Thanks for joining me! And, Annie, of course. I figured before getting on with the other happenings of little Annie’s life, I’d share our “origin story”.
Be prepared for some sappiness. Seriously. This post will probably have enough sap to leave you sticky after reading it.
Also, a warning! This post touches on some dark parts of both Annie’s life and mine. So, this post won’t be as silly as others will; however, I think readers knowing our backgrounds and how we met will help you all understand why Annie and I are so attached to each other.
This post will be longer than most of the posts that’ll come after.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
I’d been thinking about getting a dog for a couple of months….The dog I grew up with, a sassy maltese named Buttercup, had passed away at the age of 15 in December of 2016.
Part of me felt awkward about getting another dog just the summer after my childhood dog had passed away, but another part of me couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So, the summer of 2017 I started looking at the Facebook pages of local animal shelters. (After volunteering at an animal shelter, I’d already decided my next dog was going to be adopted.) And new pictures of dogs needing homes were uploaded almost daily.
I think one of the things I missed about having a dog was the innocent, loving cuddles. You see, I was struggling bad in my personal life. I’d kept it from most people, but in the past year I’d ended up in the ER twice because of self-harm. I still have scars.
The hospital gave me paperwork stating they thought I had depression (What a shocker!), things to do, and the second time I was there, a doctor came into the room and talked about what was going on and what needed to be done.
He brought up the idea of me staying for a few days at the hospital’s crisis center. I was against that from the start. Even if I could freely wander around the place, I didn’t like the idea of others constantly “looking out” for me. That would just be another stressor.
I already felt so stuck. My life was nowhere near where I wanted it to be after graduating college, and to help things along, I’d just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia–a life-long sentence of chronic illness that made my ability to ever get where I wanted in life seem even more impossible.
My “previous” healthy body was gone, and now here was this…this thing in its place that was constantly getting in the way. I was used to being able to make a plan to do something and then just go for it if I thought it was the right thing to do, so I had big plans. However, chronic pain and fatigue made it a struggle just to get through a normal day, forget about the future.
As you can guess, I got depressed, dangerously depressed to the point where it was questioned if I was okay to be alone.
This was the state I was in when looking for a dog to adopt.
One day while looking on Facebook, I saw the picture of a little beagle. The description said she’d been through a lot, and they were calling her Baby Girl or something similar. She was missing most of her hair and had sores all over her body. I connected to the sad look in her brown eyes.
I messaged the shelter to let them know I was interested, and I visited the next Friday after work.
The shelter was small, almost cramped, and the lighting was dim. When the lady led me to the kennels, the dogs started barking immediately. But not the beagle.
She was curled up on a little dog bed trying to sleep. I wondered if she was cold, seeing how the floor was concrete and she hadn’t much fur.
I crouched down next to her kennel, and she whined at me. What a sad whine! I was able to reach my fingers through the metal meshing of the kennel and pet her around the ears. She liked being petted and whined a bit more when I stopped.
When I went back out to the office, I told the lady I was interested in adopting the beagle.
She told me I wouldn’t be able to adopt her just then since she was still getting treatment for mange and couldn’t be released until she was better.
I said okay and asked if there was a way I could put my name down for her, and they could call me when she was better.
The lady told me their shelter didn’t work that way. It was a first come, first served set up, and so the person who adopted the little beagle would be the first one who asked for her after she was well enough to leave.
Not the answer I was hoping for, but what could I do about it?
The lady suggested I come back in two weeks.
So I did. But the beagle still wasn’t healthy enough for them to adopt her out.
So I came back the week after that.
And the week after that.
I was set on getting this dog. Why? Well, despite her lack of fur, I still thought she was cute, but more than that, I’d felt a connection to her as soon as I’d seen her photo. And the more I went to visit, the more solid that connection became.
I learned that along with being sick, the people who’d had the beagle before “hadn’t treated her well” to use the wording of the ladies at the shelter.
Here was this little dog, stuck in a kennel all alone, life had been rough for her recently, and she was sick and in pain.
We had so much in common.
Except her illness was curable; her pain would go away. I could help with that.
And I could get her out of the kennel.
One Friday after visiting, the shelter ladies seemed to give in. They had me write down my contact info and said they’d call when the beagle was well enough to have me adopt her.
I guess I’d bugged them enough to show I was serious.
It took me a while to pick a name for her, but I had one by the time the shelter called and asked if I still wanted to adopt the beagle.
Pshh! Did I still want to adopt her? It wasn’t like I hadn’t already bought a leash and collar or anything….Oh, wait.
When I picked her up on September 22, 2017, she whined and wagged her tail at me. She was still mostly bald except for her head, chest, and a line of fur down her back, a red-haired orphan waiting for a home.
The ladies took the customary “adoption” photo of the two of us, and then, paperwork in hand, Annie and I went home.
That was the start for my Annie dog and me.