Oliver spent his first day with PAWS Events Coordinator and foster volunteer Eleanor Blackford, trying to make himself as invisible as possible. Shivering, he'd back into a corner and stare at Eleanor with wide eyes full of fear and uncertainty. No manner of treats, kind words or coaxing put him at ease. Oliver is one of the American Eskimo dogs PAWS took in from a puppy mill near Kennewick, Washington. After living his entire two years in a cramped cage void of human interaction and simple pleasures, such as toys and walks, this new world was overwhelming.
But within just a couple of weeks, Oliver showed just how resilient the spirit can be. With her experience fostering puppy mill dogs and gentle patience, Eleanor helped him gradually learn how to become a more normal dog and brought him to work at PAWS every day. That's when Sandy Warner, PAWS Humane Education Manager and office mate to Eleanor, met Oliver. "I was simply amazed by the progression this little dog made," shared Sandy, "and I fell in love."
Sandy and her husband Marc had been thinking about adopting a third dog, and knew they could provide for one with special needs. Where he used to run away, Oliver now happily greeted Sandy when she came by to visit with a boisterous tail wag and wet kisses. Oliver is now living the life he deserves with Sandy and Marc, one full of playtime, plenty of toys and even some pampering.
"After a busy day, I brush Oliver and give him a gentle body and paw massage," described Sandy. "While I do this, he will stretch out, give a contented sigh and fall asleep. I find that pretty amazing for a dog who was once afraid of being touched."