Oliver, Entitlement, Family!

Eric, Kelly, and Josie

What a week or two it has been!  Last Sunday I had a wonderful visit from Eric, Kelly, and Josie and I was so very grateful that they were able to fit that into their busy schedule since this week was big for both Eric and me.  I had sinus surgery on Wednesday, which I am still trying to recover from, and Eric ran the Bighorn 100 mile trail endurance run Friday and Saturday, finishing 60th out of 115 finishers, with a time of 29 hours 51 minutes 46 seconds, and I would imagine he is going to be recovering from that over the next few days/weeks!  Congratulations Eric!

Eric, Poosa, Kelly, and Josie

And then I heard from my daughter, Pamela, first time in 14 years, and we are now texting!  I’m having to learn how to text and also how to keep my phone charged and how to discover when I have text messages other than tweets, but I am learning and there couldn’t be a better incentive!  Reconnecting with Pamela has definitely brought me a joy beyond all belief!

Oliver and Poosa

And if that weren’t enough for the week, I got a chance to adopt another dog, a beautiful 5 yr. old black and white cocker named Oliver!  Our main vet, Dr. Nell, had told me about him when she was here a little over a week ago taking blood from Sasha, and I fell in love with him just from his photo and his life story.  He is the same coloring as Poosa and they are about the same age as well.  I got a call from the foster lady on Wednesday as I was at the Polyclinic filling out my admitting forms for my surgery!  I explained my situation, but said yes, I wanted Oliver for sure, and by Friday afternoon I felt up to meeting him.  He is wonderful and he is now a full-fledged member of our family!  I’ve ordered up his dog bed, tag, collar, and leash so he will have the same as Poosa and Chauncey, but in purple (Chauncey is blue and Poosa, pink).  Yesterday, when I noticed his eyes were rather goopy I had Dr. Alan come out for a “farm visit” to check Oliver over, and Oliver is now also on eye drops (he was on lip meds since he has only 12 teeth and so does drool and his lips then need daily attention), and he got the last of his injections (rabies and lepto, although the lepto will need a booster in 3-4 weeks), so Oliver is definitely ours!  I even rearranged the living room so I now have one of the couches right next to my chair so Oliver can be petted (and so of course can Poosa and Chauncey) when I’m sitting there.  Otherwise, he likes to be at my feet when I’m at my desk or else right next to my bed on my yoga cushion which we are using as a dog bed till his arrives.


I’m not sure what trauma Oliver went through before he came to me.  His teeth were so bad that Dr. Nell had to remove most of them (he now has only 12 teeth, out of the 42 most dogs have).  There was mention from the foster mom about Oliver living with toddlers who were allowed to terrorize him, but I think there must have been much more to his early life, as he is not only very shy, another scared little rabbit in our family, but he doesn’t feel entitled to anything!

Poosa and Oliver

Oliver’s arrival got me thinking about issues of entitlement and worthiness, issues which I also have.  All of my companions are rescued animals and each has his/her own story.  Sasha was rescued by Eric from the Seattle Humane Society 13 years ago when she was 2, and she was so sick we didn’t know if she would survive.  But she has, beautifully, and she is even working hard at beating aggressive oral cancer.  She has learned, especially through this last illness, to get what she needs to survive and I’m very proud of her.  Thackeray lost his mother at birth, but was bottle fed until I adopted him at the tender age of 8 weeks.  He is now 12 years old and trust me, Thackeray has absolutely no issues of entitlement!  He has ruled his world from the get-go even with the early loss of his mother.  Laoise (a Celtic name Eric gave her, which is pronounced Leesha) is a very shy cat and usually stays hidden when anyone else comes into the house, but there is absolutely no question about her feeling entitled where the other cats and even dogs are concerned!  She is always first to the food bowl, and she loves to be petted and fussed over.  Those are my cats.

Then for the dogs, we have Chauncey who was a rescued dog found at the side of the road when he was about 1 year old, but he lived on a farm in Eastern Washington for another four years and then his family went through a divorce, and I was fortunate enough to be able to adopt him.  He fit in right away and has ruled the doggie world in my home now for 8 years.  He also knows he is entitled to care and he definitely sees to it that his needs are met.  Poosa lived her first 5 years at a breeders and then I adopted her last year.  From the beginning it was clear that while she was a timid soul, jumping at loud noises (she still runs every time my steamer turns off!), and while she’d never known a dog bed or a dog toy, she certainly had not been mistreated as she also is excellent at feeling entitled and getting her needs met–just ask anyone who comes over as Poosa makes sure she gets lots of extra loving.  


And that brings me now to Oliver.  He is shy and easily startled by any noise, even soft ones.  But beyond that, he disappears or hides as a way to stay invisible.  I certainly understand that behavior–I too have followed that path.  If no one sees us, then we can’t be hurt, etc.  But we also cannot get our basic needs met.  I am learning, as I heal, to develop feelings of worthiness and entitlement which I never had growning up.  It is difficult and undoing the past programming is very hard, especially when something triggers a reaction from the past.  But I am showing up more, staying present, learning not to abandon myself under any perceived threats (well sometimes anyway–this is still very hard for me).  And I think it is the same for Oliver!  But already we’ve seen a change.  He has, for instance, just come out of my bedroom and sat himself down at my feet under my desk so he is with us.  I had to keep the 1/2 bath door shut for the first couple days until Oliver found his new safe spot next to my bed as he wanted to hide in the corner behind the toilet, but now the door is open and Oliver is staying out with us.  Yesterday he slept most of the afternoon and evening on the couch right next to me and I gave him lots of love.  The last two mornings he has followed Poosa around the yard while I was showering and the two are so cute together.

I know that we are a good fit, Oliver and I, and that we can help each other to heal.  And I know that the other two dogs as well as the cats will help us as well.  Our family has grown and another injured soul has been rescued!  We now consist of one human, three dogs, and three cats, 4 female, 3 male (hey, we females have to keep the upper hand!).  This is a perfect time for Oliver to settle in as my calendar was already cleared off because of my surgery and my schedule is much quieter in the summer anyway, so Oliver will get settled in nicely now and never again will he be hurt or mistreated.  He can learn that he is definitely worthy of having his needs met, he is entitled to all the love and care we can show him and he will give that love back doubled in spades!  Welcome, Oliver, to our family! 

3 responses

  1. Congratulations to Eric! I have no idea how anyone does what he did, but bravo! 🙂 It's POURING rain here today with thunderstorms in the offing, so the run was timed perfectly. I love his green sneaks, they go well in your rainbow house! 🙂 How did they like your remodeling?And it's nice that you and Pamela are back in touch, I hope that reconnection continues to bear happy fruit for you!And finally, congratulations to you and Oliver! He's adorable, and he and Poosa make a handsome pair! Oliver sure knows where the camera is, maybe he's a little ham at heart. 🙂 It'll be nice when he recovers his confidence as he settles in – sounds like he's already gotten a good start on that. The photo of him peeking out from under/behind the trees is awfully sweet, even if it is of him feeling a need to hide. He and all your other furbabies are sure lucky to have found a forever home with you! Especially after the trauma they've all gone through. The presence and love of animals is so healing, you are all such good company and good medicine for each other!

  2. Thanks, Laurie, and so kind of you to get the weather to cooperate for Eric! And Oliver is wonderful! I'm so lucky with all my companions! Of course being in contact with Pamela is huge! Now if I can just heal from my surgery! Hope all is going well for you! Liked the idea of your sailing! That would really be cool!

  3. Thanks, Laurie, and so kind of you to get the weather to cooperate for Eric!Yes, well, one does what one can. ;-)Hope you feel better soon!!

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