Hi everyone! I know I promised to share the Jonathan Young and Google Translate sings music soon, but today I just wanted to tell you a story about a friend of mine. Her name was Annie.
I know that date says October 18th, but it was taken October 16th, six years ago today. That was the day she died.
Back in 2001, during Christmas time, my grandfather (whom we called Papa) and grandmother came to visit and with them they had Annie, a German Short hair Pointer. She had been abused, was from a puppy mill, and was very afraid of men. I was just over a year old at the time, not very big, and my parents didn’t know how she would react to being around me. While everyone was sitting around the kitchen table, mom reading “Harry Potter” aloud, I had apparently decided to go say “hello” to the new doggie.
My mom has paused for a moment when she heard a funny noise come from the other room; slurp, slurp, giggle, giggle… Curious, she and dad walked over to where Annie and I were. They were quite surprised by what they found. There was little me, tiny fist full of dog food, standing in front of Annie, stuffing my entire hand into her mouth as she gently licked the dog food out of my hand. I would bring my hand out of her mouth, covered in dog slobber, and she would chew the food and swallow it, then I would grab another handful and repeat. That’s when we decided that Annie would stay.
In the summer of 2002, Maria, Maggie, and I were playing on the playground in our backyard (this was when we had lived in Oregon) and Annie was at the base, just hanging out. After a few minutes, Maria tried to get down from the playground’s second story and Annie suddenly growled at her, basically telling her “no”. For several minutes she circled the base of the playground, growling with her fur standing on end. She only let us down when our mom called us inside. Now, our home in Oregon was known for it’s vast amount of wildlife: Deer, Elk, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Beaver, Skunk, and more, so when our neighbor called our mother, saying that an animal had crossed the road in front of their house just a few minutes prior to the call, we weren’t too surprised. But we were shocked as to learn what it had been: a Mountain Lion. One out in the day time near people wasn’t too common, and it had been seen just around the time Annie had begun to growl and circle the playground. After that we knew that Annie was going to be our protector.
I forgot when this was, but Maggie and I were walking in our backyard with Annie (we were in the yard and near the house so we were safe) and it was early or late enough in the year that there was a small layer of snow on the ground. As we were walking along, Annie started to growl, I thought she was growling up the tree at a squirrel or raccoon or something. As I was looking up the tree, trying to see what it was, Maggie looked out across the field and in the far corner, saw a large black bear. Maggie didn’t waste a second: she grabbed my arm and ran back to the house. I only caught a glimpse of the menacing black bear as I flew behind Maggie in her mad dash to get back inside. Annie came in right after us and all we could say was “buh-buh-buh-bear!”. When my dad got home, he and Maggie went to the field where it was and saw that the tracks were fairly small so it wasn’t a very big bear, but the adrenaline made us exaggerate a bit.
Over the years we had more adventures: Annie getting stuck under the porch, Annie sitting on Maria’s new kitten Red, Annie killing and fetching Maggie and I that big dead mole or gopher thing (Mag rolled an old tire over it so the rodent was in the middle of the tire and then placed a board on top so Annie wouldn’t eat it till dad could bury it), but the biggest one that I remember would have to be the saddest one: Annie was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer was too far in to be able to save her, and in October of 2009, we were told that we were going to move to Minnesota, and Annie wouldn’t be able to come. She was in too much pain to make the trip.
On October 16th, 2010, after spending several years trying to sell our house, we finally did, but there was one more thing we had to do. Say goodbye. I don’t have the picture right now to show you, but I will tell you: I don’t know how I managed to smile in that last picture with Annie. I was nine years old, due to turn 10 on October 22nd in six days, and going to move the very next day from all that I called familiar. While my mom was gone, taking Annie to the vet’s to have her put to sleep (her cancer was so severe at the time: she had arthritis, she was in pain every time she walked… I even slept in the living room near where she slept so I could be with her the last few nights), my dad helped me find the supplies, two planks of wood and some paint, to build Annie a little cross. I painted it blue and purple, I believe, and I used a pencil to write the words “Annie, the best dog in the whole world” on it. When mom got back, we buried Annie next to where our old dog, a chihuahua named Molly who died of a stroke a few years back, was buried. We all said a prayer and I put flowers on the grave, and the next day I put more flowers on the grave right before I climbed into the moving van with my dad and then we left my old home forever.
I remember stopping by our old school to say goodbye to all our friends before we left, and everyone of them was so nice about what happened. I have to say: If I had known that I was going to lose Annie nearly ten years after meeting her, I would still have kept her. It doesn’t really matter how much time you spend with someone, what matters is the memories you make along the way. I’m never going to forget Annie because she was like a fuzzy sister to me (I actually called her that, and even pretended my birthday was hers too!). She my first rescue pet. I will always, always rescue and adopt my pets because I know that they deserve that second chance, like the one we gave Annie. I think everyone has had an Annie in their life: whether it was a parakeet you had as a kid, or that turtle you adopted a few years ago, there’s always going to be that one special pet in your life and you never know when you’re going to find them.