Today at around noon, our dog, Annie passed away. She was surrounded by those who loved her. A mobile vet came and helped with the process. They were very understanding and gentle with her. She passed peacefully, the way it was meant to be.
Here's how Annie came to be in our family... It's a wonderful story.
Biscuit, my dad's dog before. Passed away in January of 2002. In February I went with my dad to help pick out a new companion. My father loves dogs... always has since he was a kid on his farm. We looked at two dogs. One was a brindle boxer which I thought was absolutely beautiful. He was a little hyper for us and my dad was looking for a calmer one. We played with the boxer, but I agreed... we wouldn't be able to handle him. Then my dad saw a rottweiler. I had my doubts because... well... they have a bad reputation. She seemed a bit skiddish, but when she was brought into the room with us... we fell in love immediately. I remember her putting her head in my dad's lap. And then she came over to me and did the same... only then did I realize that she was getting into my lap. We knew then she was the one for us. We found out from the assistant that she had been found tied to a tree and the owners had moved. She had been abused as well. Apparently by electrical cords or a rubber hose because she was deathly afraid of them. That was infuriating. We signed the adoption papers and had to wait a couple of days because she was going to get more shots and she was also going to be spayed. We picked her up afterwards and brought her home. I don't think she had ever been in a car before because she kept trying to stand up, but would fall. She finally calmed down and rode fairly well the rest of the way home. After we got home we put a leash on her to walk her around the property. She knew how to walk of a leash. She walked around and sniffed everything. But when she came over to where Biscuit was buried, she laid down and put her head on her front paws. As if paying respects to the dog who was there before her. Dogs just have this sense. They know... they just do. Annie warmed up to all around her. Her favorite thing to do was run up to you, flip over (almost a summersault) and beg for you to scratch her belly. And boy did she love that.
Annie went from a 4x6 pen at the SPCA and an uncertain future to 2 acres of land to run free on. She had a blast chasing squirrels or whatever else dared to enter that property. Whatever she killed, she laid it near the door step for my dad to see the next morning... Nice, huh? Why do dogs do that?
Soon my dad adopted another dog, Ella... a Belgian Shepherd from Germany. She was a police dog in training, but wasn't agressive enough to make the cut. So she came to be with us. Ella and Annie were like sisters. They did everything together... ate together, slept together and even worse... hunted together... Ella would corner a squirrel and Annie would run in behind it. I swore they both were part African Wild Dog with the way they teamed together. Ella was still growing and when she grew to full size her and Annie didn't quite get along as well. My parents later moved to 5 acres of land in Cypress. And oh my goodness both dogs were ecstatic! Even more room to run around.... and more trouble to get in. Ella and Annie still chased after squirrels, but they soon discovered larger animals... Racoons, Possums and the ultimate prize... the skunk. They both would get sprayed 2-3 times a month... but they would always go back for more. Guess it's that wild dog instinct.
A year ago, Annie started to develop some lumps on her joints. We thought it was arthritis. It was cancer. Another lump started to grow on her lower jaw. My dad took her to the vet and they said that there wasn't much they could do. They could do surgery, but with the nature of the cancer she could bleed to death and if she didn't and they took it off, it would grow right back. It broke out hearts. Last month it seemed to be growing faster and faster. Annie didn't seem like she was in pain, but we know it irritated her so much. Then she started having bad days where she couldn't get up to eat or drink. My dad had to feed her himself or carry her food to where ever she was laying. We knew that she needed relief. Since Annie's life at the beginning wasn't the greatest we thought that having a vet come out would be best. She was terrified of the vets office. She had horrible anxiety. We didn't want to make her end so stressful. Terligua Mobile Vets were our heroes. They came out and introduced themselves to Annie. She sniffed them and showed that she trusted them by wagging her tail. We got Annie to sit on her favorite blanket. The vet gave Annie a sedative. This helped Annie to calm and relax. It took about 5 minutes. We pet her and comforted her, told her how much we loved her and that we were so thankful to have her in our life and that we hoped we gave her a happy life as well. My dad pet her goodbye as well. This was so hard for him to take. Annie put her head on her feet and the vet gave her a second injection that put her to sleep completely. I held her head and pet her and told her it was ok to go and to not be afraid. Within a minute of the injection, she was gone. It was so peaceful and quiet. The way I had hoped for her to have it. A peaceful passing to heaven. I stayed with her caressing her head and her back for long time. It was hard to get up because her nose and the saft fur on her head were still warm.
My dad dug her a nice grave at over looked the pond and the rest of the field. We burried her with her favorite blanket.
It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky and not a breeze blowing this morning. After we buried her, the wind picked up as if it was swooping down to carry her spirit away.
As I drove away I looked in my side mirror as I usually did because she used to follow me on the left side of my car. It was weird not having her there. I drove away and just kept driving. Before I knew it I was on 290 heading west. I lowered my windows and put my hand out to feel the breeze. I then felt a huge rush of release. I felt so much better. I got off at Becker Rd, made the U turn and headed back home. I head myself say good bye again.
Loss is such a small word, but it's meaning is bigger than any emotion. It can dig a hole in your heart so big that you just can't fathom how it will be mended back together. You have to look back and see all of those memories you had. Happy ones that fill up that hole and make your heart feel full again.
Pets walk into our lives, cuddle with us, love us, and leave the biggest pawprints on our hearts. Those, my friend, don't ever fade.
I love you Annie. See you again one day. :-*