Ollie, The Dog Who Left A Pawprint on his Family’s Hearts

By Kirsten Millar

Have you ever met someone that came into your life and changed it for the better? For Dan and Lindsey Harrington, that someone was a dog named Ollie. Their lives are forever impacted both by the love they had with Ollie, and by the hole left in their hearts when they lost him.

Around eight years ago, Dan visited the Dartmouth SPCA to adopt a cat when he saw Ollie’s face on the board of adoptables. “He looked somewhat nervous, but he was also so cute and hopeful looking. He had this fuzzy blonde fur and the pinkest nose,” says Dan.

During that visit, Dan got to take Ollie for their very first walk together and he felt an instant connection. “When we started walking, he seemed a little anxious, but he also had a positive energy and curiosity towards everything around him. I knew he was the dog for me,” he says.

Ollie took his time adjusting to his new home, to Dan, and to Lindsey and her dog. He understandably struggled at first to navigate these new relationships and new boundaries.

“Once, in our early days, I tried to get in my bed beside him and he growled, wanting the whole thing to himself. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we soon became inseparable,” says Dan.

When Ollie got more comfortable with his new surroundings, his personality got to shine and their little family grew closer and began to have fun together.

“He was a very nervous boy but always had a smile on his face and was always up for an adventure,” says Dan. “He loved it at the cottage and the camper. I would hook him up to my bicycle and he would run for ages. He loved rolling in the snow. One of his great loves was squeak toys – I would buy squeakers by the 100 pack. He loved sleeping under the table and when we switched from a four-legged table to a pedestal model, he was not impressed,” says Dan.

And Ollie loved to be around his people. When Dan was working in his shop, Ollie would lay down beside him for hours to just to watch him work. “We had a beautiful life together,” says Dan.

Along with the good times, Ollie also faced many challenges in his life. He dealt with health issues and anxiety and underwent surgeries. But Ollie never let it stop him or slow him down, even when he was in pain. “In our seven years together, he taught me a lot of patience and understanding. The way he enjoyed life and lived in the moment was inspiring,” says Dan.

Ollie leaves behind a beautiful legacy, not only as a special family member to Lindsey and Dan, but through his obituary where Lindsey honours Ollie’s memory by asking folks to donate to foundations like the SPCA so that other dogs like him can be given a chance at a meaningful life.

Ollie’s life is a true example of how giving a shelter animal a chance can complete your family and leave a pawprint on your heart that stays there forever. “He lived life to the fullest and took joy in the simple things,” says Dan. “I try to do that more now.”

Kirsten Millar

Kirsten is an animal lover and proud “dog aunt” who recently lost her two cats that she adopted from the SPCA in 2007. She volunteers at the SPCA to honour their memory and help other animals like them.