I met Annie and we brought her home to be a part of our family.
At the time, it was clear that she was nervous, scared, withdrawn, suspicious and very reluctant to come with us. I understood that she had been through more than any dog should, but I didn’t fully grasp the depth of her trauma.I knew in my heart that we were meant to be together, and I was willing to give her the time and patience that she would need to feel comfortable in our home, but after a few weeks with very little change, I began to suspect that she would never let herself bond with us.
But then she did!
Very slowly, she started coming towards me voluntarily. She’d follow me, join me in another room, greet me at the door, plop her head on my laptop and nudge my elbow for an ear rub. All such normal behaviors for a dog, but major signs from her that she was beginning to trust us.I learned so much from her about resilience and forgiveness. Her demons never fully left her, but she was able push them aside and allow herself to learn about a new way to live.
I learned so much about myself. I never knew that I had the level of patience that was needed to make her feel comfortable. I never knew that I could feel so much empathy. I never knew that I could be so dedicated and committed to doing whatever necessary to help her heal.
And it was all so worth it!
She was a remarkable dog. So sweet, so loving, so gentle. She loved to eat. She’d come running when she heard sounds in the kitchen. She made so many discoveries and never turned down a taste of whatever we gave her. She loved to walk along the beside me. At the beach, we would walk up and down the water line while Maisie and then Winn ran around, played and splashed with other dogs and each other. I was never worried about her being off leash, she never left my side when we were out.She loved to sleep. She would nuzzle up in her crate along the bumper of her bed, rubbing her face and letting out little sighs. That was the first bed she ever had, in her whole life, and she loved it so much. She fell asleep for the final time in that bed and it went with her. It seemed right that she should have her beloved bed for eternity. Last year, I wrote a special post for Annie’s gotcha day. I was so happy that we had made it to the one year mark. A couple of months ago I was fully confident that we would have at least another year with her. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the stars, but the time we had together was so amazing. I treasured every day with her, and every milestone was celebrated. I really feel that she gave me more than I gave her. I’m a better person for having her in my life and our relationship will continue to shape my relationships with my other dogs. Annie was very, very special and I’m so honored that she chose to love me and trust me and that I was able to show her that life could be good. She was so happy, even in her final moments. She kissed me goodbye and I knew that she was content and that she left this world feeling safe and loved.
Happy Gotcha Day Annie! I wish you were still here but you will always be in my heart and be remembered on this day that changed our lives, January 31st.