Farewell, Sweet Oli

Farewell to Oli the senior blog dog of Dalmatian DIY

With heavy hearts, we say farewell to our sweet senior spotty, Oli. As our furfriends on Instagram and Facebook are already aware, our beloved senior blog dog Oliver (Oli) has crossed the rainbow bridge. The world will be a darker place without his light and love, but he is at peace and will be forever in our hearts. Thank you for loving him with us. Snuggle your furbabies a little closer, have fun together, and spoil them rotten. Farewell, Oli. We’ll love you always.

Saying Farewell to our Sweet Senior Spotty

It was a beautiful fourteen years of love, laughter, companionship, and adventure. When I first met Oli as a young pup, he was not impressed with the wicked stepmother with whom he had to share his Daddy’s attention. And I, on the other hand, was a life-long cat lover who had never quite gotten over her childhood fear of dogs. Oh how the times have changed! Hahah! Oli was the first dog to steal my heart. Now I’m the neighbourhood’s crazy dog lady.
Across cities and countries, highs and lows, good times and bad, Oli was a constant. A gentle giant, he was always quick with a smile and had a magical ability to charm everyone he met, no matter the circumstances. He was impossible to resist. And I’m pretty sure he knew it, too. My cheeky old chap. My soulmate. 
Oli’s mind was sharp to the very end, but the years had taken their toll and his old body was too weary to continue. His final days were filled with love, stroller rolls to his favourite sniffing spots, car rides, and a whole lot of treats. It was a barbecue bonanza of his favourites, with he and Humphrey sniffing happily on their patio beds, wrapped in warm blankies against the winter chill. 
A big rainbow arched across the sky over our neighbourhood on the morning that Oli passed. It was fate telling us that it was time. He crossed the rainbow bridge with his family at his side, Humphrey included. A lipstick kiss from Momma on his cheek, wearing one of his shirt collars and bow ties from Daddy, and left us with a homemade blanket to keep him wrapped in love until his cremation. 
“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne  And what a big beautiful shadow you cast indeed, Oli. Looming large in our hearts, living on in our memories.  Good night, sweet prince. I’ll see you in my dreams.
Dalmatian dog walking on beach with large shadow

Creating Memories, Mementos, and More

There are some special projects that I’m glad I did when Oli was younger, and others as well as in his final few months. When our cat Tiger fell rapidly ill and passed away, we were left with regrets for things we never got to do. That inspired a few changes with Oli and Humphrey that we carry going forward. I may, someday when my heart can handle it, write a full post about pet illness, loss, and grief. But I have to confess that there have been many tears trying to write this post.  For now, here are some of the moments, memories, and mementos that I hold close to my heart in case they might be helpful for other pet owners looking towards the rainbow on the horizon.

Making Memories and Enjoying Time Together

We’ve been living our life fuller these last few months. Smaller and slower, but fuller. Understanding that time is precious, for people and pets, and how quickly things can change. We have so many beautiful memories with the boys. It was very special that Oli got to spend time with my parents this year (he loved their generosity with sneaky snacks!) and that we did a few road trips to favourite places before COVID and the lockdown. He got to sniff his old beachesroll his old trails, and explore some new places, too. Those final visits to favourite places together and road trip memories are particularly precious. 
COVID lockdown restrictions gifted us family time together at home. We got to quietly celebrate a final Easter and a final birthday in our family bubble. Roadies were out, but stroller rolls were in. I even took him running a few times in his giant stroller so that he could feel the wind in his fur! Old momma pushing Oli was a pretty slow sad excuse for a car ride, but he still had the biggest grin. Worth every moment. Lockdown restrictions finally lifting let us get in a final family day at the beach, too.  It was chilly, but Oli and Humphrey ate fish and chips with their Dad, lay on blankets in the sun, and smelled all the good smells of the ocean one last time together.

Creative Keepsakes

Tucked away safely in our mementos are Oli’s original clay paw prints and my needle-felted fur-filled heart. I recently took new sets of clay paw prints for both Oli and Humphrey so that I could have spares. There is a very special project planned for them at a later date. I also took some special ink paw prints of both boys recently and will share that DIY project here on the blog at some future stage.

Furfamily Photos

One of the easiest and most accessible creative activities for you and your pets is to take more photos. I regretted not having more photos with Tiger and I together. To be honest, I have very few photos with me actually in them. I dislike being in front of the camera, but I’ve gotten a little better about asking hubby to take a snap or two with me and the boys. Of course, that means he’s wielding the camera. Actual family photos with all of us are very few and far between. During my parent’s recent visit, we were lucky enough to get a few precious photos with the whole furfamily. They’re just casual photos as the arrival of COVID cut short their trip and our plans for an actual posed family photo shoot, but these are still absolute treasures. This one is my favourite:

Family portrait of the blog dogs of Dalmatian DIY and their humans
If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll see me occasionally pop up in a selfie with the dogs in our stories and posts. I’m not a fan of selfies, but I make an exception for pictures with the dogs. This smoochy selfie was one of our last photos together. My heart. Enjoy the outtakes and bloopers along the way, too. Remember these beach selfies from our Facebook? They make me smile whenever I see them.
I’m also glad that I have a few final private family photos of Oli. I learned from Tiger’s loss how much those final photos helped with the grieving process. There are candids of Oli with us during his last few days and some special close-up photos of his beautiful paws and sweet snozzle. I haven’t been able to bring myself to edit those yet, but the RAW files are sitting in a folder for when I’m ready. Not yet. I’ve cried too many times just trying to write this post, even after putting it off for a few weeks before writing. I’ve done a lot of very ugly crying lately. But there are also so many happy memories to soothe the broken heart.

With Love and Gratitude

Much love from our furfamily to you and yours, and a most sincere thank you for the love, likes, shares, and well-wishes you’ve given to Oli over the years. He is the original DIY dog and his legacy will live on here on the blog, in Humphrey, and in our hearts.

Farewell to Oli the senior blog dog of Dalmatian DIY

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