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Archive for July 9th, 2016

Dog Blog: Ollie (aka Out the Game) 1/4/2003 – 9/7/2016

Posted by indigodream on 9 July, 2016

Saturday 9th July 2016

This post, for me, will be the very definition of “bittersweet”….

March: Poppy and Ollie arrive - as fosters of course!

March 2012: Ollie and Poppy arrive – as fosters of course!

Bitter because this morning we had to say goodbye to a stoic soul who overcame the adversity of years of neglect and starvation to enjoy four years of love and peace with us. Ollie had become increasingly unwell over the last year or so had we’ve been preparing ourselves to say goodbye for some time. Yet he bimbled on, every time we thought “this is it”, Ollie would say “not quite yet” – we were astonished when he reached his 13th birthday in April, and every day since has been a precious gift.

For some time now we have been finding that the various treatments (drugs, accupuncture, laser, physio, more drugs) were working less effectively. We had detailed conversations with our Vet so knew what to look for and how far to take it. This last week, twice we thought “this is it”, as his back legs became very weak but then he had a good day. Yesterday was a bad day and after a restless and painful night, we decided that this morning really was it. This time, Ollie agreed and slipped away peacefully just after 8am this morning to run at the rainbow bridge with his old companions Lou, Ty and Poppy, his cherished partner in adversity.

Staying with the bitter for the moment, we don’t know much about Ollie’s early life apart from the names of his houndie parents. We think his racing name was “out the game”, which says it all really – he was a diminutive for a boy (smaller than some girls in fact) and hardly raced at all before being retired. The next bit of his life is not our story to tell – Ollie was rescued, along with his partner Poppy, in January 2012 when it was found that their owners had starved and neglected them almost to death. Ollie and Poppy were both dehydrated, unkempt and had severe dental problems. They were both rescued by the good folk at Dillymore kennels and spent the next 6 weeks in recovery – they needed intensive feeding, flea treatment and general care – Ollie had around half of his teeth removed.

We took Poppy and Ollie in as fosters shortly afterwards – Poppy sadly died after a joyous three months with us; we adopted Ollie soon afterwards….

Marsworth 2013

Now for the sweet, and such a sweetness – firstly, Ollie has been a miracle boy, we expected him to fade away after losing Poppy, they were a bonded pair. But he recovered from the neglect and became a happy and reasonably healthy senior hound. Ollie was a hound that bonded deeply – he looked so haunted at first, missing the people who’d so abused him and who never deserved his devotion. The moment, a few months down the line, when he bonded to us was priceless. He was such a dear soul. It took a year or so for him to get his running muscles back and then frequently at 70 years old in human terms he would show a good turn of pace running with the youngsters and then wonder why he was stiff the next day.

He quickly became an Indigo Dreamer and, when I look back, he might be the most well-travelled of all our hounds, having been the only one to traverse the canal network from the northern limits of our cruising (Yorkshire) to the southern  (Kent) and all points in-between! He was also the first resident Indigo Dreamer to cruise on the Medway.

Ollie was a quiet soul – never that demonstrative with other people, we would be blessed with Ollie cuddles, all the more precious because they were so heartfelt. He was never a blogger, he never seemed to want to communicate in that way, confining himself to his own language of squeaks, which he forgave us for never grasping fluently!

From left to right: Ty, Henry, Lou at the back, Archie, Eddie, Herbie and little Ollie on the far right

He was by far the most well-behaved hound we’ve ever had, which made his moments of mischief all the more shocking. He was never a food thief (like some I could mention!) yet he might just help himself to an unattended hobnob and a slurp of tea in passing. He would occasionally have “Plan O” moment – the name comes from his erstwhile girlfriend Miss Miffy, who had plan M moments – sometimes towpath Plan M and Plan O would operate in tandem – luckily they were both geriatric hounds and easy to catch! Ollie had a few girlfriends after Poppy, he did like the laydeez!

But my most memorable “Plan O” was when we were moored in Staines, taking Ollie, Henry and Archie for an early morning week break – me in pyjamas because it was just a quick out and back. Ollie had other ideas – Henry and Archie were on lead and took an age over their ablutions; Ollie, off lead, decided to head off down the towpath at speed. I was tethered to the others, who weren’t to be rushed. Cue me trying to run down the towpath after Ollie, now out of sight, in my pyjamas towing two reluctant hounds behind me….and having to stop to ask some early morning workmen whether they’d seen Ollie go past. About a quarter of a mile later I caught up with him, unrepentant, then had to walk back the (urban) towpath, well out of sight at the boat, so with no obvious explanation for the well-dressed commuter types why I might be out in pyjamas!

I won’t deny that rehabilitating Ollie after severe neglect was hard work; keeping him fed and mobile as a senior was an effort; but I strongly feel that he was owed and I hope that we have atoned for the evil that was done to him in his previous life.  He was a great lad and we are only sorry that this time with us was short and the one last opportunity for some Olympic looking was not to be his.


Run Free Sweet Ollie, run free


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