Oliver was a perfect companion. A Shi Tzu and Yorkie mix with floppy ears, and big round eyes, he enjoyed car rides, walks and playing with his toys – especially the ones that squeaked. Oliver was a godsend in the life of his owner, Steven Carino.
Steven, of Bedford, NY, lost his mother at 13 and was raised by his alcoholic father. Like so many pet owners, it was the bonds with his fur family that provided comfort and support. It was Oliver who taught Steven unconditional love. But he learned this lesson through a heart-wrenching and grueling journey.
On Valentine’s Day 2019, the unthinkable happened: Oliver was stolen from Steven’s car while he was working as a personal driver. Heartbroken, he vowed to bring Oliver home by offering a reward for his safe return and shared the incident on social media and with the local news. What Steven didn’t realize, however, was that the miraculous journey to find Oliver would bring the power of community, kindness and faith together in a time of darkness.
As a result, Steven and critically-acclaimed co-author Alex Tresniowski are sharing the inspiring tale in his new book, Oliver: The True Story of a Stolen Dog and the Humans He Brought Together.
In a series of near-impossible coincidences, people from different walks of life crossed paths with Oliver and Steven. A community of hardworking immigrants, wealthy suburbanites, car mechanics, deli workers, old friends, close relatives, street cops, gang members, a TV news reporter, social media followers, and one very gifted hairdresser played a part in Steven’s desperate journey to find Oliver.
In the middle of it all, Steven realized that no one is ever truly alone–and that the power of community can be life-changing. “In times of personal crisis, people have the amazing ability to come together for the greater good,” he says. “Hardships may befall you, but you’re never alone.”
Oliver for Young Readers
The book is available in both adult and young readers editions for children ages 8-12. For the young reader edition, Steven notes the addition of Oliver’s “thoughts.”
“It is like a thought bubble for Oliver,” Steven says. “I believe a child needs to use their imagination. I also believe that dogs are spiritual, thinking animals, just like us and so Oliver’s ‘thoughts’ gives kids a chance to imagine what Oliver may be thinking.”
“Also, Oliver becomes ‘more human’ in the young readers edition and becomes a sentient character. He has feelings of being scared, being brave, and of course, being happy!”
Never Give Up
Through Steven and Oliver’s experience, a heartwarming story was born with a message of hope for readers. “Never give up,” says Steven. “Even though things may be tough, and you feel all alone, stay strong and push through the difficult times. When put into a dire situation, believe that love and compassion is always the best way to handle it.”
“We all had reason to hate in our search for Oliver,” Steven adds. “But this is not a story of revenge. Oliver is a true inspirational story of love conquering hate.”
Oliver: The True Story of a Stolen Dog and the Humans He Brought Together and Oliver for Young Readers: The True Story of a Stolen Dog and the Humans He Brought Together both are available everywhere books are sold.