How a community came together to save a life.
By Victoria Stevens
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 02/13/2021– According to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), sixty-seven percent of U.S. households or about 85 million families own a pet. There are many science-based benefits to owning a pet such as decreased feelings of loneliness, increased opportunities for socialization, increased opportunities for exercise, and decreased blood pressure levels. However, what would happen if your beloved family member got stolen? Author Steven J. Carino experienced this horrific situation on Valentine’s Day February 14th, 2019 which left him a changed man. This experience led him to write his first book, Oliver, which described the miraculous journey of how Olivier found his way back to his companion through the help and kindness of a few strangers.
“There were about a dozen or so people that came into this story to help me find my precious Olivier. My older sister Laura, who I called the field general in the book, put a plan together that utilized the use of flyers that we posted all over the place. She has a very successful business in advertising so she used her expertise to start the ball rolling. Then my other sister Nancy, who is a huge social media fan, posted about my stolen dog on Facebook and Instagram. This post got over 15,000 shares which gave me my first ray of hope that I would see Oliver once again. Besides my sisters, I had many friends who came to consul me like my dear friend Eric Weinstein. His kind words of comfort helped me feel less alone and I was very grateful for his friendship,” said Carino.
As the long days dragged on with no leads on the whereabouts of his dog, Carino turned to God and his deceased parents for answers.
“I have lived my life with a spiritual dimension where I would go to the cemetery when I was in distress and talk to my parents and God about my situations,” explained Carino. “During this time, I cried out to God in hopes to find answers on why He decided to take my dog away from me. I was angry and hurt and just needed to know why this had to happen. Then I felt my parents tell me to open my eyes and see the amount of support I had and that people did care about me.”
When the first lead arose of Oliver’s whereabouts, Carino saw the glimmer of hope that he so desperately needed. With a few more helpful sources, Oliver was found. Carino said he had learned so many lessons from this painful experience that he believed that God was giving him an opportunity to share his story with those that need to find their ray of hope.
“When I opened that car door and Oliver wasn’t there, the Lord gave me a mountain that day. To quote stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius: The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. So, God put this mountain in front of me and it became my way,” expressed Carino. “My story is about faith, redemption, and how the impediment of action advanced my actions. I want to go in front of children and give them this message. When you get older sometimes life will get hard but never give up. I believe I have a good message that is very sincere and needs to be shared.”
As Carino reflected on his journey, he came to the conclusion that it was not only his perseverance and faith in God that reunited the duo back together but also his freedom living in the United States.
“We have a lot of problems in this country, but having my freedom made this story happen. At the age of 50 with a mountain of credit card debt, no job, no money, and no hope I would have been locked up if I wasn’t living here in the US. I would have been seen as an embarrassment to society with no hope for a future. However, as long as you stay within the law in this country if you hit rock bottom then you can get yourself back up and try again. I believe this is another good lesson for children to learn; you can fail multiple times in this country and still have the opportunity to pull yourself together and get back up,” said Carino.
With newfound strength and a determination to learn from this experience, Carino vowed to become a nicer person by showing love to everyone he meets. Sharing Oliver’s story with the world has opened up a way for Carino to do just that.
Photo Credit: Steven Carino
For more information: Steven J. Carino, author of OLIVER, on tour January/February 2021 | TLC Book Tours