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    • 16 Oct, 2017

    My Rescue and Me – Rebecca and Olive

    First-time dog owners Rebecca and Sunil Patel and their children, Sophie, 18, and George, 14, adopted Staffordshire terrier Olive from Mayhew at the beginning of last year. Sadly, Olive passed away in May 2017, aged nine. In this loving tribute, Rebecca explains how her TheraPaws rescue dog touched many lives and why she was the perfect first family pooch. 

    “Our son George was extremely keen for us to get a dog. As we work, a new puppy was out of the question. We knew loads of dogs are routinely abandoned for a variety of reasons, ending up in rescue shelters and in need of loving homes. To us, it was a no-brainer. We decided to adopt an adult rescue dog.

    I’d heard of Mayhew, so checked out the website before paying the animal home a visit. Forms were filled out. Following a short interview, we were told to keep an eye on the “Adopt” section of Mayhew’s website, as there were no dogs suitable for first-time owners available for adoption at that time.

    Soon after, we spotted Olive’s pictures on the site. We were delighted to read she was suitable for first-time owners and phoned the very same day to organise to meet her. I’ll admit, I was a little bit wary of Staffies at this point. I’d heard they had a reputation for being dangerous. This is simply not the case. But I was ignorant when it came to dogs in general, back then!

    Olive was an extremely gentle dog. As soon as George sat down with her in her pen, she lovingly placed her head on his knee. After taking her for a short walk, we knew Olive was the one for us! So we made it official, signing Olive’s adoption forms on the 10th February 2016.

    Olive settled into her new home quickly

    Olive settled into family life fast. Our home became hers. As first-time dog owners, we were delighted to discover what an easy dog Olive was to care for. She was cuddly and sweet and ever so pleased when we returned from work and school each day. You’d hear her tail thumping like a drum against the sofa a mile off. Other times, she’d be all over us like we’d been gone for days, when we’d only popped out for 20 minutes. We loved to take turns rewarding her for being such a good girl with her favourite treats – liver cake and boiled chicken.

    Olive at the beach

    Olive accompanied us almost everywhere. We took her to seaside holidays where she adored rolling about in the sand. Olive loved sunbathing indoors too. She was an expert at finding all the best spots in the house where the sun shone in. She’d stretch out in them to relax, an air of utter doggy contentment about her.

    Despite her love of lounging, Olive could be energetic. Every June, our family takes part in a 5km sponsored run. Olive even joined us for that! She also had the cute habit of trying to board any bus that happened to be passing as we strolled by a bus stop during her daily walks.

    Olive with Rebecca and son George

    After six months, I got Olive involved in TheraPaws®, Mayhew’s animal therapy programme. It sees volunteers and their canine friends visit London care homes, hospitals and hospices. Following an assessment, we began visiting a local care home every fortnight. Most residents looked forward to her visits and Olive was extremely patient and seemed to sense if someone wasn’t so keen to interact. One resident adored Olive and delighted in giving her treats. Another persisted in calling her by his old dog’s name. Olive didn’t mind! The pleasure she brought the residents was lovely to see.

    In November 2016, Olive was lucky enough to be invited to Mayhew’s Tinsel & Tails fundraiser. It was a red carpet event! A lovely evening was had by all and Olive behaved impeccably, despite not being very keen on other dogs – and there were a lot of dogs there!

    Olive and Rebecca at Tinsel & Tails 2016

    Olive and Rebecca at Tinsel & Tails. Photo credit Ian Robertson, Dog Star

    Around this time, busy Olive also paid a visit to Middlesex University with Mayhew’s TheraPaws® project manager, Luke Berman, and two other dogs, where she helped promote the benefits of animal therapy.

    Sadly, towards the end of April, Olive had a seizure. Tests found she had four brain tumours. She was put on steroids which worked for a short while however with the vet’s advice it was decided it would be best to have Olive put to sleep. She passed away on 8th May 2017. It was a very sad day.

    We miss Olive greatly, but cherish the time we had together. She was such an easy first-time dog. I believe we were spoilt to have her, and, in turn, she was spoilt by us and showered with affection by all who met her. Many people have told us they would never want to own a dog, but would gladly have had an Olive.”

    Have you recently lost a four-legged friend? Honour the precious time you spent together. Share fond memories of your pet with us by emailing [email protected]

    You may also wish to consider making a donation to Mayhew in memoriam of your beloved pet. Remember, your generosity helps homeless cats and dogs find the forever families they need.

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