3. Driving Miss Annie

I had postponed taking her to our vet for the first two weeks. I was trying to gain her trust and we were making some progress getting her to come out of her crate. She was getting more comfortable in the family room and she liked walking the perimeter of the yard. A few days before her appointment my husband and I tried to get her in the car just to go for a drive. I was hoping to show her that car rides don’t always mean going to new places. This was a no go. For an older dog, she is still incredibly strong. When I hooked the leash on her she would sit down and dig her feet into the ground. She was not moving! I would gently coax her, eventually she would stand up but after a couple of steps she would sit down again. I tried for about 20 minutes but we weren’t making any progress and she was getting more stressed with each attempt to move forward. I gave up and let her run away from me. She headed straight up the steps for the back door and right back into her crate. This was definitely a step backwards in earning her trust.

I didn’t sleep well the night before her appointment. I kept going over the difficulty of getting her in the car and I was trying to figure out what we should do. The solution I came to was to use the lifting sling that we had for Bailey. She had terrible arthritis in her elbows and for her last 6 months we used this to help her navigate the porch steps when she went outside. My husband used the straps to keep Annie’s front legs moving and I would lift her back-end when she started to sit down. We slowly made it down the walkway and then my husband lifted her into the back of the car. She did not like being picked up and let out a huge moan. I rode in the back with her but I wasn’t able to put her at ease. Once again, she put on her guarded expression and protective stance. We got to the vet and opened the side door for her, she leapt out of car and she was like a rocket on a leash. Fortunately my husband had a good hold on her and was able to guide her toward their door. She was so frantic she burst in and charged into an open exam room. It was a room they used for small animals because it didn’t have a lifting table but they were so kind and let us stay in there since she had picked it out. When the vet and the tech came in, we all sat on the floor with Annie while they checked her over.

She had been immunized the year before at the time of her rescue so she was due for shots and she had some lumps and bumps that were notated and measured. Her teeth were looked at and added to the list of items to keep checking for changes and signs of infection. We would need to watch her eyes closely because she has Entropian (a hereditary disease that caused her eyelids to roll inward) and there was evidence of prior injury to her eyes. She also has Dry Eye but she tolerated having her tear production checked and with the aid of her medication they were functioning normally. We agreed we would bring her back in about a month for a recheck.  The three of us were quite a spectacle as we went through the same amount of difficulty getting her out of the office and into the car, but it was over and we could head back to the safety of home.

It’s no surprise she spent the rest of the day in her crate but she came out for dinner and lay in the middle of the floor that evening while we were watching TV so she wasn’t completely traumatized by her first excursion out of her yard.

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