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Shelties I Have Known: Annie

We’ve had two Annies in our lives. One, about which I will write another time, was ours. She was amazing and I look forward to telling her story.

This, though, is the story of a rescue named Annie.

We were contacted by a person in St. George, UT, who said that he had just taken a Sheltie from her neighbor — when he heard the neighbor saying that he was sick and tired of the dog and was either going to shoot it or throw it out into the street and hope she’d be run over! The man who contacted us believed that the guy was serious, so she instantly took the dog and hit the Internet to find us. (Thank goodness for people like her!) Through the good people at CARE of Sevier County, Annie found her way to us.

When Annie got to us, she was in pretty bad condition. She was old (we weren’t sure just how old), her breath was absolutely foul, and her teeth hurt her so much that she could barely eat anything. She was covered in foxtails, many of whom had penetrated her skin, she was very badly arthritic, and she was simply dazed with everything that had happened to her. In spite of all that, once she had a really good dental and medical care (including anti-inflammatory meds), she was almost like a puppy again! She rediscovered the joy of being alive, and she knew — she knew — that she was loved, and she gave such tremendous love in return. Annie was so cuddly, so loving, so amazing to be around.

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But that was not, of course, to last for very long. In mid-2006, we noticed that Annie was having trouble breathing and that something seemed to be distorting her muzzle. Fearing the worst, we took her in for an examination. And, sure enough, we got the worst. She was suffering from an adenoid carcinoma, an aggressive and and very invasive cancer. We learned that she would quickly become unable to breathe, that her eyes would start to be displaced from their sockets, and that she was likely to be in significant pain. We gave her every comfort, every bit of love that it was possible to give her, but in less than a month, it was obvious that the cancer was taking over her entire muzzle and was moving its way into her skull.

It was enormously painful, as it always is, to make the decision that was right for Annie. She had given us a very precious gift — a year of her life. And we owed it to her to help her avoid the inevitable pain and fear that comes with such an aggressive cancer. With very heavy heart (I’m crying as I write this), we helped Annie to gently cross the Bridge and leave her pain behind.

It’s easy for people who don’t “do” what we do to wonder how an old dog, a sick dog with so many problems, who was with us for only a year could take on such importance. But we feel incredibly blessed to have had the enormous pleasure of getting to know this wonderful, gorgeous, loving girl and to have been able to share her life for such a short time. Annie had great dignity and offered unconditional love.

I miss her to this day.

On this day..

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