Miss Olive is sharing her inspirational story in a new children’s book, “Miss Olive Finds Her “Furever” Home.”
The tiny Italian Greyhound is a popular presence on Sarasota’s The Doggy Diva Show, and her human mom Susan Marie wrote the book with Miss Olive to share a theme that resonates with everyone: It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s the kindness and love that you have inside that counts.
Susan Marie was recovering from several surgeries after a car accident a few years ago when her sister spotted Olive, a petite Italian greyhound, on a rescue site. Olive was special, as she had just had her left rear leg amputated after a cancer diagnosis. Because of years of benign neglect, she also had to have all of her teeth pulled, which causes her bright pink tongue to hang out of the corner of her mouth, which is now her “signature” cute smile.
Upon adoption from Italian Greyhound Rescue Gulf Coast, she bonded quickly with Susan Marie and her human and canine family. They helped each other recover.
“My recovering at home was perfect for my helping Olive to heal,” Susan Marie says. “And my doctor calls her a miracle dog because she helped me heal, as well.”
Miss Olive’s and Susan’s story of healing and bonding is featured in the book “Love Unleashed: Tales of Inspiration and the Life-Changing Power of Dogs” by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh.
The children’s book “Miss Olive Finds her Forever Home” is beautifully illustrated by Rebekah Phillips, showing a doe-like then nameless pup waiting patiently for a family to adopt her after her nine foster siblings found their forever homes. When she was not adopted, the pup sadly asks her foster mom, “How could this be? Is it because they have four legs and I only have three?”
Then to the pup’s surprise, Susan Marie and her husband arrive at the pups’ foster home to adopt her and take her home, where they named her Miss Olive. She quickly bonded with their other rescued dogs and cats. Although she is on the shy side, Miss Olive stepped in to be the face of The Doggy Diva Show that can be heard on Pet Life Radio, Speak Up Talk Radio, iTunes, Stitcher, Acast, GooglePlay and, of course, on thedoggydiva.com.
She can be seen accompanying Susan Marie all around town wearing her bright pink doggy dresses and jammies. Miss Olive carries the magic wand for Sophia, another Italian Greyhound rescue who was the original inspiration for The Doggy Diva Show and the new children’s book series, “The Doggy Diva Diaries.”
“That’s the theme of the book. I wanted to show children through Miss Olive that you don’t have to be perfect. It is a story of kindness and unconditional love for any child who may need an affirmation that they are perfect just the way they are. There’s love whether you are alone, adopted, fostered or have special needs because it’s the love and kindness that you have on the inside that brings you unconditional love,” Susan Marie said while cradling Miss Olive in her arms at her show’s Sarasota studio.
Sophia stars as Miss Olive’s “Fairy Dogmother” throughout the book, looking over the sad little pup by guiding and protecting her. Sophia the Doggy Diva was the original Diva since the show began airing in 2003, appearing with her ever-present magic wand as seen on the thedoggydiva.com website designed by Rough & Ready Media.
“I get more compliments from people who are guests on my show or just visiting the site that have told me, ‘I went to your website, your website’s gorgeous and magical,’ ” she said crediting “magician” and Rough & Ready Media founder Michelle Greene with the design of the site.
After Susan met with numerous website designers to help present her vision of her Doggy Divas, Michelle was the one who made it happen so beautifully.
Susan Marie started the Doggy Diva show to provide information to Sarasota-area pet owners about rescue, spay and neuter, microchipping and health and lifestyle information from pet professionals, authors and pet industry experts. The dogs are the stars of the show, and with Susan Marie they chat with their guests weekly. What was once a local show is now heard worldwide.
Susan and her husband sponsor the show and believe in “paying it forward” to animals in need. A portion of all book proceeds will be donated to animal rescue services, shelters and special needs organizations.
It’s a labor of love for Susan Marie.
Susan’s original goal was to have the show be presented from her dog’s perspective. “I always wanted it to be about them because it’s The Doggy Diva Show. They’re the Doggy Divas,” she said of the popular radio show. “We speak about cats, dogs, and we even have a big horse following.” As an advocate, all animals are Susan’s passion.
Susan Marie is in the process of writing a second book, “Miss Olive Finds her Furever Friends” about her adventures at the dog park, with an anti-bullying theme. A Christmas book is also in the works for the 2019 holiday season.
Miss Olive loves her over 20,000 friends on “The Doggy Diva Show” Facebook page, which is also produced by Rough & Ready Media. She keeps everyone updated on her show guests, events, contests and her book. “The Doggy Diva Diaries Presents Miss Olive Finds Her Furever Home” is available for purchase on The Doggy Diva Show website, from Barnes and Noble and can also be purchased in soft cover at Amazon.com.
“There is just so much goodness out there in people,” Susan Marie said of the show’s audience that has been touched by both the original diva Sophia that the Doggy Diva Show was named after and new “Diva-Lite” little Miss Olive. “Animals just bring people together and for years I’ve ended the show with, ‘Love your pets because they love you unconditionally.’ As you can see with Miss Olive, she’s just a little love muffin and Susan loves her so much.”