Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet Mr. Ollie!

I mentioned in a previous post that we've been busy the past couple of months. One of the things that has been keeping us busy is our newly adopted furry companion named Ollie. Mr. Ollie was recently featured as the Pet of the Week over on the EtsyVeg blog. I'm also posting the interview below.

Meet Ollie Newman-Mitchell. He is a companion dog to Amanda Newman of Newman Improved.

What is your pet's name, birthday, sex, breed?
His name is Ollie and he is a about six years old. We don't know his birthday as he was rescued. His a male Treeing Walker Coonhound.

Where/how did you come up with their name?
When we got him, his name was Johnny. Unfortunately, my husband’s name is John and while we thought Johnny was a cute name, we thought it would be confusing. We thought a lot about his name and it took us a week after we adopted him to rename him. We wanted a name with an “ie” sound. We asked friends to submit suggestions and finally settled on Ollie. My cousin came up with the name because we were out at dinner and I had olive oil on my food.

How did you meet your pet? Were they Adopted, rescued or other?
We met him through the Independent Animal Rescue of Durham. We donate money to IAR and would often stop by to see the dogs available for adoption. We had been talking about getting a dog for years and one day came across this sweet face.

Ollie’s face was a bit too hard to resist and we had to contact IAR. He was lucky enough to have been found by a Rhonda and Todd who have rescued and adopted out many dogs. Rhonda and Todd gave him a great new start! Before being rescued, Ollie’s past was filled with what I can only imagine is sadness and void of love. He approaches most new situations with fear and hesitation. He has the branding on his ear to show us he was used by a hunter. As two vegans, we thought it would be symbolic of us to rescue a hunting dog and to give him a life of love.

Our furry friend has obviously had much abuse in his life as he is scared of so many things, he doesn’t seem to fit many of the characteristics associated with his breed. Noises tend to scare him more so than the average dog. And when the thunderstorms come, it is likely that he will be incapacitated in a closet for the whole day without any bathroom breaks.

In the beginning, it was a challenge to get him to eat and to come to us. I could tell he loved us by his sniffs and tail wags, but he always had a hesitation about him. He had a hard time making eye contact. With each week, we notice improvement and work with him daily. He has a sweet soul and a gentle spirit. We don’t want to give up on him and have begun work with a trainer to help make his life more enjoyable.

What are your pet’s favorite toys, foods, snacks, activities?
He doesn’t really like toys all that much and I think that part of that is that hunters don’t allow their animals to play with toys so that they don’t want them to play with the catch. We keep trying with toys and hope that he’ll find his playful side. He LOVES vegan wet food (yep, he is a vegan like we are and it is perfectly healthy for a dog). We have been delighted lately to learn that he will take treats when in the mood.

What are some things you enjoy doing with your pet?
I enjoy walking with him, cuddling, rubbing his belly, and hugging him. He seems to like (or at least he pretends) when I cuddle and rub him. :-)

Do you take them to parks or to see people? He is such a good boy and does well with other dogs. He is so afraid of the car, and we are working on that, so we often times ask our friends to bring their dogs to our house. He seems to enjoy other dogs and people. We have ventured out to the dog park on several occasions. He seems to enjoy himself, but doesn’t spend much time running around. He spends a lot of time at my side and others who will pet him. In time, I think he’ll warm up to the dog park.

Do you take your pet on vacations with you?
Yes, we do! If it is within driving distance and no one is allergic, we take him with us.

Does your pet have any special tricks or unique habits?
He is funny in that he never sits. He usually stands or lies down. Every once and a while he will sit and when he does we praise him. I’m assuming he was never taught to sit as a pup.

How does your pet like going to the vet? Do s/he *know* when it's time to see the vet & hide, or do they enjoy the extra attention? He is new to our family and has recently been to the vet, so I’m not sure. He doesn’t like a lot of people or crowed places, so I guess it depends on if there is a lot of activity at the vet. We are going to take him in July.

How do your family members get along with the pet? I don’t think anyone could ever NOT get along with him. He is very calm and chill. He has won the hearts of most everyone who meets him.

Do you spoil your pet?
Sometimes! We feel so guilty about his past and we want to make him happy. We are just so happy to see progress in him.

What's the most important/special thing your pet adds to your life?
He brings me happiness when I see his tail wag or when he gently comes up to me to sniff me. John and I often feel frustrated with some of his behaviors, but we never take it out on him as we know it isn’t his fault. It is slowly teaching me patience and unconditional love.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Still Here!

It has been a busy couple of months complete with my John getting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, adoption of a dog, and a family vacation. I'm still here and have many things to blog about. We have continued to cook and to create. It is just finding the time to sit down and blog that is the trouble. I promise I'll be back soon.

In the meantime....HAPPY SUMMER!