"... All he's worried about is his dog and who will look after him while he's not around..."
The world has shifted so much for Tom* throughout his life. Family and friends have come and gone, but one thing has always remained constant - the unwavering friendship of his best friend, Ollie*. Tom has had Ollie since he was a small bundle of fluff that fit in the palm of his hand, and 16 years later, Ollie is still by his side. Although Ollie is now partially deaf and blind and suffers from arthritis, his little buddy is perfection in Tom's eye.
This incredible bond is what has kept Tom going through all that life has thrown at him over the years. Tom would do anything for his tiny mate, which is how we met the pair last Friday.
Tom's caseworker, Pamela, brought them to SCAR to see if we could assist with some ongoing emergency boarding for little Ollie. You see, Tom has been suffering from issues that require regular hospitalisation, but has always struggled to find someone to care for Ollie in his absence.
As Pamela watched Tom and Ollie in the yard at SCAR, her eyes welled up as she told us, "I've been working with Tom and Ollie for over a year now, and irrespective of Tom's struggles, Ollie has always been THE most important priority in Tom's life. Whenever Tom needs to go into hospital, he is never concerned about his own health or wellbeing; all he's worried about is his dog and who will look after him while he's not around. And Tom is only able to let go and relax when he knows that Ollie is in safe hands.' Then, she looked over at the pair and added, "It's true love at its finest."
Our SAFE House for Pets emergency boarding program exists to help people just like Tom for this exact reason. So that those who are struggling to take care of their pets due to homelessness, illness, situations of domestic and family violence or other hardships have a temporary place to leave their four-legged family members while they get back on their feet. And they can do so knowing that their best friend is safely being looked after and loved by our entire team.
Over the last week, Ollie has been in our care free of charge as Tom is not in a position to cover Ollie's boarding costs. So every couple of days, Pamela will bring Tom in to visit his best friend and each time, Tom is buzzing with anticipation as he waits for Ollie, a massive bag of dog treats in his hands.
When Ollie sees Tom waiting for him with open arms, the normally reserved senior will jump and bound around the yard like a young puppy! Tom's eyes light up with glee, and the world melts away for this duo, who are just happy to know the other is safe.
Recently, Tom and Ollie were finally reunited after Tom was able to secure permanent housing for himself and his tiny soulmate, and let's just say, when Tom came to pick up Ollie, there weren't many dry eyes in the reception room!!
As Ollie wiggled about on the floor in attempts to climb into Tom's lap and smother him in kisses, Tom was overcome with gratitude and love. He reached into his pocket and placed the only coins he had into a donation tin on the reception desk before stating, "I may not be able to give you much, but you will always have my prayers and thanks – and they can move mountains."
We wish these two all the very, VERY, best for their future together!
*At SCAR, we respect everyone who comes to us for help, especially those working toward a fresh start in life. While this story is true, we have altered our clients' names to protect their privacy.