Loyal Dog Joshua and Starving Friend Now Thrive on Human Love

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

At first the reports of Olivia’s (first called “Java”) medical progress were tentative after she was rescued from a Dallas, TX, dumping ground for dogs with a coffee can that appears to have possibly been deliberately placed over her head and completely constricted her neck and ability to eat or drink.  

Thousands of people all over the world who read about Olivia and Joshua--the loyal young male Shepherd-mix who sat loyally by her side--on and elsewhere, were filled with hope, but bridled by the reality of how serious her injuries were and how close she was to total starvation.  

Dallas Animal Services provided emergency medical services for Olivia (Java) and the shelter veterinarian carefully removed the can.  They then rushed her to Metro Paws Animal Hospital. 

A Dallas Animal Services spokesperson stated, “The next few days are critical,.We have to watch out for organ failure due to her starved condition. But that tail is wagging.”

Animal Allies, a Dallas-based rescue group was called and rushed to take responsibility for overseeing Olivia’s care and recovery during extensive surgery and treatment for infection.  Since then, the group has provided almost daily updates and shows in photos on Facebook the “amazing progress of Olivia (pictured).  


If you missed the beginning of this miraculous rescue effort, on Sunday, October 28, a Good Samaritan in Dallas, Texas, rescued two dogs from a tragic circumstance at a common dog-dumping ground.  One dog, Olivia (first named “Java”) was starving and close to death because of a coffee can tightly encasing her neck, which would not allow her to eat or drink. The other, a soulful, healthy young male Shepherd mix was guarding his friend and would not leave her side, seeming to understand that she was suffering and needed him. Read more: .  

It seemed that Joshua had only been a stray for a few days and is a total mystery how he found his way to Olivia’s side. But it is because of him sitting, alert and watchfully beside her, that the pair was noticed and rescued.  

According to later reports by Animal Allies, the can that had been shoved over gentle Olivia’s neck and lodged on her neck had nearly decapitated her. 

Their representative wrote, “The coffee can had embedded in Olivia’s flesh and, as she grew, it had cut into her jawbone and ear canal. It nearly decapitated her. Her chest/neck area had a 4 inch deep gash. She was very, very lucky that she was found when she was and that her surgical team was so excellent.”

From the photo on October 28 where she was found, it does not appear Olivia would have lasted much longer.”  (See photo at . ) 

It was also determined by Metro Paws Animal Hospital that Olivia, had given birth to a litter of puppies within the estimated month or more that the can had been on her neck and she was slowly starving and in excruciating pain.  This also means that whoever put the can on her neck could probably observe that she was pregnant. Read more:  ) 


Animal Allies has provided almost daily accounts of Olivia’s “amazing progress” on Facebook.

On November 2, a member of AA responded to my e-mail inquiry about her improvement: “She's doing very well and is, we think, out of the woods at this point. Her bandages are off, IV catheter is out, she's walking about, wagging her tail, giving little kisses, and eating little meals all day long." 

Here is the latest e-mail from Animal Allies on Olivia’s amazing journey back to health and to life.

 “She is doing very well and had her spay and some minor corrective surgery on her neck on Friday. While we would have liked to have waited longer on that, she had pyrometriosis, so couldn't wait any longer. 

“She has gained about 12-15 lbs, looks very good, still thin, but not the awful emaciated ribs and hip bones any longer. Loves to walk outside and is especially fond of sniffing out the dumpster behind Matt's Mexican restaurant--not that she is allowed to forage, but the smells are enough to make any former stray dog's mouth water.

“Her official rescuer came to see her Friday post-surgery and was amazed at how good she looks. She has gotten get well cards and notes (she has a wall of them now) and a couple who read her story in London while on vacation sent her a box of toys and a sweet note and pics of their dogs. She's quite the little diva now...! We're hoping she goes home next week with a foster... AAT” 


 Joshua, the healthy dog found with Olivia, may have been running stray for only a day or so, so he and Olivia "are not as bonded as has been reported,” Animal Services wrote.  Joshua was neutered but no owners claimed him during his hold period at the shelter.  He was then taken by Dallas-Fort Worth Rescue Me. 

On November 2, I received this delightful response to an inquiry about how he was doing:

“My name is Carol and I am Joshua's foster mom. Joshua is doing great. He is settling in very well and is showing his foster brothers and sisters the same kind of sweetness he showed Olivia (Java's new name). Jim has been in contact with Animal Allies of Texas and we're waiting for the right time to reintroduce Joshua and Olivia. 

And just last week when I asked if he was still doing well with other dogs, here’s what is “foster mom” wrote, “Yes, he's doing great with all the dogs :) Took him with me to a restaurant patio earlier this week and he tried to crawl up on my friends lap.”


Obviously Olivia and Joshua are very fortunate to be in the loving hands of Animal Allies and Dallas-Fort Worth Rescue Me. We wish all abandoned, abused animals were this lucky!  We will continue to report on their progress and Olivia can also be followed on the Animal Allies Facebook pages. 

A call yesterday to Dallas Animal Services assured me that they are keeping a possible cruelty case open and still asking for information at 214-670-6800

Their spokesperson had stated earlier, "We continue to work with DPD and the DA on this matter,” according to a statement from the Animal Services. "At this point there is no evidence to suggest this was intentional, although that cannot be ruled out.” 

There is also an effort being made to offer a reward for any information leading to the identification of the person(s) who put the can over Olivia’s head.  will keep you updated as more news  develops on this.