Oliver JonesOliver came into our lives in the Fall 2001. We were living in Fontana at the time among the new housing developments. It was during the rapidly growing housing market, and there were developments all around us.
07/09/2000 - 07/25/2009
One day, Rhonda decided to have a garage sale. Oliver and a few other dogs wandered out of a field and came down the street. Rhonda took pity on the dogs and set out some food and water, and Oliver hung around. At the end of the day, she went back in but left some water out. He was gone when I got home.
We learned that people dumped dogs around the developments. The next day, Oliver wandered back and Rhonda gave him some food and water. There were no other dogs around; it turns out the city was picking up the strays. Cathy thought of him as an orphan and named him Oliver. Cathy and Rhonda talked me into giving the dog a chance, and we did.
Oliver had burrs in his pads and a load of ticks; it cost us quite a bit to get them removed. The vet told us he's half Basset Hound and half Terrier, and he gave us an estimate of his age, so we picked a date for his birthday. I did not want a dog. I didn't want an inside dog, even if I did have a dog. So Oliver started out living in the yard, sleeping in the garage and whining all night. Cathy convinced me to let him live indoors, and eventually he had the run of the house.
Oliver was territorial and had picked up bad habits before he came to live with us. He snarled at strangers, so we had to put him in the back yard for visitors. He dug out of the back yard a couple of times, too! But he was always very sweet with our cats.
There were several things that made Cathy think that Oliver was trained to attack, and maybe abused. Oliver would yelp like a stuck pig if you picked him up off the ground. He used to cringe when we approached him (for the first few months) and he was real aggressive at first. We know much better now, but I have to admit that I was not gentle with him when he first arrived, and it took me many years to truly come to love him and learn to motivate him with positive attention and affection.
Oliver was a good dog with a lot of baggage. I used to let him run around the front yard off leash, and he would always come when called. He was great with cats, but always aggressive towards strangers and dogs. It took our good friends, Steve and Yvonne, years to become 'part of the family' so that Oliver would let them come in to the house unescorted.
We got Amos and Zechariah when we had Oliver. Oliver loved kittens, and through the years and dozens of kittens that we fostered, Oliver watched over each of them gently. At some point, Zechariah got sweet on Oliver, and they became an item. Oliver liked all the rest of our cats, but he was especially fond of Zacky-Pooh.
Oliver was well-traveled and lived an interesting life. We took Oliver with us on as many trips as we could. Oliver went to the beach, the mountains, the lake... He even traveled out-of-state; we took him to Prescott, Arizona and back. He lived in a single-story house, a two-story house, with other dogs, with multiple cats, in apartments, in a tent, and in an RV. His was not a boring life. :-)
During this last year, Oliver seemed to have been losing his hearing. He had more trouble climbing the stairs, and he limped on occasion during his walks. He was getting old, and he was getting grumpy. But, I came to love him most during the last year.
I know people tend to eulogize the deceased. I know Oliver had his faults. But I remember him as my dog, a good dog that wanted his family to be safe, to be loved by his mom and dad and cats, and who was happy so long as his family was paying attention to him. We'll miss him.