Tag Archives: Annie

“Little Timmy fell down the well”

This week I had an actual Lassie moment.

On Tuesday, I was out of the house for a couple of hours and when I walked through the back door, neither dog was there to greet me.  Annie is usually there next to Maisie, but Maisie is always there and very often jumping up on the door so she can see me through the window as I approach.

I called out to them and then I heard the thunderous roar of aimg_2871 dog running down the stairs. Much to my surprise it was Annie who came skidding around the corner, charging right at me. She began barking and nearly took me out with swats to my ankles.  “You’re home, you’re home!”  Annie is not an excitable dog, so a greeting from her with this amount exuberance was highly unusual! I tried to calm her with gentle pats and soothing words as I waited for Maisie to come flying around the corner with a similar level of excitement.  After a few seconds, and no Maisie, I knew something was not right.

I called out for her, and as I began walking through the house, Annie was right by my side, pushing into my legs, seeming to guide me toward the stairs. I called for Maisie again and this time I heard a high pitched yip with a lot of scratching. As I started up the stairs, Annie barreled past me pushing me into the railing and raced to the top to wait for me and give me a couple of barks. “This way, this way!”

“this way!”

Once I was at the top, Annie ran down the hall and I could see that my bathroom door was closed and I could hear Maisie desperately barking and scratching at the door.

Annie ran to the door, barked a couple of times “hurry, hurry, she’s here” and watched me with such concern as I slowly opened the door.

“she’s in here!”

I didn’t want to hit Maisie with the door or run over her bandaged foot but when the door was open just a couple inches Maisie wedged herself through the opening and leapt out with the speed and energy of a tiger pouncing on her prey.  I quickly jumped out of the way, but Maisie was jumping on Annie, jumping on me, both were barking, trying to tell me about this terrible thing that happened.


Then they both turned, ran down the hallway, and side by side charged down the stairs faster than I’ve ever seen before. In a flurry of legs, tails and flying hair, I crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t get tangled up and roll down the stairs like a big, hairy  wagon wheel. I followed as quickly as I could to let them out since they both seemed desperate to get outside. They both ran outside, found spots in the middle of the yard and had what I assumed was a stress potty break.

I wasn’t gone that long! Annie never runs more than 2 or 3 steps so watching this level of excitement continue with the two of them had me laughing out loud.  Maisie proceeded to run circles around Annie, then run to me and then back again to Annie.  At this point, it was clear they both needed to calm down so I took them inside and got them to settle by my feet.  As they both were snoring, I had visions of them each lying down on either side of the door snorting at each other through the crack at the bottom, until Annie heard me coming and could run for help.  Oh to be a fly on the wall!

Becoming sisters

Recently someone asked me what the major differences were between Maisie and Annie. It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and figure out where to begin.

When we brought Annie home, the contrast between the two dogs was shocking. We’ve had Maisie from the time that she was a puppy. She has always been treated with love and affection. In her mind, everyone is her friend. She loves meeting people and other dogs. She loves to play. She has baskets of toys, and plays with her toys on her own and when she needs to burn some energy. She is a bundle of joy and fun. She is always excited about every new adventure and has nothing to fear.

Annie was the complete opposite. Prior to her rescue she didn’t know that people weren’t to fear. She was trying to figure out if she was safe in our house. She wouldn’t even take treats from our hands. Protecting herself was her top priority and it took her a while to learn to trust our kind overtures. She showed no interest in toys and she did not want to play with Maisie.   Maisie is very good about reading human cues, but not so good at understanding dog cues. I was not surprised when I heard a scuffle on Annie’s third day with us. Annie came skittering around the corner and went straight into her crate. She was hanging her head and when I approached her to let her know she wasn’t in trouble, she had a big tuft of brown fur sticking out of her mouth. I chuckled to myself, Maisie was fine, they were just setting boundaries with each other, and it might take a couple hints for Maisie to understand the boundaries. I gave Annie a few pats, took the fur out of her mouth and watched her expressionless eyes as she pulled herself into her protective barrier and settled into her bed. It broke my heart that she was so guarded, but I just knew that I could get her to relax by giving her time and patience.

It took several days, but Annie started to understand that this was her house as well as Maisie’s. Annie tried to keep her distance with Maisie, and Maisie continued to try to get close and get her to play. Even though Annie seemed annoyed by this, she never gave Maisie another “correction.” Over time she started to warm up to Maisie and she would come out of her crate and lay on the floor when Maisie was doing the same thing. In the beginning, she would lie far from Maisie, but slowly they started lying more close together. It’s taken a while, but now they are always in the same room with each other and they lie very close together when they sleep. They also follow each other around the house, and Annie takes great comfort in having Maisie with her when we leave the house so I know they have bonded.

Annie is now so comfortable in the house that she spends very little time in her crate. She prefers to be on the cool tile or spread out on the floor. She is always close by and very often is a tripping hazard. I love that she wants to be close to us and that she will come searching for me if I’ve left the room.

Their body types are as different as their personalities. Maisie is slightly undersized and is very light-footed. I call her Tiptoe because of the way she walks. She holds her head high and puffs her chest out when she prances around, looking more like a pony than a dog. Annie is very stocky and long. She’s shorter than Maisie but she has very broad shoulders and hips which give her a bigger appearance. Her head is a little small for her body and she holds it low, between her shoulders. She has huge flat feet and they point inward when she walks which causes her shoulders to roll along with her hips. She truly has the look of a black bear when she’s walking around the yard.

Maisie likes to push on Annie to get her to play and she’ll wrap her neck over Annie’s. Annie will usually try to change directions to get away from Maisie but recently, she’s learned she can give a good shoulder check to get her to move. Annie will also use her strength to push Maisie away when she is getting attention from me. Annie now wants as much attention as possible and she just shoves her way in so she can be closest. Every now and then she’ll give Maisie a check out of the blue, which Maisie interprets as an invitation to play. I can’t tell if Annie is trying to play, or is being a pushy big sister but it’s fun to see them engage more frequently with each other, and Maisie not being the only one to initiate an interaction.

Annie still doesn’t show any interest in toys but she did do a funny thing one day. Around 8:00 every night, Maisie has her crazy time. She will grab one of her favorite, noisiest toys and start running circles in the house while squeaking the toy as much as possible. She usually does this when we’ve settled in to watch TV, so the volume gets turned up, Maisie races around, skidding out, changing direction and being very distracting for 5-10 minutes. Annie usually is starting her after-dinner snooze so when this starts she typically gets up and goes to her crate to get out of the way. One morning, green dragon was lying by Annie’s crate after it had been discarded the night before. Annie stood over it, then pounced and grabbed it and took it to the back of her crate. It’s the only time she has pounced much less grabbed a toy and it made me smile because she was showing a hint of mischief by stealing Maisie’s favorite toy. Maybe she was trying to hide it in order to have a more peaceful evening that night, but I really think she was trying to show Maisie who’s the boss.


Enjoying the day

Last weekend I found myself home alone with just the dogs.  This doesn’t happen very often but my husband was out of town, the kids are both away at school and finally the weather looked to be absolutely perfect for going out and exploring.

I was inspired by the weekly photo challenge prompt of edge and I knew exactly where I wanted to go to try to capture some pictures that would relate to that theme.

This summer has been incredibly hot which makes it unsafe for me to walk my big hairy dogs.  Maisie and I have always taken really long walks when the temperatures are below 75 degrees.  We live about 8 blocks from Lake Michigan and there is a beautiful walking path that we enjoy in all kinds of weather, the colder, the better.

Our walks have gotten a lot shorter since Annie has started to join us. She’s older and doesn’t have the same level of stamina and I’m very careful to not get her over heated.  I really wanted to go the full length of the path which loops around the Northwestern University campus but it’s just too far for Annie and I didn’t want to leave her home alone.  I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to me before, but I decided to drive down to the path and then we could walk along the lakefront taking breaks when needed and then drive back home.

The girls love a car ride but when I parked and got out, they were both a little anxious because they didn’t recognize where we were and we were heading out to a new direction.  I parked close to campus in the residential neighborhood but once we started walking and they saw the lake they settled into an excited pace.

Our first stop was at the end of the pier which has a beautiful view with the Chicago skyline in the background. My biggest frustration was that I left my good camera at home and had to rely on my iphone to capture what I wanted. The lighting was tricky but we enjoyed the peaceful setting.



We kept moving and I found a gorgeous spot with a different angle that gave me a slightly better result.

Then we worked our way to the other area that I had thought represented “edge”.

To wrap it up we strolled along the loop of the path, took a rest and headed back to the car. (Finally the angle of the sun was in line with what I wanted to capture.)

By this point, Maisie knew what I wanted but I still had a hard time getting her to look at me.

It was such a nice break from our usual routine that we returned on Sunday and I found even more amazing spots that I have walked by so many times but never stopped long enough to enjoy the view.

Loving the moment here and now!

Weekend update

Aren’t long weekends wonderful? For us, it means having time for fun, a house project and a little rest in between. For the dogs it means playtime and meeting new people, baths and lots of sleep. Maisie thinks this is all wonderful, Annie still has her moments of doubt.

Chris and I are finally tackling one of the projects we have postponed every summer since we moved in: replacing the shingles on the north side of the house.  When we moved in, we ripped the old siding off and began the slow process of restoring the clapboard and molding, replacing what was necessary and repainting the house in a cheerful 5 color Victorian scheme. We have worked our way around the house each summer and have even made second passes of touch-ups when needed. The top portion of the north side has been out of reach from our 35 foot ladder and has been a topic of debate every summer.  I wanted to hire someone to complete the job, I really don’t like Chris being up that high.  He  wants to do it himself, so we’ve been at an impasse. I finally caved, he bought a 40 foot ladder and 4 boxes of new shingles and the process has begun.

Chris is getting the paint stripped off of the sides and then underlayment and shingles will go up.
Last weekend the rotted and warped shingles were removed.

Setting aside time to have fun was part of the weekend plan so we managed to take the dogs to the beach on 3 occasions.  We had our niece over for dinner Friday night, friends who were in town for the weekend came by for brunch Sunday morning and we had our new neighbors over for drinks Monday evening. For Maisie, this was all lots of fun and she was completely worn out by Monday night.  I hoped Annie would be receptive to house guests since she has become so much more relaxed in the house.  She knows Maggie (our niece) and when she came in the house Annie was wagging her tail and started to approach her.  Unfortunately, she got spooked, put on the brakes and backed up until she could turn around and retreat to her crate.

When our friends came for brunch I knew Annie would spend the entire time in her crate but at one point she did venture out and walked around so that she could take a look at who was in the dining room. When she was acknowledged, she quickly turned back around. I always think this a good sign when she wants to see who is in the house.  When they left, we walked them out to the sidewalk and they weren’t even to their car when I felt Annie by my side.  She listened for the goodbye and came right out once they were out of the house.  So there she was, next to me, as we waved goodbye.  Baby steps with her and hopefully one day she won’t hide in her crate when we have visitors.

After a full day of work Monday, Chris on the ladder stripping off the old paint and me removing the thistle bush (truly one of the worst things I’ve done in a while) that the dogs keep brushing past and picking up terrible, prickly burrs that are very difficult and painful to remove from their fur.  We got our work areas and ourselves cleaned up just in time to get to know our new neighbors.  We stayed outside and while Maisie was very social, loving the kids, running in the yard with them, Annie stayed by my chair most of the time but didn’t seem to be uncomfortable with the new voices.  All in all, a great weekend.  We got a lot accomplished but still took the time to have a little fun.

A trip to the beach is a great way to relax after a day of hard labor.

Annie’s found her voice

 When Annie first came home she was so quiet and guarded that we didn’t hear her bark for the first 2 weeks. One afternoon she noticed someone walking down the alley and let out a couple of deep bellows that led me to believe that she was starting to take ownership of our house and yard.

Over the next couple of months there were a couple of humorous episodes that involved her increased barking. She had been with us for about 2 months when one night she woke us all up by standing at the foot of the bed and barking at us at full volume. She did this 4 nights in a row and we called this her night terrors. I don’t know if she was having nightmares, but we were all terrorized when she did this. Maisie would come flying up on the bed and land on me, my heart would be racing and it would take a few minutes to get everybody to settle back down. Then it stopped. I still don’t know what that was all about!

When it became warm enough to enjoy being outside we introduced Annie to the front porch. It took several tries to get her out there but it has become one of her favorite places. We have a lot of condos and apartments in our neighborhood so thereIMG_2039 are always a lot of dogs being walked in front of our house. I’ve worked with Maisie to keep her from hanging over the handrail and scaring people as they walk by. She’s pretty good about it but every now and then she jumps up and creates chaos. The first time Annie saw this, she decided to join in as well. Being the old girl that she is, she doesn’t bother with jumping up, but she has a much deeper bark than Maisie and certainly sounds ferocious. Depending on how the dog walking by responds, it’s pretty easy to imagine how quickly this can turn into mayhem. We’ve gone back to the treat jar on the porch and rewards every time they are quiet. It works well and for now anyway, it is peaceful when we are all out there.

Annie is now so joyful and relaxed at home that she talks to us all the time. She howls at me in the morning as she stands at the top of the stairs. I’m pretty sure she is saying, “good morning, I’IMG_2180m hungry”. She barks at me when we are getting ready to get in the car. She loves going places and will stand at the top of the porch steps, bark a few times and then trot up the sidewalk to hop in the car. She barks at the neighbor dogs when she hears them, she barks at the neighbors when they are walking into their houses. I love her voice, I love that she is expressing herself but I don’t love when she barks at my son. He was home all summer and she never got comfortable with him in the house. Every time he and I would try to have a conversation, she would bark, bark, and bark. It’s a reminder that she still has a fear of young men. Hopefully with time that fear will go away.

The one time she doesn’t bark: when she has to go outside and go potty. She’ll just get up and walk towards the door.  I’ll look up and see “a bear in the kitchen” and know it’s time. Recently she has started pushing the door open and letting herself out. That’s a big change from choosing to go potty in the front hall where no one could see her.  She’s come a long way and she’s a funny girl!