ollie go-golly, the all love dog
On Tuesday afternoon around 4:30 pm, I finished a phone call and came down the stairs to take Ollie for a walk. I found him collapsed against the wall, making no sound– just looking up at me in a puddle of twisted arms and legs. He had been getting weaker the past two weeks and pretty much refusing to eat no matter what I offered him– only once in a while eating some small token something from my hand which I knew he was doing for me, not for him.
That was Oliver. Most loving, most patient, most forgiving dog.
I’ve lost track of time since that afternoon and have all sorts of things I want to write and share but it’s all so jumbled. I knew he was near the end and was in close contact with my vet, but still– I just can’t even.
I gave him a bath and got him settled onto a fresh dog bed layered with soft towels and he lay on his side, the only movement was his breath and heartbeat. In his perfect, wise way– he was in a spot where the late afternoon sun came pouring in over us. We sat there for a couple hours while we waited for the vet to arrive. The window was open because it was the first beautiful day we had had in what feels like forever.
So we just sat there together– breathing, feeling the sun– feeling the soft breeze coming in from the window above us. I know I am writing to you a couple of days later here, but I’m kind of a mess. There is a giant hole in my heart and I keep looking down expecting to see him right next to me. The hours since I found him are kind of all a blur. I am not sure why this is hitting me so hard, but I am gutted.
Ollie would have been 16 years old in September. He had been found on the streets of Detroit with his sister when he was about 8 weeks old– she found a home, but the woman taking care of Oliver already had four dogs and could not keep him. He flew out on a plane to Manchester, NH. I have so few photos from those early months. We adopted Henry a month later and it was always the biggest blessing that Oliver was the older brother because Henry had been abused– even at 8 weeks old– and was terrified of human beings. His source of comfort and safety was Oliver.
For anyone who is with me from the bluepoppy days, you will remember how wild these two brothers were. They lived large, that is for sure– getting into all sorts of escapades that had my heart in my mouth on one too many occasions, but always, they made it home.
When Ollie slept he was always kicking his legs– running through the forest after deer, moose, rabbit, squirrels– all the things he loved to chase with Henry by his side.
When they were four years old, we got Daisy– and thus, the brombie mob was born. Taking them for daily walks up and down mountains, across creeks, to the lakes and the sea. When we lived in New Hampshire, I could roll out the door and walk through the wild for hours, but when we had to get in the car to go somewhere they all raced to be first. They loved the car, loved road trips. Loved adventure.
It’s thanks to my dogs — well, I was about to say, that I ever explored the places I lived, that I walk miles every day of my life– but that’s only a drop of what it is thanks to my dogs– these three have been my greatest teachers, ever. And Ollie, my all love dog– most loving, most gentle, most devoted, most forgiving– has taught me some of my deepest lessons about patience, endurance and strength of spirit.
Some videos of the boy-o:
licking my feet (he was a very kissy boy)
kissing Colleen (yes, a very kissy boy)
He had such a fierce spirit– the vet kept saying that over and over as he left this world. And he did.
And now, the first of the brombies was the last to leave.
I have always buried my dogs, but with Oliver, I had a very different prompting. He loved nothing better than our hikes to the top of doublehead mountain where we lived and so, when I am next up in New Hampshire, I will walk that beloved trail and when I get to the top– I will sprinkle his ashes so that his spirit is always wild and free– as it ever was.
I can only trust that he is somewhere good and that Daisy and Henry were there to welcome him into the fold. Oh Ollie, thank you thank you thank you thank you for everything. Just know you were such a light in my life, my world. Thank you.