Basset Hound Olive

Olive’s first day home.

Olive’s first day home.

Olive is a Penland School drop-off. She was found wandering, confused and scared, along Penland Road on Saturday, August 4.  A friend of mine who lives by Penland School called me about her, knowing how much I love Basset Hounds.  I was unable to get her that night but said I would come for her in the morning. She spent the night with one of the school’s Resident Artists and they met Mitchell County Animal Rescue’s [then] director, Patricia Beam, at the shelter with her on Sunday morning. 

When I met Olive on Monday morning it was love at first sight. She was so sweet and very eager for attention. The staff checked to see if she was microchipped, but she was not, so they chipped her right then before I took her home. Fortunately, she was spayed. She had also been bathed and was soft and fluffy. She wasn’t upset or anxious and loved the shelter staff, seemingly appreciative of the good care she received.

I thought chances were pretty slim that someone would call to claim her. Dropping unwanted dogs around Penland School has unfortunately been going on for many years. Hopefully, with education we will see an end to abandoning animals. Every time someone makes the decision to put their dog out on the road, they make the selfish decision to put that animal unnecessarily into fear and danger—in danger from cars, from other animals, & from humans who don’t care. The person who is guilty of abandoning that animal, which is a crime, is forcing someone else to take care of their problem. If you can’t provide the love & care an animal deserves, do the right thing—take him to the shelter. Let them give him comfort and the best care. Let them find him a permanent loving home. 

When I got home with Olive our other three dogs eagerly greeted her. She was scared at first and snapped at them which had me a little worried. But 15 minutes later, after much sniffing, tails were wagging.  I kept Olive on a leash and with me that first day. Inside she immediately jumped on the couch and quickly figured out how to use the ramp to the bed. Our two older dogs Bob and Ernie were not too pleased about her wanting on our bed. She instantly hit it off with 6-month-old Basset puppy Woody and they have become best pals. 

Olive slept peacefully through the night and appeared to be house broken. She seemed to be well cared for and in decent health aside from being somewhat bloated, probably due to poor quality food. Just because a food is sold in a store doesn’t mean it’s good for your dog. Her only annoying trait was a constant demand for attention. She was not content to lay peacefully beside us but kept poking with nose or foot to be petted and rubbed. Her need for attention could be from lack of attention. She has since gotten much better about this after gaining confidence and getting much attention in her new home. I think she might have lived in an outdoor pen as her underside fur and legs were stained a reddish brown from laying on dirt. But, I don’t think she was abused as she has never shown any sign of aggression. She does cower if you raise you voice or scold her, something that none of our other dogs do, knowing and not caring that a mean voice is the worst consequence for bad behavior.

We live at the end of a road surrounded by woods and bought our land that we named Houndhill so our dogs could run free as safely as possible. Of course, there are risks but this is the life we wanted for our dogs. We actually had more scares when we lived in a city and somehow, they escaped from the fenced yard or bolted out a door. On Olive’s second day I tried her off leash prepared to chase after her if necessary. There was no need for worry. She was more than happy to stay in the boundaries of our land and with her new pack. She got to run, play and explore and was so happy. She easily learned to use the dog door so she now comes and goes as she pleases. 

When I first met Olive, I thought she was quite elderly because her head is so white and boney. But after watching her run, play and jump I think she’s maybe only 6 to 8 years.  Regardless, she’s a great match for young Woody. 

After three days and no calls from anyone wanting to claim Olive we decided to officially adopt her. Yet another foster failure. At one point we were up to six dogs and I’ve been trying to hold the line at two. But, we decided to take advantage of the training Bob at 14 and Ernie at 13 had to offer. They taught Woody and Olive how far they could go and about the routines here at Houndhill. It was a good decision as they all get along well and Ernie especially has become much more active.  The four of them work hard at keeping our land free of deer and turkeys and any other critter that dare enter. There are daily walks with Mom, and a playtime visit from Aunt Kathie and their boxer friend Happy. Treats are frequently doled out along with many hugs and kisses. So, sweet Olive’s story has a happy ending. 

Lynn Allinger