ROOFTOP ADVENTURER COLLARS NEW HOME – AND STAR ROLE
YOU might remember Ollie, the adventurous pooch who was given up by his heartbroken owners after climbing onto their roof last year. The nine-stone Pyrenean mountain dog often found himself in the doghouse due to his “escape artist” antics. Huw and Loretta Evans, from Pontardawe near Swansea, admitted they weren’t able to leave him for more than half an hour without him disappearing in the hunt for adventure.
Firefighters were even called to their home when Ollie managed to squeeze out of the loft window – and got stuck on the roof of their threestorey townhouse.
His exasperated owners eventually made the difficult decision to hand him over to the Dogs Trust charity centre in Bridgend in the hope of finding him a new forever home.
Luckily, that new owner came in the form of animal lover Paula Heeley from Bridgwater in Somerset, who adopted him not long after he was taken to the Dogs Trust centre.
And 53-year-old Paula – who also cares for four rescue cats and an exrace horse – says Ollie is doing better than ever.
Pictures show him looking fit, healthy and happy, although the sixyear-old pooch hasn’t lost his thirst for adventure.
Ollie’s size and nature means he’s become something of a celebrity in his local village, making a number of friends among local residents, children and even other dogs.
But he’s also become a star in his own right, even appearing in a television advert for the dog food brand Tails.com.
Paula says he’s changed their lives. “We lost our Labrador around 10 years ago, and because we were both working at the time we didn’t really have time to have another dog,” Paula said.
“But, then I stopped working away and started to work part time from home – and thought, shall we get another dog?
“We already had four rescue cats, so I decided I wanted to look for a rescue dog.”
Paula started to trawl adoption pages, browsing through the Dogs Trust website – an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the wellbeing of dogs.
“I was looking through the new arrivals and Ollie caught my eye. He’s gorgeous. It was love at first sight.
“You don’t usually see Pyrenean mountain dogs at rescue centres, but I grew up with one as a child so I said to my husband: ‘We have to go and see him!’
“He was unconvinced at the time that we needed a dog as big as that.
“But, as soon as we went to see Ollie I knew he was going to be coming home with me.”
It was Paula’s childhood experience with the breed that provided her with the tools, patience and understanding needed to train and care for Ollie, and the pair have since become firm friends.
“Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are unique because they are roamers by nature. But it didn’t put me off at all – I completely understand their nature and I did my research.
“Your best friend will always be a very long lead.”
And what about size?
“It’s surprising how much these dogs can squeeze into very small spaces. Ollie squeezes onto the sofa with two other people. Ollie’s gigantic
“Although, I’m lucky because I do have a fairly large house – well, big enough for the dog anyway.
“He can be strong, but he’s an extremely friendly boy. If there are dogs he’s not too keen on, he does go into full-on bear mode. And he’s got a really deep and loud bark. They are guardian dogs by nature.”
The Pyrenean boasts an ancient and distinguished ancestry that dates back to the Bronze Age.
Native to the Pyrenean mountain range on the border of France and Spain, they were used to to guard livestock and would roam the hillsides making sure there were no predators or dangers. They are also extremely intelligent, as Paula explains: “Ollie is very clever.
“He’s quite happy to open the door handle – he’s a big dog, so he lifts his paw to move the handle and goes outside. He lets himself into the garden quite easily. He’s a cheeky chappy.
“One of his favourite things to do is run across the lawn and go head first into a forwards roll. He tumbles across the lawn like a little puppy. It’s a joy to see, because it means he’s happy.
“He’s a very sweet and happy dog. He loves people and people love him.
“Thanks to him, I now know everyone in the village. Walks take a very long time – because everyone keeps stopping to say hi.
“I remember one day, we were walking down the drive onto the road, and a little girl stopped and said to her grandmother: ‘Look, Nan, it’s a polar bear!’
“Children often stop to pet and hug him and he’s wonderful with kids. That’s his guardian nature coming through.”
Such is Ollie’s guardian-like nature, that he’s even helped to rehabilitate another local rescue dog, who was adopted by one of Paula’s friends.
“He’s got loads of dog friends, who all go walking together and come around to do play dates. But, Ollie’s also helped to rehabilitate another local dog – who was rescued from Romania. The poor dog was terrified of her own shadow and would bark out of fear. But Ollie wasn’t bothered, so we walked together and they became firm friends. It was a lovely love story.”
Paula added: “Needless to say we just adore him, he is a very special boy and we are so grateful to Dogs Trust Bridgend for giving us the opportunity to be his forever family.”
Ollie the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has new owners after being given to the Dogs Trust in Bridgend and, left, on the roof of his previous home