Growing Family Gallery — we proudly introduce Annie — RESCUE #8

I have long dreamed of being a master gardener. In my head I have the most beautiful formal herb garden and "country garden" perennial beds. But in truth my yard belongs to my dogs and whatever I succeed in planting usually gets trampled, dug up, or eaten soon after I have a moment to enjoy its beauty. So I find other ways to enjoy my favorite plants — for example, "Sweet Annie" isn't just a sweetly scented herb, it's the name of one of my wonderful dogs!

Annie came from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina in late October 2012, and admittedly she sneaked in to ESRA as an English Springer but she is clearly an English Setter. She came to ESRA needing to be spayed, having been used as a breeder for most of her life, and she had mammary tumors that needed to be removed and was heartworm positive so she was in ESRA's foster care for quite some time. We got to know her very well and knew that she was an extremely sensitive and skittish dog and somewhat of a "nuisance barker," so we tried to be careful to place her with an adoptive family that would promise to understand her unique needs and quirks. Despite our best efforts and hopeful adoptions three times, Sweet Annie came back to ESRA all three times so the obvious solution became "bring her to me in Browns Summit."

Annie settled in to our laid-back family lifestyle very quickly. She learned that falling leaves were not nearly as scary as she had thought they were; she realized that open doors could be walked through without fear; and she discovered that barking at everything that moves does not accomplish a thing. She still hasn't felt comfortable ever taking treats from someone's hand, but we don't care — we just set treats at her feet and she gets to enjoy them her way!

Annie is an extremely special and gentle creature who, all by herself by doing nothing more than being present, fulfills my need to know that I have played a small role in bringing security and happiness to another beating heart! I adore my sweet Sweet Annie!

Assigned birthdate: 10/9/2004

February 6, 2017

I knew this day was coming. This day comes for everyone, but it is still heartbreaking when we know it has arrived. My sweet Annie has been silently suffering with a degenerative condition of her spine which made walking a painful drudgery and standing still nearly impossible. And any time that her legs betrayed her and caused her to keel over, she had increasing difficulty squaring herself up so that she could rise again. Since I am home with her 99% of the time, there was no problem for me to be there to help her, but for that 1% of the time when I might not be near, both of us lived with uncertainty. Today I realized that her condition had diminished the quality of her life and she deserved the rest and peace that saying goodbye to her would afford. Knowing it was the right thing to do didn't make it easy, but I was with her to the end and she knows she was dearly loved. She will make a very sweet angel.