I've found my furever family!


We're happy to tell you that Oliver has a new furever home.
Please visit our Available Dogs Page to see the pups currently available.

In May 2023, a two year old, male standard poodle named Oliver bounced into SPIN. He was an owner surrender due to changed life circumstances. He was a big, silly boy who loved to play! However, where he really pulled our heartstrings, he loved to be petted and scratched. He would lean in and literally swoon into your arms. Oliver just melts. It's ridiculous really.

Oliver’s is one of those stories of a foster dog being moved into different foster homes through no fault of his own. It’s not one that I like to tell, to be honest. We feel bad every time we have to change homes. Each of the fosters tried their very best. They gave Oliver so much love. But each time circumstances were such that he had to move. Spoiler alert. This story has a very very good ending.

When Oliver was surrendered we thought we had a foster home, but when that foster home became unavailable we asked John at BlackDog Pet Resort in Bowmanville if he could foster Oliver while we found a placement. John readily agreed! He is partial to the poodles ya know.

After much searching, Anthony in Toronto put up his hand. Now Anthony lived in an apartment high rise in Toronto and while it wasn’t the best environment for a leash reactive dog like Oliver, Anthony was confident he would be okay. When Oliver saw a dog he would bounce and leap and twirl and bark. The problem is he is big… He just wanted to meet them, but gosh, this behaviour did nothing to instill confidence. Here is one of Anthony’s first posts:

Still working on some behavioral issues.  That said we have bonded very close.  I take great care of him and he, in turn, does the same.  He has become my comforter and protector.   Almost like he knows I have a shattered pelvis.   I think he would be a great therapeutic dog.  To the lucky family that has the patience, you will be blessed to have Oliver in your home.

Yes, you read that right. Anthony had a shattered pelvis and was in the last stages of recovery. But Anthony finally admitted that he had perhaps taken too much on. It’s hard to know our limits especially when someone was fit and vital before an accident. I think that was the toughest decision Anthony has ever had to make.

So Oliver came back to John at BlackDog. Not that Oliver minded, to be honest. He was having so much fun with all the SPIN dogs and John’s own poodle pack.

SPIN has many volunteers who go to BlackDog to help with the SPIN dogs. We really can’t thank them enough. On July 21 Daphne wrote this about Oliver:

With focused training this boy could learn to write SMART on the chalkboard. Holy cannolies, what a quick study. An exuberant oversized lap dog, and seemed as though he had no sense of personal space. I think it's more a case of any attention is good attention. He figures out lightening quickly how to get it and responds very well to positive reinforcement, aka ignore his nonsense and praise when he settles. When asked, he comfortably settled on the couch while I spent some quiet time on the floor with GingerRoo and Squirrel. When asked, he got down, flopped for some belly and leg scratches, then happily went back up when asked. He loves being "good boy", just needs guidance to what constitutes that. I practiced sit, platz/down and Wait for the treat put 18" out front. Third try!!! He waited for the okay, frozen except for his tail wagging an obvious, "I got this!" His joy was infectious. I believe Oliver has the capacity to learn an extensive human vocabulary.

In August, another foster home put their hand up for Oliver. Off he went and proceeded to create havoc. He could not wait to meet their cat. Apparently his energetic, off kilter greeting to dogs on leash extends to new cats in a new foster home. The foster was convinced her cat may not survive the greeting. It’s best not to test these things—we agree. PLUS Oliver ate a stuffy and wound up at the vet. Returned home and ate another one! For heaven’s sake Oliver.

Not surprisingly, Oliver returned to BlackDog.   

When Oliver was at BlackDog prior, Lesia often took him for leash walks, keeping him engaged and teaching him how to remain calm:

Look at this handsome boy! He’s really great on a leash, Will do anything for a treat! He gets a little too excited while on a leash when other dogs are around but he can be redirected and will sit with the slightest hand gesture. He loves running around with other dogs in off leash areas but can be a bit too much for older dogs. Oliver has excellent recall. He’s a lovely affectionate boy.

On our outing today, we kept it light and positive with Oliver.  We did our best to not put him into any situations where he could potentially make the wrong decision.  We had a relaxed and well-behaved dog the whole way.  We encountered dogs but kept a comfortable distance away that Oliver could handle.  Oliver learned during the walk that he could trust us to keep him safe.  That comfortable distance got shorter and shorter as we continued to keep him safe.  When we did encounter an off leash dog on a trail around a blind corner, Oliver was calm and had a really nice and respectful interaction with this dog.  I love Oliver.  He has so much potential in the right hands.  A very easy dog if you know what you are doing, and if not, are not too proud to admit it and are willing to learn. In turn, you will be rewarded with a loving, affectionate dog that desperately wants to please his people.

In October, Oliver went to his fourth and final foster home. Sophie was a serial foster with SPIN before she took a bit of a break from fostering. She shared her home with SPIN alum Ugo and a itty bitty little gem of a dog named Cinnamon. Sophie and John Paul came to meet Oliver and immediately fell in love with him. We will be fine! Given the experience with the prior foster’s cat, we were a little skeptical, but they assured us everything would be okay.

When they stopped for a pee break on the way home, little Cinnamon slipped her leash and ran back towards Sophie. Oliver, likely thinking he was being a hero, stopped the little dog by taking her into his mouth. Oh Oliver. Cinnamon was a bit wet, and slightly shaken, but completely unharmed.

Later the following day, Sophie reported that when she had Cinnamon in her arms, Oliver did jump up. Okay. You want to return him? What? Sophie asked. No we are not returning him. We will just keep them separate for a while.

And so they did. Soon Ugo, Oliver and Cinnamon were all sleeping on the bed together. I have no idea where Sophie and JP slept…

And then, well then we got this post from Oliver’s foster brother, Ugo:

I spent 6 weeks training this Oliver dude (aka Oliverliver, Ollie, handsome boy, and all sorts of names like that) to be calm and balanced. I even shared my humans. And then guess what? Some people came and thought he was such a good boy they took him away. Now mom says they are sending this young girl in. Whatever. I am a good boy so I will teach her how to be a grown up anyway. –Ugo

Yes, that’s right. Oliver has found a home of his own. Ugo spilled the beans! And yes. Ugo will be receiving a new foster sister named Snowflake!

Seriously. Thank you to everyone who was a part of Oliver’s journey. Through the good and the bad, we all had Oliver’s best interests at heart. Thank you to the veterinary team, the dog walkers, the people who hung out with him. The groomers! Poodles as big as Oliver take at least 3 hours and they didn’t ask for a dime. It’s all worthwhile when we get posts like this from the lovely people who adopt:

I wanted to let you know that the first couple of days have been fantastic. It's been very quiet as we settle Oliver into his routine. He seems to be adapting well. Since he joined us on Thursday, he's eaten well, slept well and seems very happy. He is always wagging his tail and giving us plenty of kisses. He is walking well on his leash, but is a bit reactive to dogs in the neighbourhood. We will be putting him into a training class in a couple of weeks, once he settles in.

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