Lil' Olive: Was this puppy mill rescue too damaged to love

Lil' Olive: Was this puppy mill rescue too damaged to love
After 14 years in a puppy mill, Lil Olive was rescued by the National Mill Dog Rescue. Was she too damaged to love?

During the holiday season, I've asked my rescue friends and contacts to share their heartwarming stories involving pets that they've rescued or adopted. Today's post was submitted by Pam Horton who adopted an Italian Greyhound she named Olive from the National Mill Dog Rescue. After 14 years in a puppy mill, she had a long way to go after her puppy mill rescue and has found the perfect home to get there.

By Pam Horton

I saw a lot of posts from my friend a number of months back about some group called National Mill Dog Rescue. Being a dog lover I looked through their page and of course was moved by all of these precious dogs. Through my life I have had so many loving pups in all different sizes, colors, and breeds. I have adored each one and they each have their own place in my heart.

I was browsing through the available dogs pictures on NMDR’s site and my eyes fell upon an itty bitty Iggie named Windy. Her eyes were the eyes of my very beloved rescued ex-racing greyhound that I had lost to cancer. I stared at Windy and then left the page... after all, I have 2 dogs and I am helping watch my daughters dog and cat, surely there is no more room! Every day I would go in to see if this lil 14 year old Windy had found her forever home, and each day there she was looking back at me with those sad empty eyes just as my greyhound had the day we brought him home.

Olive finally settled into her new home.

Olive finally settled into her new home.

"Okay, okay" I said, "I will adopt this lil girl." After all she deserved to have her own family before she leaves this world that had been so cruel to her prior to being rescued by NMDR. Some people said, “Wow, you really won’t have much time to bond with her, she’s pretty old and you know you get attached.” I said, “No, it’s not like that. This lil girl is way too damaged in life to bond, I just want her to have a soft bed and a sweet place to live. I will take the best care of her but I do not expect anything back.”

She came to us and we named her Olive. She was so timid, she wouldn’t come near me. She watched my every move so that she could maneuver away when necessary. She was very sweet, but only felt safe on her new bed. She favored our old doxie, but it was what I expected - too "damaged" for real bonding. I would make sure she was cared for.

But then something strange started happening. I would leave the room and look behind me and see her peeking around the corner. I would turn back and she would run to her bed. I thought, “That’s cute.” Then she started coming into the kitchen when I was cooking, keeping her distance but watching with those eyes. It made me smile. Then she started coming up and into her pack family when it was treat time - she wanted to be near them and strangely, near to me as well.

Agnes and Olive settle in for a winter's night in their Grinch jammies.

Agnes and Olive settle in for a winter's night in their Grinch jammies.

Too damaged? It made me feel so happy for her. Then one day I was sitting on the floor and I put my hand out to her, like I have a zillion times before, but this time she came to me and licked my hand. My eyes welled up with tears and as I looked at her, she wagged her lil pretty much hairless tail at me. I looked into those eyes and she told me "Yes, I am very damaged, but look again because I am in here." Too damaged to bond? NO, NOT TRUE AT ALL!

One day she ran outside and played with her pack family, then she stopped, she sat down, she closed her eyes and raised her head to the sky and just felt the warm sun and light breeze - and at that moment, the door to my heart opened wide and she ran in! I adore her as much as any person can. No different if I had gotten her when she was 8 weeks old or 14 years old. She's my precious lil girl and I think she’s beautiful in every way. I love how her tongue hangs out. I love her wrinkled neck. Her once broken tail. Her scars. She’s beautiful.

Lil' Olive settles in for a car ride.

Lil' Olive settles in for a car ride.

Don’t get me wrong - when I go to pick her up, she hides her face and falls down in horror. When I go to her and the other dogs out of the big kennel she is jumping and barking... until the door opens and she automatically runs to the back corner and hides her face and shakes. I crawl in and talk to her then bring her out and then she looks at me as if to say, “Oh! Hi Mommy. I didn’t know it was you.” But she also loves to snuggle with her brother and sisters, and she falls asleep in my arms now, and puts up with me washing her face and putting a special lotion on her dry skin.

What I have learned is that a dog can forgive, can love, and when I see her lil tail wagging at me, I know that I was the one rescued here and I absolutely adore and love her more than I ever, ever thought I could. She’s not so damaged, she’s perfect!"

You can follow Lil' Olive on her own Facebook page.

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You may reach me at kathypetexam@gmail.com and find me at on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I'm an animal lover who has counted rescue pets as a member of my family since I was a child. As a writer and public relations specialist, I'm passionate about advocating for homeless pets and the rescues that give these pets a second chance. i also love to connect with the many pet businesses in Chicago that support animal rescue.

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