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Annie Stayed
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Annie’s bladder was full of calcium stones. Sometime Thursday night, while we slept Annie’s bladder exploded in her body. There were paths of blood where she walked the house and looked for a place to die. She wouldn’t get us up and tell us, that’s not Annie. I held Annie in my arms, with Tom, while they put a needle in her and stopped her pain. I paid money, good money, to kill my Annie.

We took her to the farm in Richmond. That’s where Annie belonged. I was ready to find out who lived there and beg them to let us bury Annie there with Zoey and Toby. She needs to run the fields, chase the cows, play in waterfalls and swim in the pond. Kaity was rushing to meet us there. When we got to the farm, it was for sale and vacant. Tom dug a heart shaped hole for our Annie. And there she rests. There Annie will stay, because Annie always stayed.

I listen for the sound of her nails on the floor. I look for her around the house. Boone is lost. Tom is heartbroken, as is Kaity. We are tearing ourselves apart wondering if we could have saved her if we’d done something sooner.

Annie always stayed. What will we do without our Annie?

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Elizabeth Steele lives in Lexington, Ky.
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