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DOG OF THE WEEK

Olive
updated: Mar 08, 2014, 9:00 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Olive is a goldendoodle, a fancy mutt of golden retriever and standard poodle origin. She joined our family at Christmastime five years ago and was named after the main character in the children's book, Olive the Other Reindeer. She came to us by way of an ad on Craig's List, where she and her sib were being given away in the free forum. I rescued her and my friend rescued her (now surfing dog) brother. Having trained a therapy dog in the past, I know a thing or two about dog training, but Olive defied all logic. She marched to the tune of her own drummer, whether that meant escaping from a pen at 10 weeks, destroying my entire irrigation system, eating only the expensive Merrell shoes and Smartwool socks, barking incessantly at flying insects, or emptying her bladder on my antique linen velvet couch at 2 years old. To put it mildly, Olive's adolescence nearly killed me, and in referring to her, we just took to saying, "Well, you get what you pay for."

Not only was she stubborn and loud, she was a real ugly duckling. Olive wasn't like the cute curly goldendoodles you see on the calendars - she had long retriever hair on the sides and wiry, curly poodle hair down her back. Imagine a hyena and you've pretty much got the picture.

These days, Olive finally has near-perfect manners and knows several tricks, like sitting, staying, lying down, bowing, shaking, rolling over and high fives. She's reached that perfect doggie middle age where she's healthy for a long beach walk, but can be left alone without eating the garbage or the kid's retainer. The craziest thing she does, and she'll be doing a lot of it this week, happens when it rains. She's the only dog we've ever had who likes to sit in the rain and stare up into it. She'll spend most of today on the patio, staring into the face of clouds and raindrops. I haven't figured out why she does that; I guess she either sees the face of God in the rain or just doesn't have enough sense to get out of it!

As for her looks, like the ugly duckling, Olive magically transformed into a thing of beauty in her third year. People are always stopping us, gushing about how beautiful and well-behaved she is. In our family we all look at each other and snicker, remembering Olive's crazy, turbulent, hyena days.

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