Print|Text Size: ||
Annie Stayed

When I left Richmond for Fort Wayne, Annie had to stay behind. Kaity wasn’t coming with me, I thought she would need Annie in my absence and our landlady didn’t allow dogs. Izzabel had a new home. Annie couldn’t go anywhere.  Annie would be too scared. She’d never trust new people. It would terrify her. So Tom and I left Annie there. A few months later, Kaity called and said Rich once again wanted Annie to go to the pound. Annie couldn’t go to the pound, she was too shy and scared. They’d put her down. People adopt the cute puppies who lick their faces and bound into their laps. Not a middle-aged Chow mix who cowers in a corner scared half to death. We talked the landlady into letting us have her. Annie came home. And Annie stayed.

She was scared in that house. We had a lot of company there, Tom’s kids, their friends, other friends. She spent months in that house lying on the floor behind our bed. It was safe there. But when no one was there, Annie for the first time was TOP DOG. For the first time there were no other dogs for her to stay behind for, just Annie. As my bond with Tom grew, so did our bond as a family, Tom, me and Annie, and Kaity when she came to visit. Annie was safe. And she stayed.

We moved to Bloomington and got Boone there. Annie needed a friend. Boone was her baby. He’d sleep cuddled up by her. They’ve been inseparable. Even though Boone is now twice Annie’s size he was her boy. But still, true to form for Annie, she took a back seat to Boone. When we’d pet her and big lug Boone would push her out of the way, Annie just went and lay down. There was nothing worth arguing about to Annie. If you got them each a bone and Boone took both of them—that was fine with Annie. Not worth arguing about. Annie was so safe with us. She’d lie in the hallway and just let you step over her to get by. No worries. Tom and I would never hurt Annie. Annie stayed.

She blossomed when we came back to Kentucky and moved into this house. She had a nice yard. There are three other dogs here who came to visit every day. She had horses to watch and make friends with, she had Boone. She had Kaity back who visits often. She started doing things that she’d never done!!! Things that most people take for granted out of their dogs. Annie barked at us! Annie barked because she wanted something! That was amazing. Annie never did that. We even called our friend Kerry to tell him, “Hey! Guess what! Annie barked at us!” Annie and Boone had a wrestling match every night in the floor. Annie played? Annie had never played. I caught her one night with one of Boone’s toys tearing the stuffing out of it. Annie never touched a toy. We weren’t sure what it was but Annie felt safe here. For the first time in her life, she felt completely safe and started to relax.

When I would come in the door after work, Boone would always come to greet me.  Annie would be somewhere else in the house. I’d say, “Where’s Annie, Boone? Did you eat her?” And Annie would come walking out.

Last weekend, I saw Annie squatting in the yard to potty. I thought she was constipated. I fed her some fat off of a roast, thinking it would help her. On Monday, I asked Tom to just kind of keep an eye out and see if she went potty. She was walking with her tail tucked between her legs, obviously she wasn’t herself. On Tuesday, she still didn’t seem like Annie. By Thursday, she started running a temperature. I put her on the couch, covered her up, watched her, hugged her and loved her. We decided come hell or high water, whether we had the money for it or not, she would go to the vet on Friday to see what was going on. Was it possibly a urinary tract infection? On Thursday night, Annie kept going back in the back bedroom and hallway to lie down. She never, ever goes back there. I told her, “If you’re looking for a place to die, don’t do it. I need you. You’ll go to the vet tomorrow. Don’t you die on me.”

Tom got up Friday to take Annie to the vet. She was in extreme pain. He called me at work and told me to get there as fast as I could. I flew. I was texting people, calling people on the way. Annie is dying. I’m on my way.

Elizabeth Steele lives in Lexington, Ky.

More From The Bark

Michele Morgan Bolton
Elise Meredith Beattie
Claudia Kawczynska
More in Tributes:
Welcoming Meadow
Tribute to Rocky
Sweet Slayer
Golden Tribute
Goodbye, My Friend
Beau: Through every season, he was there
Farewell Sebastian
A Star for O’Henry
Boris Gustav
The Bowlegged Rascal [Video]