Ollie, the O.G. education dog (of the current generation) is stepping (pawing?) down from his role as education dog in the Dublin area. Fiona, his owner, is the Education Manager, and as our department has expanded, Fiona no longer visits schools or community groups, instead focussing on the running of our incredibly busy team. But this means then, that Ollie is no longer visiting schools himself. To celebrate Ollie’s successful stint as Education Dog, today’s blog post is an Ode to Ollie, as we interview him about his career.
Cool as a cucumber, this chill pup has been helping children in Dublin schools and community groups for many a year. With his gentle manner and lovable personality, he stole the hearts of many. Ollie, we’re going to miss you buddy!
Hi Ollie. Congratulations on your retirement. How do you feel about stepping down from your role?
Thanks Paul. It is bittersweet! I am excited to have my long lie ins as it was super busy getting up and out to school (as many of you will know) but I am going to miss that busyness all the same and meeting all of the lovely new people each day!
Can you tell us some highlights from your distinguished career?
Going to school with my fellow boxer brother Jake was ultra cool! Once or twice we both went into school together and we definitely ruled the roost ha ha, even on the days I visited on my own, I have to say you feel a bit like a celeb. People couldn’t take their eyes off me and whispering my name around every corner, I really was the star of the show 😊
You’ve built quite the fanbase over the years, Have you received any fanmail, or fan art of particular note?
Oh absolutely! Just have a look at the pics below, I mean come on – is that fan mail or is that fan mail, I have to say I am a very lucky pup! Again celeb status I think may be called for here! Ha ha, okay I will cool the jets.
letters from Ollie's adoring fans
What memories of your time as an education dog stand out?
Getting my Kong at the start of each class when I was learning was heaven! Also, sometimes I got lovely presents in the classes I visited, who doesn’t love presents? But of course, I shared these with my doggies pals back in Dogs Trust, they needed it more than me. My mum gives me lots of surprises, lucky me.
What do you plan to do with all your spare time now you won’t be visiting schools, libraries and youth centres?
Mmmmm Gosh, lots of important things, lots and lots of walks! Playing with my tennis ball – my fav thing to do in the whole wide world! Also, I will still be holding the title of office dog, keeping mum company as she works hard planning all the fun things for the Education Department, and what’s coming next! I can’t be giving away too many secrets but I did see mum working on some new workshops for secondary schools and some new materials for Adults too....Watch this space! 😊
How to train your human by Walker N. Lovim
Do you have any words of wisdom to pass on to any dogs who might like to become education dogs some day?
Well, when I first started, I assumed everyone would get to pet the education dog, and I was a little worried about that. But of course, that wasn’t the case. Education dogs (like all dogs) get to choose who, and when they get a rub, so my advice to a new education dog would be to trust in your owner.
People were always very good at asking mum if they would like to pet me, and mum is really clever as she knows if I am feeling the vibes or not 😊 But it was down to me of course. If I felt like saying hello−which was not everyday−but when I did, I sniffed the human to get an idea of who they were before they rubbed me, which was nice. They often asked mum where my favourite spot to get rubbed was, and Mum always told them my ears were quite sensitive so I don’t like them being touched.
So, sorry, where was I? Advice to new education dogs? Well, get ready for being number two, because you’re never going to get the title of number one education dog!!!! Even after my retirement. Woof! 😊
Thank you Ollie, and as a special surprise, we asked Fiona for a few words on her time working with you. Congratulations Ollie!
What more could a dog mum want but you by my side when I went to work every day and I still get to have you with me some days in the office at home 😊
You have done an amazing job educating thousands of children and adults on being safe and responsible around dogs, as well as helping some children with their fear too! You really do deserve to pop your paws up, get some belly rubs (your other fav I know) and have a well-deserved snore! Thank you Ollie and well done, you truly are a star!