Last week, on the first anniversary of her adoption, Olive was spoiled with gourmet meals and a trip to the pet store for some new toys.
“No baths or other indignities allowed,” says the pit bull’s mom, who asked her name to be kept private. “We celebrated Olive style.”
This celebration is poignant, and hard-won: Olive spent 11 years living at the Yonkers Animal Shelter in New York.
She’d been there so long that volunteers and staff thought of her as a fixture; the records of when and how she arrived had long been lost.
A shelter worker wanted to bring her home, and then unexpectedly died. Olive came close to being adopted a couple of other times.
Folks at the shelter did their best for Olive, to keep her happy and make her feel loved, but they hoped that one day she would have a home of her own — even as her muzzle got grayer, making the odds tougher.
Then Olive’s now-mom saw a Facebook post about the long-timer, and felt moved to come to the shelter and meet her.
“I was going to be taking her home as long as she accepted me,” she said at the time.
Olive accepted her. And just like that, after more than a decade, she got adopted.
The last year has been remarkable, and at times very hard.
Olive had a lot of learning to do. Where it is and isn’t appropriate to poop; how to share with her dog brother, known online as “Brother.” (Olive has a Facebook page where her adventures are documented.)
“It was a long, frustrating, and sometimes painful process to get Olive to where she is today,” Olive’s mom tells Shelter Me.
With all that, where Olive is today, is very good.
Olive’s current dislikes are normal, and cute: fruit, ear cleanings, nail trims, and baths.
The list of things she likes are now longer: hiking, car rides, road trips, food, Brother.
This last one, especially, makes Olive’s mom happy. She says that seeing Olive “follow, play, lay next to, or lick her brother” are now among “my favorite moments.”
“All of the challenges have been manageable with patience, time, and understanding,” she says. “Olive will always have some quirks, but she flourishes with our guidance.
A year ago, after 11 years in the shelter, Olive got adopted.
It was just the start of the dog’s new life. A life that is not only great for Olive, but is also a great big testament to hope.
“Everyone can learn from Olive. From people and dogs who need a second chance to those willing to give it,” says Olive’s mom.
“Olive loves being in a home.”