Sweet Sweet Olive

In 2004 I was a depressed and lonely woman in a strange city half way across the country from the place I considered home.  My solitude was intentional, a product of the denied grief of a lifetime and two all too fresh deaths.  I rented a two bedroom duplex and hid there, rejecting the idea that a good life was worth the effort.  I mentioned off handedly to a coworker that I thought I needed a dog.  She brought me an adoption booklet from her vet’s office and there, about halfway in was a picture of my heart’s dog, Olive.

She was called Duma then, by the ladies that ran the rescue she’d been living at for six months. She’d been found wandering the streets of northeast Georgia alone and hungry.  She seemed easily startled and they soon realized that was because she could not hear.   She was camera shy, so in the picture her face is turned back towards the camera over one sholder.  She’s standing still for the photo, but you can tell she doesn’t like it.  She’s doing it because she knows these nice people want her to, and she usually does what nice people ask.  I knew she was my dog before I even read the caption under her picture.  I thought she was all soul.  It turned out she was also very largely joy.

Olive, named for the sound a deaf friend made when he said “I Love You” quickly became the most important piece of my life.  She was waiting for me every morning when I got out of bed and in the afternoons when I came home.  She was so horribly shy at first that she couldn’t stand to see me leave the room without her, and followed each of my steps.  Though I was still deeply sad and anxious, I got up on weekends to make sure that Olive had a walk.  The desire to let Olive see more of her own kind got me out of that crappy apartment to the dog park, where I began to see more of mine.  Her oddball tummy made me search out good food for her, and realize what I was eating myself.  And then that day when the bottom finally dropped out, Olive sat between my legs in the floor while I held on to her for hours.  She was what I gripped when I decided to go ahead and try the climb.

She became the friend that would walk beside me across half a country, down 100 pounds, away from a life I was designing to be free of anyone I loved enough to weep for, and towards the courage to find the one I live today.  Olive gradually made me remember that the flow of love is worth the pain it brings with it, and that despite my many faults I am a person who loves well.  She found the heart I tried to throw away, and brought it back to me.  That was the only thing she ever bothered to fetch.

More than six years ago she found a woman alone, with a stale and blank face.  This morning my kind husband told me that he loved me and took our two month old daughter from the room.  I held sweet sweet Olive against me and she took her leave.


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10 Responses to “Sweet Sweet Olive”

  1. Victoria Giddens Says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Our animal family can have a large impact on our lives, and it sounds like she saved yours. My prayers go to you and your family. Rest in Peace Olive.


  2. Ally Says:

    love. sending you lots of love. love and more love.

  3. jacque (bluelou) Says:

    Now I’m bawling through my breakfast but toasting you for the luck you and she had in finding each other. I’m so sorry that you lost your heart’s dog.

  4. Phil Glockner Says:

    Olive was a great dog. I liked how she would sit quietly and let me scritch her head for as long as I could stand to do it. Being deaf, I assumed she didn’t like to bark but I was quickly proven wrong, she barked when she was excited or defending the yard. She knew how to walk the line between preferring the company of people over other dogs, but not making herself a pest. She had beautiful eyes.

    Rest in peace, Olive.

  5. Staci Says:

    Oh Zoe,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She knew that your heart was well and now she rests.

  6. sunburntkamel Says:

    damn, Olive was awesome, even without knowing most of the backstory 😦

  7. Nan Says:

    Zoe, I’m weeping. Just found this today. Beautiful story about two lost souls who found each other at just the right time. You so enriched each others lives. You were so loved.

  8. Elaine Says:

    God brought you blessings out of your mountain of ashes. I believe he created Olive purposely for you. After she helped you heal, you received two more blessings–a husband and a little child whom you can teach to be kind to dogs and kitties, and how to love Jesus. How good it is of you to share this personal piece with us. I know your heart is breaking because Olive is gone now, but the results of her life are within yourself and all around you! You’ll never forget her! God bless you and yours!

    • aggiezoe Says:

      For the record I’m an agnostic…. or I suppose it’s more truthful to say that I am atheistic to the beliefs of every religion I’ve come across. But Olive was something. Calling her a blessing, gift, or happy coincidence…. none of those are off base, and if you find Jesus in that then so be it.

  9. Maryann Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I believe that you and Olive were brought together by God. Olive gave you your heart back and in turn you were there to give her the love she needed. Such a sad story about a beautiful dog, at least she found someone who really loved her and was always there for her. The loss of a pet is heart breaking, I know how you feel I have been through it myself. It’s as if you lost your child, and you did because pets are our children. They give us so much love and they ask for nothing in return. All they want to do is please and be loved and thats not asking for much from such a faithful and loyal friend. I’m so glad Olive had you in her life, she was able to make you see that you did have a heart and in turn you were able to give her the love she so desperately needed. Olive was and will always be your best friend and that friendship will never be replaced. I wish you well and I hope the heart Olive helped you find will heal soon. Sweet Sweet Olive she sure lived up to her name. Rest in peace Olive and may you have many friends in pet heaven.

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