He looks sooo precious!! I guess the biggest question I have is..Does he get along with other dogs??? Is he neutered?? Does he have current shots?? Please let me know!! Thanks Becki

  2. austinpetsalivesays: March 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Becki – all of our pets are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all shots. As far as other dogs, we would want to do a meet and greet with any other household dogs to ensure it’s a fit. For more info about how to go about that or our adoption process, email email hidden; JavaScript is required!

  3. rich distelsays: March 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Do you think he could be my office dog this week? :P

  4. Cinnamonsays: March 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Wonderful article. I wish stories like this could be aired every day, on every station in Austin. The creativity, and the dedication to these dogs, is inspired. Thank you for the story, Amy. And thanks to all the volunteers working to save the lives of these wonderful and deserving dogs.