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Shelter Dog Refuses To Be Adopted Without His Food Bowl

The Dodo logo The Dodo 4/19/2019 Caitlin Jill Anders

Oliver was found as a stray after he refused to leave a family’s backyard in Memphis, Tennessee. Animal control officers went to collect him, but every time one of them got close to him, he would jump over the fence and out of the yard, as if it was a game. They finally had to set up a humane trap in order to catch him, and brought him to Memphis Animal Services

From the moment Oliver arrived, his new shelter friends could tell that he’d likely had a home or someone taking care of him at some point. He was very smart and absolutely loved food and treats, and knew that if he listened and was well-behaved, he would be showered with them.  a dog looking at the camera © Memphis Animal Services “I met him the first day he came in, and he sat for me immediately before I even showed him I had treats,” Katie Pemberton, community engagement specialist at Memphis Animal Services, told The Dodo. “Then, of course, as soon as the treats came out, he was even more eager to sit. The more he got to know me, the more he would press himself up against the bars of his kennels to let me pet him.”

Oliver loved food so much that he quickly became very attached to his food bowl — and started carrying it around with him wherever he went a dog sticking his head out of a cage © Memphis Animal Services “The very first night he got here, our field supervisor passed by his kennel in our ACO intake room and noticed him with his bowl in his mouth,” Pemberton said. “His cute trick was very effective because she gave him more food! Then when he moved to his permanent kennel, he kept doing it. He had his bowl in his mouth most of the time.”

It’s possible that someone from his past taught Oliver to pick up his food bowl as a fun little trick. It’s also possible that he’d been without food at one point, and was worried if he lost sight of his food bowl, he might not get fed again.  a dog sitting in a cage © Memphis Animal Services Throughout his stay at the shelter, Oliver continued to carry his food bowl around with him everywhere, and the staffers at the shelter thought it was insanely adorable. They started taking pictures of his habit and posting them on social media — and it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to fall in love with Oliver, too. 

“We received a very unusual amount of inquiries about Oliver after his photos went viral — I wish every dog had that many people interested in adopting them,” Pemberton said.  a dog standing in front of a window © Memphis Animal Services Oliver’s bowl obsession got him noticed in a big way, and eventually led to his forever family finally coming for him. 

Oliver was adopted and headed home with his new family on April 16 — and was absolutely overjoyed when he realized his food bowl was coming with him a woman holding a dog posing for the camera © Memphis Animal Services Thanks to his cute, quirky habit, Oliver now has the best new home, where he’ll never have to worry about being hungry again. If you’d like to help other dogs in need, you can donate to Memphis Animal Services


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