No words, just pictures and her theme song, because once she was rescued, she was free and feeling good!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We love you Annie, you make every day a wonderful day. We will plan a HUGE celebration for your 12th birthday in June!
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.
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.
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!
Yesterday, I had a post ready to go. The working title was It’s official, Annie is a city dog!
I was snapping some pictures to add to my post when I realized that perhaps things are different from what I originally thought.
The theme of the story was that Annie grew up and lived in the country before she came to live with us. Unfortunately, for most of her life, it wasn’t the idyllic existence that one would think of for a country dog. She and many other dogs lived in rural Michigan in an area without an animal warden. Care and conditions were terrible and there wasn’t anyone around to inspect or enforce violations. Once she got into foster care, she was exposed to a wonderful country life with open land to explore, a pack of 6 other dogs to play and bond with as well as love, affection, vet care and regular feedings from a wonderful family.
Transitioning to our city life took her a while but she has embraced it. We have a nice sized fenced yard and we are a couple of blocks from a bustling downtown with restaurants, shops, bakeries and coffee shops. Walk a few blocks in a different direction and we are on the shores of Lake Michigan. Annie loves our walks, whichever route we may take although she is always cautious and alert when we are passing strangers along the way.Annie’s favorite place is our backyard. She has learned how to let herself out and will come and go to her heart’s content. We have 3 huge, old oak trees that provide lots of shade and she is perfectly happy to lay at the top of the deck stairs or curl up in her favorite dirt hole and sniff the air before falling into a deep, contented sleep. We have plenty of small animals that enter our yard including bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, possums and occasionally a skunk or raccoon. She has never paid attention to any of them nor has she exhibited a prey drive.Imagine my horror when I opened the door Monday to let everyone inside before I left the house to run some errands and there stood Annie with a floppy, bloody, dead rat in her mouth. Yes, a rat. The most vile creature ever to walk the planet. Living near restaurants and water means that there are also rats in the area but until this summer I have been blissfully unaware of whatever may be lurking on the other side of our fence.
Two things happened this summer to encourage this invasion into our yard. First, two houses away, a dilapidated, dark and unused garage was torn down to make way for a new, modern garage with an upstairs apartment. There were rumors that rats had taken up residence there but I never saw them so I chose to pretend that they didn’t exist. Second, we replaced our fence and gate shortly before we picked up Winn. Our old gate brushed against the sidewalk, the new gate has a pretty large gap between the sidewalk and the bottom of the gate which would allow small animals easy access to the yard.We started to suspect that a rat or two (I know, you see one rat and you actually have many more) were wandering into our yard about a month ago. Maisie loves to play with all creatures big and small and has been spending a lot of time sniffing and pacing in the bushes along our fence line with Winn hot on her trail. Annie has ignored all of their excitement.
When I shrieked at Annie to drop the rat, and she did, Winn was right there eager to pick it up. Fortunately she responded well to my hysteria and also dropped the rat and everyone ran inside avoiding my attempts to grab their collars to hurry along the process.
Once I caught my breath, I couldn’t help but wonder who had killed the rat? Maisie has picked up lots of small critters but has never killed them. She wants to love and play with them. Annie doesn’t have any front teeth and has never shown any interest in chasing or catching them. Winn is interested in everything and while she did drop a baby bunny when I told her to, she wasn’t allowed the time to figure out what the natural next step might be. Had she done it when I wasn’t around to stop her?I was betting on Winn but then, when I let them out later Annie was the one that was running around excitedly sniffing the bushes, around the planters and all along the fence line. It seemed that she was the one that had scored the rat and was very proud of herself. She had officially become a city girl by catching a city rat.The next day, I had my camera ready when Annie and Winn gathered together and were sniffing around the same spot. I thought it was cute and stood away from them snapping pictures when I began to get suspicious. The were very curious about something in the dirt but so far, their mouths were empty. I called them away and as they both came toward me, I was able to catch a glimpse of four small feet sticking out from under a plant close to the sidewalk. Good grief, another one! Upon closer inspection, I could tell that it was a squirrel. I had more questions because neither one of them wanted to pick it up, they just looked at it, looked at each other and then looked at it some more. Were they leaving it alone to avoid more shrieking?
My new working theory is that there is a predator cat in the alley and these maimed creatures are making a quick escape into our yard by squeezing under the gate. Then again, the squirrel could have just fallen out of the tree. I’ve seen that happen before…