In a little neighborhood in Northfield, Illinois, a free-spirited wanderer in the form of a lovely 15-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever named Oliver, a senior dog considered to be a best friend to many.
Back in 2020, his mom created an Instagram account for him to share his little adventures and day-to-day life with other dog lovers on the internet. People instantly fell in love with him and have been following him since. But, before strangers on the internet started to love Oliver, he had already captured the hearts of his neighbors.
“He’s a very determined dog with a very strict schedule,” says Melissa, Oliver’s neighbor and dog mom of Pudge the Pit (Oliver’s best friend). Every day, he comes and visits each neighbor according to his schedule. “He expects everyone to be very excited that he’s here. He wants the dogs jumping and then they all go inside the house. He immediately goes in front of my refrigerator and lays down.” Melissa adds. What’s amazing is no one ever put him up to it, he just started doing it and the neighbors just welcomed ol’ Oli into their households and families. Many call him a wandering grandpa and that could not be any truer.
When the clock strikes 7 in the morning, you can expect Oliver already waiting for you to let him in. At least, that was the schedule he had for visiting Melissa. She says that he would always act as if it’s a big surprise as he waits by her gate. Oliver has been visiting Melissa and her family for over nine (9) years, ever since she moved to the neighborhood. She eventually became good friends with Oliver’s mom as well.
They made sure that Oliver is in a community and environment that allows him to be safe and able to do what he wants, which is to wander around and visit neighbors during their breakfasts or wine hours.
Ever since he was a puppy, he has had this spirit of wanting to wander and they’ve figured that letting him do his thing would be the best. At the end of each day, he comes home to his mom, Sue, and then the cycle repeats.
You’re probably wondering how all of this is safe for a senior dog? Well, not only does Oliver live in a friendly neighborhood, but his mom has also attached a GPS tracker for them to be able to see where he is. At the age of 15, not being able to completely hear or see – he still knows the neighborhood by heart. He has it all mapped out in his brain.
Over the years, Oliver has become some kind of little institution over at the part of the lake where they live. He just has the desire to go out and touch other people’s lives. Without a fail, he did — up until he passed. Oliver was diagnosed with spleen masses in December of 2020. So, every day after that was a gift, and the days leading up to it can be considered a miracle.
Senior dogs like Oliver, or dogs in general, will never fully die. Their memory and the way they made people feel will forever live on.