Tag Archives: Precious Newfs

10. Mother’s Day gifts

This post is from “Annie’s Second Chance” about Mother’s Day two years ago. It was a turning point for Annie and the best gift ever!

For the last several weeks, our walks were much shorter to accommodate Annie and I had missed my long lake front walks with Maisie.   The morning was beautiful, sunny and not too hot, so I grabbed Maisie’s leash and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. Maisie was so excited and followed me out of the room.  To my surprise, Annie popped up and wanted to go too. I knew she wouldn’t be able to go the full length, but I couldn’t turn her down when she was showing interest in going for a walk for the very first time! Prior to this she would come to me when I had the leash and I would lead her out the door but she hadn’t yet responded to “would you like to go for a walk” so I turned and grabbed her leash and headed for the door.

Annie really wanted to go, but true to form, she ventured out of her crate a little bit and then turned back around to tag up. Her next attempt she went a little further, tagged up and then tried again, each time going a little further toward the front door. On the 6th attempt, she finally made it out onto the front porch, I clipped them both and we headed out. I was elated that she wanted to come out with us, but I debated whether Annie was ready to head out for a new direction, so far we had only been walking around the same 3 or 4 blocks. I decided to give it a try, so when Maisie and I headed left toward the lake rather than turning right to go around the block, she hesitated only a moment and then trotted right along with both of us. This was the best Mother’s Day gift I could receive; Annie was becoming more confident every day and was overcoming her fears in order to be with us.IMG_0925

We didn’t go all the way to the lake, I assumed it would be very busy with people and dogs, so we went around the neighborhood and came back home about 40 minutes later. She kept a great pace and walked beautifully on leash, it was her best walk ever and we all really enjoyed it.

A couple of hours later we loaded everyone into the car and went to my brother-in-law’s house for Mother’s Day brunch. This would be a big test for Annie, a new house, a new door to go through and meeting new people. When we got there she was very curious about where she was, but she followed Maisie right into the house, sniffed around, greeted the women that were in the kitchen and then headed back out the front door. Chris was with her and followed her back out. She didn’t seem nervous, she just wanted to investigate her surroundings. The house is set on a huge beautiful lot that backs up to a forest preserve. There were lots of good smells, the man next door fosters multiple Golden Retriever rescue dogs and there was a resident dog to get to know. She took all of this in stride, followed Chris around the yard, went up to the fence to greet the loud, barking Golden Retrievers and eventually settled next to me on the deck and went to sleep until it was time to leave. She did keep a safe distance from the men, but otherwise she showed no reluctance and was comfortable enough with her new surroundings to relax and nap. All good signs that she was making significant progress in her recovery! I was so happy.

The rest of the day went like this: we went home after several hours and had a late dinner with my daughter and husband.  We decided to eat in the dining room, one of the least used rooms in the house since we usually eat in the kitchen.  I think this may have been the first time we ate in there since we brought Annie home and she kept coming around the corner to look at us.  After several peeks, she came all the way in and lay down by my chair.  It was the first time she ever searched us out and decided to stay with us while we were eating!  Usually, she would just come say hello and then go back to her crate. It was another gift on this day.

After dinner we invited our neighbors over to sit by our fire pit. We haven’t spent a lot of time outside since we brought Annie home in January and it was a beautiful evening. I was hoping she would join us but she opted to stay at the top of the deck stairs. She could hear us and keep an eye on us while maintaining a safe distance. Our neighbor has a very loud deep voice and he was conscious of keeping his volume down but she wasn’t ready to greet him. At one point she came down to the yard level and lay down on the other side of the huge oak tree that is situated close to the fire pit. I took this as another sign that she wanted to be close but was keeping a safe barrier and that was fine. If the tree made her feel comfortable, then she should lay by the tree. It was such a good ending to a wonderful day!

Meeting Precious

This week is Puppy Mill Action Week (click here for more information), what a perfect time to recap my experience last week when I met Precious.

Precious is the namesake of Annie’s rescue group. In December of 2014, the rescue arm of the Newfoundland Club of America was notified that there were “several” dogs ready to be surrendered due to the death of a commercial breeder. Commercial breeders operate puppy mills and sell their puppies online and to pet stores. They consider their dogs to be cash crops and have little regard for the care and well-being of their breeding dogs.

Volunteers were assembled and arrangements were made to travel to rural Michigan for the pick-up.  When the volunteers arrived, they were overwhelmed by what they found.  They expected to pick up a handful of dogs, they discovered about 100 dogs living in deplorable conditions with obvious signs of neglect.  The weather at that time was harsh, sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow.  The dogs were outside in wire pens, their only shelter was a couple of unheated open sheds.  They were all underweight, dirty and matted, many with lesions and sores on their bodies. The scene still haunts the volunteers who were involved.

Eventually, 44 Newfoundlands were surrendered. The breeder’s son was in charge of the operation and he was reluctant to surrender them all at once.  He auctioned the young and healthy dogs and released the remainder to rescue over the course of six different trips. The final pick-up happened in early January 2015 and Precious was the last dog to be handed over.

She was dragged out of a dark, unheated building and put into a traveling crate. She had very little hair left on her body (remember this is still the middle of very brutal winter conditions) and she curled up into the fetal position and hid her head. She didn’t have a name or papers and had been completely ignored.  The volunteers decided to name her Precious, because every life is precious and everyone deserves a name. She spent the next 3 months under constant medical care, slowly showing a few signs of improvement, before she was placed with her current family.

Let’s fast forward 3 years to the Newfoundland National Specialty last week.  Precious was there with her 3 Newfoundland brothers who have been instrumental in her recovery.  It’s been a long road to recovery for her with many ups and downs but the best word to describe her is miraculous. She is still shy, but she ventured out for several quick meet and greets with other Newfoundland owners who have followed her story and cheered her on from afar.IMG_6907Her human mother Sue and I have communicated several times over the last couple of years but we have never met.  She was incredibly kind and supportive after Annie died. Precious and Annie shared a similar skin condition. They both used the same medication that brought them relief from constant itching and discomfort so I was happy to send Precious the remainder of Annie’s prescription.  When we finally met, I immediately started shedding uncontrollable tears.

We sat and talked for quite a while.  She shared a bit of the experience of the multiple trip rescue and I learned a few more details that I didn’t know.  I was always worried that Annie was surrendered to one of the last pick ups, having stayed on the property and watched members of her pack be taken away to the unknown.  The whole experience must have been so scary for all of the dogs but Sue thought that Annie was in one of the early pick ups and for some reason I found that to be a relief. She was careful not to overwhelm me with information, she and I both knew I wasn’t ready to hear all of it, but I hope sometime in the future I will be. My goal with Annie was to march in the Rescue Parade at The National, and I was there without her and it broke my heart.  Sue very graciously invited me to march with her and Precious but I declined, that was their moment to share, I would watch and cheer them on.

The next day, I met Precious and we had a lovely moment.  She, like Annie, was eager to take a treat from me but she watched me carefully as I talked to her.  Her eyes darted about from side to side, surveying everything around her, making sure the situation was still safe.  Annie always did that too and I forgot about it until I saw Precious do the same thing.  She reminded me so much of Annie, it was almost overwhelming but I loved meeting her and seeing how well she is doing.  Her fur is full and covers her body.  It also  looks like Annie’s, not solid black but black flecked with white hairs.  She had a sweet expression on her face and a beautiful white blaze on her chest.  She is petite and looks happy and healthy.IMG_6908IMG_6909The fact that Precious could be at a big event like that is a testament to the love and support she has received from her family.  They were very careful with her, letting her meet just a few people at a time and making sure she wasn’t overwhelmed by her surroundings.  She really enjoyed meeting other dogs that were there, which makes sense since she came from such a big kennel and she has always found safety and comfort in the company of the dogs in her family, especially Henry.  Henry is her rock, she will snuggle up next to him when she needs a little extra boost.  He is always with her when she goes outside, she won’t do that by herself.  IMG_6904Those few minutes with Precious happened right before I packed up the car to head back home and were the perfect way for me to end my first experience at The Newfoundland National. Seeing her reminded me of Annie but unlike the day before, I smiled as I thought of her because I felt so lucky to have had her in my life.  Annie was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known and we were meant to be together.  I wish she didn’t have that horrible experience before I found her but the last years of her life were her best years and certainly some of my best years as well.

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Annie 6/7/06-1/12/18

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

 

Annie the adventurer…who knew?

Every time Annie does something remotely “dog like”, I take note.

Behaviors that might seem completely normal and maybe even annoying in other dogs, are behaviors that she is learning.  She wouldn’t take a treat from my hand.  She wouldn’t come into the same room with me.  She wouldn’t go through new doorways.  She wouldn’t go upstairs.  She wouldn’t voluntarily leave her crate. She wouldn’t leave our yard to go to the car or for a walk. Slowly, as she got more comfortable with us and her new home, she started doing these things.  One day at time.  Sometimes she would regress, and we would start over, trying to make her comfortable.

She still won’t roll over for a belly rub. She still barks out of fear when someone other than my husband or I walks through the door, even if it’s someone she knows well.  She still hides behind me when we are out for a walk and someone is walking towards us.

Imagine my surprise Sunday morning, when I heard a commotion at the front door.  Maisie and Winn were crowded together with their tails were wagging and I could tell they either saw someone on the sidewalk or even on the porch that they knew.  Annie was in the middle of the living room barking her alarm bark.

I went to the door and my next door neighbor was there.  He didn’t ring the bell but when I opened the door, he said one of them was wandering outside in front of his house and he had just brought her back. Winn had recently brought in the paper and maybe I didn’t latch the door all of the way.  I was a little surprised, but thanked him for returning the rascal.  I figured it was Maisie.  As he turned to go down the stairs, he said “it was the dark one”.  The dark one!  I said, “Annie?”. “Yep”.

I couldn’t believe it!  I was cleaning the bathroom when I heard her barking, and that’s when I went around the corner and saw the other two with their wagging tails at the door.  Apparently he had returned Annie, she ran inside and then started barking which led the other two to check out whatever was happening.  I can not believe she actually left the house and went for a stroll.  That is something completely new!

I certainly don’t take it lightly that she got out, but there is a part of me that can’t help but smile because it’s one more little sign that lets me know that she is confident enough in her surroundings that she thought she would go say hello to the neighbor.

Oh happy day!

Annie and I had a big day today.  A day that changes everything!

It was time for her rabies shot so our big date was a trip to the vet.  Annie and I have made many of these trips over the last year and 1/2, but this time was very different.

When Annie was surrendered to rescue, the only document that came with her was her 2014 rabies certificate.  By the time she came home with us a year later, the rabies tag was long gone and the certificate we received was in pretty rough shape but the story it told was clear to me.

It’s a copy of a fax and is crooked and faded. On multiple occasions I’ve had to pull it out of her file when asked to show proof of vaccination.  Each time I pull it out, the anger bubbles up because it is a reminder in black and white of her life before us.

The owner’s name and address belongs to the man that operated the kennel/puppy mill.  It’s easy for me to say that even though I’ve never met him, I hate him.  Her name is listed as Anne, but “Paris” is written next to it. Why does she have two names? I don’t know.  Her age is listed as 7, although she had just had a birthday and was actually 8. Her weight is listed as 00. Record keeping was obviously not a priority with these dogs.  There are other notes that are hard to read, but are the vaccinations that she received after she was rescued. At the top are the words Annie Paris, blaze and orange collar.  The final glaring bit of information is the list of vaccinations done which only includes 2 things, the one she received that day and another rabies shot she received May 23, 2008!

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(Names and addresses have been edited)

These are all broad strokes that paint a picture of neglect.  After 6 years, what compelled him to seek out a vet to administer a 3 year rabies vaccination? Who knows, but what really bothers me concerns the veterinarian.  There is no way he could have examined her and thought that she or any of the other dogs from that kennel were receiving proper care.  The conditions they were forced to live in were unsanitary and disgusting.  Knowing Annie as I do, they would have had to drag her to him, with her trembling and cowering.

So now, here’s the good news.  Annie came to us with a broken spirit on the mend thanks to her rescuers and now she is a completely different dog.  She’s happy and loving, she has a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye. She regularly approaches me and nudges my hand for a scratch behind the ear. She walks on leash beautifully and loves our neighborhood patrols.  She comes running when she hears the scoop in the dog food or the word “treat”.  She doesn’t hide in her crate anymore but instead sprawls out all over the house, moving around, finding a comfy spot on the cool tile or under my feet or on the rug in the next room. She’s quick to come when I’m having training time with Winn and she will do her two tricks, sit and down, with precision so she can also get treats. She joins me in the kitchen when I’m cooking, confident that she will get a nibble now and then.  At the end of every day, we climb the stairs together, I give her her eye drops and then she collapses on her Big Barker bed and lets out a sigh of contentment.

So this time going to the vet was different. Yes, she trembled as we were waiting, it took a lot of gentle coaxing to get her into the room and she wasn’t overly enthused about the attention she was getting but we both eagerly left with a treasure in my hands.  I now have a proper certificate with both of our names in print.  It is signed by a Dr. who lovingly cares for her and is genuinely invested in her well being. The final reminder of her previous life can go in the trash. We belong to each other, and we have no reason to ever look back again!IMG_3205 (1)