Olly was one of the first (possibly the first) rescues homed through this fantastic charity. He joined our family on 26 March 21 after along flight from Seoul to Amsterdam and then pet transport through the Channel Tunnel to Folkestone where we met him. It was pouring with rain but we got him into the car and unzipped his travel crate, at which point he poked his little head out and licked me on the nose – he had us at “Hello”!!
He was very skinny and incredibly tired after his mammoth journey, I sat in the back with him stroking his cheek for reassurance which seemed to relax him so he slept much of the 2hr journey home to West Sussex. This subdued behaviour continued for the first 24 hours as he gradually became acclimatised and when we woke up the next morning he was like a Tasmanian Devil! If he wasn’t tearing it to shreds he was trying to mount it, and we were like “have we done the right thing here…..”, having only been used to Scarlett who is pretty chilled out.
For the first few weeks he was incredibly food driven, jumping up all the time and running off with anything that may have been dropped, however we were really pleased at how quickly this stopped. He continues to be obsessed with birds and squirrels in the garden, chasing them at every opportunity and we think this is unlikely to change.
He slept in his crate for the first few weeks but as he got more used to us and his new environment it became clear that bedtimes were making him incredibly stressed and anxious so we explored other options for him, ultimately sleeping in our room in his donut bed on the floor.
He’d never been house trained but despite this he picked it up so quickly and we could actually count the number of accidents on just one hand (well the ones we were aware of!!). He was originally very reactive to loud noises such as doors banging and trucks or motorbikes passing when we walked but again this reduced massively within a couple of months, although the fireworks around Nov 5th were pretty stressful for him. Walks were a new thing for him and to start with he’d just lie down after a short while to say “I’m not moving any further!”, he still does it now and again when he’s protesting at being walked on the lead for too long.
Welcoming him into a house with a well-established dog was more of a challenge than perhaps we thought and there were a few fights, a couple of them inadvertently triggered by our behaviour. It was something we didn’t fully expect and actually it was Scarlett who was trying to assert her authority not Olly, who doesn’t seem to have an ounce of aggression in him (unless you’re Mr Squirrel…..!).
Despite his awful start in life he is very trusting of people and confident with other dogs. He will still dip his head now and again if you go to stroke him when he’s not expecting it but he’s super affectionate and loves fuss and cuddles. Everyone that’s met him think he’s adorable – much to Scarlett’s disappointment!
We do think we’ve been really lucky with Olly. Has it been easy? No, not all the time and it took patience and understanding, but part of that is probably us naïvely expecting him to be just the same as Scarlett. He’s not, he’s a Meat Trade survivor, he’d never been in a house, never walked on a lead before, never played with toys, never been on a beach, never had to understand commands. He’s like a puppy just starting out in life but at 3 ½ years of age - everything was new to him.
Would we do it again – ABSOLUTELY! It’s so heart-warming to see where he is now compared to where he could’ve been. He’s resilient, cheeky, clever, stubborn, affectionate and more than anything – he’s ours!
He’s happy and safe and we absolutely love our little Olly-bobs to the moon and back.