A Second Chance for Olive

By Karen Clark & Windy Reed

Olive: Rescued Newfoundland Dog

To know Olive is to love her. She's the biggest (literally), and one of the most confident, social butterflies in our Queens, NYC neighborhood. This wasn't always the case, though.

Olive: Rescued Newfoundland DogIn April 2020 I saw Olive's pictures on Facebook after she had been rescued from an Amish puppy mill. Her first 4½ years were spent there having litter after litter of puppies, and she had also lost her eye due to the neglect of the people there. I loved her before I even knew her.

In July of that year I drove from NYC to Ohio to pick her up. I was over the moon. Olive was happy and nervous at the same time. We got back home the next night. I immediately realized that being in a city environment flat out petrified her, she froze in fear. Everything from people, to trucks, to the wind in the trees, to umbrellas, to garbage bags simply paralyzed her with fear. For the first 3 months or so she couldn't even bring herself to leave our apartment...she used wee-wee pads (not ideal with a big Newf). Every moment that I wasn't at work I was at home working with her. Each footstep out of our apartment was met with a celebration & treats. She got to the point where she could sit in front of the building & cautiously people watch, but still couldn't go any further to even pee or poop...she would do that as soon as we got back to the apt. Over the years, as a dog walker, I've dealt with many fearful dogs; Olive was one of the most fearful. We would routinely take 1 step forward & 5 steps back, but there was a fire in her and I knew she wanted to be okay, it just needed to be in her own way & at her own pace.

Olive: Rescued Newfoundland DogAbout 4 months after I got her I knew that I needed to get her out of the environment that was scaring her so much in order for her to be able to truly gain trust in me. She was so focused on being afraid that she couldn't focus on bonding with and trusting me. I knew that once she trusted me she'd be okay. So, I booked a cottage in Maine & decided we'd hike in Acadia National Park for a few days...just she & I. At 4am I parked the car outside of the building; it took 45 minutes to persuade Olive to walk the 10 steps from the front of the bldg to the car. We were off! As we hiked over the next few days I saw a cautious, yet amazingly confident dog before my eyes. When we returned home Olive started going on walks (and not using wee-wee pads anymore - thank God!) and meeting lots of doggy friends. She finally trusted me.

We've since taken lots of hiking adventures to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Catskills, the Canadian Rockies, etc. I've created a hiking monster! Now she happily walks down our busy NYC streets & greets everyone & every dog and poses for so many pictures for people. The whole neighborhood knows & loves her. She's helped so many people who fear big dogs. You'd never know she's the same dog who literally couldn't move out of shear fear of everything. Olive is still afraid of trucks, umbrellas, balloons, and loud noises, but now she knows that as long as I say it's okay, she's safe. She trusts that I'll never lead her into, what she perceives, is a dangerous situation.

Olive: Rescued Newfoundland DogIt took an immense amount of love, patience, time, and perseverance to help her conquer her fears, but it's been more than worth it. As long as you don't give up on them they won't stop trying to heal.

The hardworking volunteers in the NCA Rescue Program work tirelessly to save dogs like Olive from bad situations, some Newfs have experienced neglect or abuse, some have just been in the wrong home for them, somee rescued Newfs have had the perfect home, but due to life changes, that home cannot care for them any longer.

No matter how they come into rescue, every dog receives veterinary care, temperament evaluation, rehabilitation, training and whatever is needed to help that dog succeed in the second home, most importantly a rigoruous matching program to make sure every dog like Olive finds just the right family for them.






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