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Pets Of Sassafras

Shakespeare & Virgil


In 2006, while my husband was working during the day and going to law school night, and 4 months after giving birth to our third child, I brought home my first Labrador. I received Oliver from Paradigm Labradors when was 8 weeks old. We instantly fell in love with our newest addition.

Our son was 4 years old, and our daughters were 2 1⁄2 and 4 months old when Oliver came into our family. Oliver immediately got along with our then 19-year-old cat, Snoopy. I raised my children with Oliver faithfully by my side. He went everywhere with me and the children. Oliver was a special, wonderful boy. He loved all creatures, big and small. He made it easy for everyone to fall in love with him too. He would eagerly jump up early every morning to exercise with me, regardless of the weather, and then he spent rest of each day busy our family. Oliver was sweet natured, gentle, and fun.

Patricia with baby Oliver.

Oliver was smart and eager to please. It was with Oliver that my passion to work-with and train dogs came to life. When my children were taking naps, I would be working on training exercises with Oliver. I trained Oliver to become a therapy dog when he was approximately 2 years old. He followed my lead unfailingly and was a dog I knew anyone could trust. When I would take walks in my old development, I would have Oliver at a perfect heal to my left, with one baby in a backpack, pushing two in a double-stroller, and with my son coasting along us on a bike or scooter.

Tragically, we lost Oliver when he was still very young. He passed away only weeks before my husband graduated from law school. I believe he was dropped carefully into my life and my heart during those stressful law school years. Oliver was companion I’ll never forget and he will forever be missed. I am so grateful to have had him in my life.

Oliver & Clementine.

Oliver showed us how a dog was a natural fit for our busy family. When he was gone, we missed all the sweetness and energy that a loving dog brought to our home. When a breeder friend was ready to retire a beautiful show girl named Fig, who also happened to be Oliver’s half-sister, we eagerly offered for her to join our home. We affectionately called her Mrs. Fig. She joined our family at 6 years-of-age and we all fell in love with her instantly. Fig seemed to love becoming the newest member of our family. She enthusiastically enjoyed daily hiking, swimming, walks around the development, and all the attention that an active family with three children brought her. Fig especially loved swimming. She would play fetch in the water for hours. She also loved to fall asleep on the couch at the end of a busy with the children.

Fig was salve to my heart that was broken by losing Oliver when he was so young. Just as I appreciated her, she showed us her appreciation for her new life and family every day. Each dog that we’ve had since Fig has been named after a fruit to honor her special place in our hearts.

Patricia with Fig.