While many might already be sick of election season, there is one Forsyth County resident who should get everyone’s vote.
Ollie, a 7-year-old Black Mouth Cur, was recently named as one 10 finalists for People Magazine’s World’s Cutest Rescue Dog contest out of more than 10,000 entries. Online voting will go on through Monday, Sept. 14, and a winner will later be selected by celebrity judges from the three dogs with the most votes.
“I was absolutely shocked because it is a national magazine,” said Ollie’s owner, Stacie Miller, a public information officer with Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. “I was like, ‘Yeah right, OK, whatever, our chances of getting in the Top 10 are slim to none,’ and was just floored when I got the email.”
Miller said she came across the contest as she was browsing the internet but didn’t expect much to happen, but after a few weeks, she was told he was being considered and needed to fill out some more information.
Eventually, she found out he was in the top 10 and had a big reveal party for the official announcement on Good Morning America.
“It was awesome,” she said. “It was so cool to see him in the collage of pictures. They pinpointed a couple of the entries, but they didn’t put his picture on the big screen, but you could see him on the top of the screen as part of the collage. Also, all of the finalists will be in People Magazine that hits the newsstands [Friday, Sept. 4].”
Miller said Ollie has some stiff competition but that the contestants’ stories went a long way in determining the Top 10.
Ollie and Miller first came together in January 2018, not long after Miller had lost her English Mastiff she had had for 11.5 years.
Eventually, Miller, who was living in Orlando at the time, decided to go to the Orange County Animal Service to look at dogs in their shelter.
Miller said the center was large and loud, but there was something about Ollie that caught her eye and ears.
“I was just walking up and down the aisles and there was this dog sitting there, and he wasn’t barking, he wasn’t anything, and he was just looking at me, so I bent down and started talking to him, and he started humming,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ and walked away, and I came back and bent down again, and he was humming again.”
An attendant took Ollie out of his cage so he could meet with Miller, who gave Ollie a treat that he went and buried before coming back to her and, again, started humming.
“[I was] like, this dog is bizarre,” Miller said with a laugh. “So, he just stole my heart from that point on.”
Nearly three years later, Ollie is still humming, and Miller is still having fun with it.
“It’s funny because sometimes I’ll ask him, ‘Hey Ollie, what are you thinking,’ ‘Hmm,’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Are you a good boy?’ ‘Mm-hmm.’ He’s hysterical.”
Miller said Ollie had been brought to the shelter after he was found running around the Orlando area, and though shelter workers found a microchip, they were never able to get in touch with his original owner after several attempts.
“I don’t know what the story is with that, but he came home with me, and he’s been my best friend ever since,” Miller said, “and he still hums me to sleep every night.”
Black Mouth Curs are hunting dogs, which both explains the rural area where Ollie was found and some of his actions, like, “if something catches his scent, there’s no stopping him,” Miller said.
But while Ollie is a hunting dog by nature, he also has a big soft spot for everyone, she said, including children and kittens, which Miller found out when she began fostering kittens when she moved to the Atlanta area and was working at an animal shelter.
Miller began fostering kittens who were too young and too small to be spayed or neutered before being adopted out. With a tiny kitten and a big dog, Miller thought it was best to keep them separated, but that didn’t last long once she brought the kitten home.
“She decided she would follow [Ollie] everywhere and would sleep with him and crawl up and cuddle with him and stuff, so I was like, ‘Oh this is cool,’” she said. “He loved it. He would love on her and kiss her, and the second kitten, which is in the photograph, [Ollie] would carry him around in his mouth. Ollie absolutely loved Figaro.”
While Ollie was a fan of kittens, Miller said it took Figaro some time to warm up to Ollie.
“When I first brought him home and Ollie went up to him, he hissed at Ollie, and it was almost like Ollie pouted,” Miller said. “He was like, ‘Oh no, he doesn’t like me,’ and went to the corner and just pouted, but they became friends. He loves his kitties.”
Miller called Ollie “the great protector” and said she hopes the local community votes for him every day the contest is open,
“He’s just got the best disposition for anything,” Miller said. “He has never met a stranger. He loves everyone.”