January 24, 2005

Olivia Retrospective

I've written a lot over the last few weeks about the newest addition, Pont and his older sister Glynis. Now I want to get around to writing more about our first dog Olivia. Call it Olivia Sweeps Week!

And we might as well get the terrible stuff out of the way first by posting a notice we sent to friends and relatives shortly after Olivia passed away. Here it is, as first posted on July 11, 2001.

In Loving Memory

Dear Friends and Relatives:

After an extended illness Olivia Kachina Kodak, our Dalmatian, was put to sleep on July 10. We ask that those whose lives she touched reflect for a brief time on special moments you may have shared with her.

Olivia was born in Olivia, Minn., on May 16, 1992. Olivia’s father was Bubba’s Bravo and her mother Kodak’s Ultralife, the dog featured in Kodak Ultralife batteries ads during 1991. Olivia’s bloodline included the famous Dalmatian champion Paisley Spirit O Hopi Kachina, hence, her name Olivia Kachina Kodak.

Olivia was purchased from Tami Revier at the Hardee’s in Glencoe, Minn., on June 29, 1992. She slept on Jackie’s lap during the entire trip home. Upon arrival, Olivia made several romps around the yard before crashing in the three-season porch and sleeping the entire night through.

Olivia was the original “Surfin’ Dalmatian” as a puppy. She liked to lie on her belly, front paws stretched out in front of her, and push forward with her rear paws. She loved to go for runs and play with her sister, Glynis the whippet, in the backyard…and many times in the house!

She was a beautiful dog with soulful dark eyes and a heart-shaped black nose. Her glossy, spotted coat was a kid-magnet and walks around the neighborhood were often interrupted with shouts of, “A Dalmatian dog! Can we pet her?”

Liv was patient with small children and while she was initially unsure of her place in the household after her little brother Graham was born, she grew to appreciate his attempts at “gentle touches.” Even though she may have resented him a bit, no strangers could get near him without seeing a flash of her protective, snarling stance.

Did you know that Olivia could actually smile? Dalmatians are the only breed that has this genetic trait and Olivia would stand at the top of the stairs and smarl (smile and snarl) when those she knew and loved would enter the house. If you had the pleasure of visiting Olivia at our (her) house, you know that she enthusiastically welcomed all guests. Typically within five minutes of their arrival, we would find visitors stroking her head with Olivia curled against them.

She had some bad habits as well. She was a counter creeper and had been known to eat entire sticks of butter when no one was looking. She licked her feet obsessively, which drove us mad and left couch cushions soaked. She was a very smart, very stubborn dog who would often disregard a command until she felt like responding to it.

But these little flashes of personality are also some of the things we will miss most about her. When we got home from the vet’s after putting her to sleep, we could feel her absence immediately. There was no Olivia to greet us with a wagging tail and a smiling face. From now on, there will be no Olivia to jump in the middle of our bed and hog all the covers. There will be no cold, wet noses reminding us that she needed attention. And there will be no more dark, soulful eyes looking at us with trust and affection.

There may be a few of you who feel we have finally gone off the deep end, particularly if you have never had to let a beloved pet go. Indulge us for a moment. For us, we have lost a treasured child, our first-born. We held her as she slipped away and felt a piece of our hearts leave with her. A part of us will be missing forever

We know we did the right thing in easing her way. After our visit to the vet, we watched a videotape of Olivia when she was three years old. How full of life she was – jumping and playing, sitting for treats, positively quivering with energy.

This is how we will always remember her. We hope you will too.

Brian and Jackie Maas

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Posted by maasx003 at January 24, 2005 8:21 PM