Heartbreaking Reason Why Shelter Pup Refused Let Go of His Beloved Bowl

Everyone knows of the Charles Dickens story, Oliver Twist. In an iconic scene, the title character approaches the workhouse cook and says, “Please, Sir, I want some more.” If pups could speak the human language, this is exactly what Oliver would be saying too!

Oliver and his beloved food bowl
Oliver and his beloved food bowl quickly became inseparable. (Photo by Memphis Animal Shelter)

Oliver, the adorable pup featured in the picture above, was brought to the Memphis Animal Services shelter after he was found in someone’s backyard. The shelter staff instantly knew Oliver had once been a part of someone’s family, as he showed signs of immediate training.

He also knew that if he behaved well, he’d get food and treats as rewards. What a smart pup!

Oliver’s Trick

On Oliver’s first night in the shelter, the MAS’s field supervisor found him with his food bowl in his mouth!

The cute trick might have been taught to him by his previous owner. Another guess involved the poor pup being scared to lose his food bowl after going without food at some point in his life.

Whatever the case, Oliver’s trick worked. He always got more food!

“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,” Kate Pemberton, a community engagement specialist at Memphis Animal Services, explained to The Dodo. “His cute trick was very effective because she gave him more food!”

Maybe this is why the pup remained so attached to the bowl.

Oliver and his new best friend: the food bowl.
Oliver and his new best friend: the food bowl. (Photo by Memphis Animal Services)

When Oliver was moved from the ACO intake room kennel to a more permanent kennel, he carried his beloved bowl with him. From that moment on, the MAS staff would always see the handsome boy with his bowl locked securely in his mouth.

A Close Call

Of course, before any happy ending can occur, there is always a conflict to resolve.

Shelters like Memphis Animal Services have limited kennel space. The more pups they rescue, the more limited in space their kennel becomes. Because of this, the pups need to be adopted out quickly to avoid euthanasia.

Oliver was no exception.

Oliver, the handsome pup who loves his food bowl.
Oliver, the handsome pup who loves his food bowl. (Photo by Memphis Animal Services)

Despite the pup’s story going viral thanks to a Facebook group called Wilson, Rosie, and Pickle Pete, Oliver still had yet to be adopted.

Thus, as much as the staff loved the pup, he had to be put on the Urgent Adoption list in early April.

Part of the reason: Oliver needed to find a home where he’d be the only pup. He also refused to go anywhere without his beloved food bowl. And, although adoption rates skyrocket when shelter pups are seen playing with a toy, Oliver’s cute trick and playful nature almost wasn’t enough to secure him a happily ever after.

Oliver’s Happily Ever After

Oliver and his food bowl posing with their new family!
Oliver and his food bowl posing with their new family! (Photo by Memphis Animal Services)


Thanks to Wilson, Rosie, And Pickle Pete, as well as The DoDo, for having helped Oliver’s story go viral, the playful pup was adopted on April 16! His new family pulled through, almost at the last minute, to process his adoption.

Before leaving, Oliver made sure to grab his food bowl. Then, after posing for one last picture, the pup finally went home…his forever home.

Do you want to help pups like Oliver find their forever homes? Shop iHeartDogs Pets & Vets Collection and we’ll donate toward pairing veterans with furry companions!

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