Category Archives: Annie

Two years ago…

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At the time, it was clear that she was nervous, scared, withdrawn, suspicious and very reluctant to come with us.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.IMG_0837I 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.IMG_2462I 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.img_2913 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.img_2870 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.IMG_0332She 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. img_2888Last 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.

 

Goodbye

This is the day that I have dreaded since that very first moment I gazed into your soulful eyes.

Your gray whiskers were the hint that you had already lived out the majority of your days.  At the time, I guessed that you were about 9 years old, a few months later I was able to confirm that you were 9 1/2, but I never thought twice about bringing you home and giving you the life that you deserved.

I wish we could have had more time.

I wish your previous life was not so difficult.

I wish I could have known you as a puppy.

I wish we could have marched in the Rescue Parade.

I wish you didn’t have to be afraid of so many things.

I wish I could have fixed you.

You taught be me so much about love, trust, resilience and forgiveness.

You were strong, stoic, gentle, affectionate and so, so sweet.

You inspired me to write your story.

You invited me in, and let me be your person.

You were everything I could’ve asked for.

You were like no other.

I will never forget you, I will always love you and you are forever in my heart.

Goodbye precious Annie, my sweet, sweet girl. IMG_2757

 

Celebrating Annie

Having a puppy reminds me of the years when my kids were little and we counted their age progression in months. 3 mos., 8 mos., 17 mos., etc.

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My life-sized Christmas bear

Winn turned 9 mos. this week and as fun as is to watch her grow and change, I am also reminded that Annie continues to age as well. She has a few more grey hairs on her muzzle and is having a slow recovery from recent oral surgery.  Aside from those two reminders, she still acts like the Annie that I know.

Every morning she runs to the back door with an urgency and expression that says, “outta my way, I gotta pee!” and I smile as I watch her quickly go down the stairs and run around the yard looking for the perfect spot to relieve herself.

She sleeps a lot and I love watching her snuggle up in her bed as she snores away the afternoon. When she is waking up, she will rub her face and head all over her bed, groan, snort, and roll around.F3900E19-B1D5-40C7-B1B1-D1F7B7397FC7

Her stomach is her time clock. She gets restless and lets me know with an elbow nudge, a bark or a stare when she thinks I should be in kitchen preparing her meal. Currently, she’s on multiple, small meals which suits her just fine. I think she takes great pleasure in getting fed more times than other two! (Of course they get a little smackerel while she’s occupied with her bowl.)

Since it is recommended that senior dogs get twice yearly health checks, I think it’s only fair that they should have twice yearly birthday celebrations. Yesterday Annie turned 11 1/2!

I decided not to put on birthday hats, instead I tied a big red ribbon on each of them.  I froze some vanilla yogurt in my cupcake mold and brought them out after dinner. They were a big hit! It was such an easy treat to create, and they loved it. They knew something good was coming their way when the camera came out and after they each had one, they chased me into the kitchen for seconds. IMG_6837

We love you Annie, you make every day a wonderful day. We will plan a HUGE celebration for your 12th birthday in June!

Poor Annie

Annie’s had a rough go lately.

It started about 4 weeks ago, she suddenly was reluctant to go up and down the stairs.  A couple of nights she refused altogether and one night she chose to make her way upstairs in the dark well after we had all gone to sleep.  We found her curled up outside our bedroom door the next morning and it broke my heart.

She wasn’t showing signs of joint pain so my best guess was that her nails were too long and the stairs felt slippery, and/or her vision was getting worse. It had been a while since her last nail trim because she had been so nervous at her last vet visit I decided to cancel her nail trim.  We both braved another vet visit, got her vision checked (she probably does see shadows in her peripheral vision) and her nails trimmed and that seemed to help even though she was still anxious and would attempt the stairs 4 or 5 times before finally charging all the way up.

About a week later, she woke me up with her usual nudge and bark.  When I turned on the light she looked like she had a ping-pong ball tucked into her jowl.  Shit.  I have always worried about her teeth and it appeared she had an abscess, so off to the vet we went.  Again, she was incredibly stressed and I had to coax her along as we navigated several stops and starts before I could get her in the exam room.

Sure enough, she needed to have two teeth surgically removed.  Her surgery day was the third trip to the vet in 3 weeks and she was not happy about it.  She completely put on the brakes and would NOT go through the door leading to the procedure rooms.   She’s 115 lbs. and when she decides she’s not going somewhere she means it! I had to lift her back-end and straddle her as we made our way into the hospital area.  I don’t usually go back there but the tech that came out to assist us was a male and I just said flat-out, “this is going to make it worse”. Everyone there knows her well and he quickly retreated so that Annie wouldn’t see him as I got her where she needed to be and her regular tech ran forward to greet us and take over for me. She just knew that something big was about to happen.

After her surgery, which took longer that expected–each tooth had 4 roots rather than 3, she refused to go to the recovery room which is further back in the hospital.  She would only go forward, towards the exit door. There is an office right there so they set up a bed and that’s where she recovered, getting lots of one on one attention from all of the doctors when they were in between patients.  Thank goodness she has doctors that are willing to make special accommodations!

Once I got her back home, she slowly started to show improvement.  It took a couple of days for her recover from the anesthesia, and she was on painkillers for few more days but her overall mood was so much better.

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Annie’s home!

In the middle of all of this, I’ve been helping my mom move into her new condo and have moved several furniture pieces that don’t fit in her place into my house.  One piece is a steamer trunk that we placed in the front hall by the stairs until we figured out where to put it.  A few days ago I pushed it further away from the stairs and that night Annie went upstairs with no hesitation. OMG, I should have known!  Annie doesn’t like narrow spaces or new doorways.  I had just created a narrow space where there wasn’t one and that was the reason she suddenly wouldn’t go upstairs.  Ugh, I feel terrible.

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The trunk that caused Annie to rethink going upstairs.

Over the past several days, she’s had trouble keeping her food down.  She has a two week post surgery follow-up scheduled and I really don’t want traumatize her again by dragging her in for another appointment in addition to that.  She has no other symptoms of distress.  Her mood is better than ever, her energy level is back to normal, she is drinking water and her stool is fine.  I stopped her painkillers, started feeding her 4 times a day with small meals of Prescription Digestive Care food (still softened as directed for her post oral surgery care), added probiotics because she was also on high powered antibiotics.  I consulted with her dr. and she agreed with my treatment and also suggested an antacid to add to her food. If anything changes or gets worse she wants to see us immediately. This regimen seems to be helping, each day her food goes down a little easier so I am hopeful that she will be completely better in a few more days.

Poor Annie, she’s fragile but she’s such a trooper and once again she has shown me that she’s not going to let this get her down.  She just would like it if we never went back to the vet again!

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Annie is feeling much better, eager for a treat!