Annie was only 8 months old or so when she was rescued from a northern Canadian community and placed into foster care with our dog rescue. And she was pregnant.
January 8, 2015 she gave birth to seven beautiful puppies … but Annie was struggling. With poor nutrition and no prenatal care, her body wasn’t as healthy as it could be, despite the best efforts of her rescuers. She developed one of the worst cases of mastitis the vets have ever seen.
Annie’s ear gave testament to her former life. Scars. Battles. Survival. Hunt or be hunted. Fending for herself and her unborn puppies.
She was very ill and very much in pain. With stronger medication needed, the heartwrenching decision was made to take the puppies off her and send them to other foster homes for around-the-clock care.
We all cried for her.
I met Annie just two days after she had the puppies – and with only two puppies left in her care. She had stopped eating. I volunteered with the rescue and was asked if I could cook for Annie. Annie was far too skinny for a new Mom.
I made salt free chicken stock, roasted a range free chicken, puffed up some brown rice and mixed it all together in what I called ABCD – Annie’s Brown Rice and Chicken Diet.
I took it over to her foster mom’s home – was told not to stress her or the remaining two puppies – and let her come to me.
I fell in love … and think she did too.
Annie got up and came over to greet me – tail wagging and her Gingerbread Man stuffie in her mouth.
She ate a little, much to all of our relief and I continued to cook for her and follow her story. The puppies were gorgeous … but I my heart had fallen for my little orphan Annie.
I don’t need another dog. I don’t need another dog. I don’t need another dog.
I kept telling myself that … but it wasn’t working. I connected the dots that God & the Universe put before me. I began volunteering for the rescue just weeks before Annie arrived … and our paths were meant to cross.
I casually asked if she had a home yet … and was told that no, they hadn’t found her furever home. I began stressing about Annie. Where would she go? Who would love her? Would she be happy? Would I see her again? Like a surrogate foster, I failed … in the best possible way.
I spoke to my son and we decided to apply to adopt her.
Carly – our chocolate lab mix – was almost four at the time. Carly is the calmest, most loving dog I know. She is my souldog. Carly LOVES other dogs. We figured it would be a win:win … Carly gets a sister and Annie gets a mentor.
Annie can’t tell us what happened to her up north. But she was ferocious around other dogs. Fear aggression combined with new mother instinct made her one feisty bitch!
We planned a meet & greet so she and Carly could meet … and it was beautiful. Annie ran right past Carly to get to me. The two dogs got along right from day one. Annie raced and played with Carly and another husky pup in the dog park. My heart burst.
Beautiful Annie came into our lives.
The thing I love most about our rescue is the love and support before, during and after. All of the families are in a secret Facebook group and can share photos and stories. Not only have I had the privilege of seeing Annie’s puppies grow up, we also get Happy Mother’s Day wishes from her pups’ families. We also were there to mourn the loss of Jett, Annie’s beautiful blue eyed pup. My heart still breaks for his family.
Annie has been with us over two years now and has grown into a loving, confident, sassy young woman. Her mostly husky heritage shows in her ‘tude and her talk! She wakes me every morning with the song of her people … and if that doesn’t work, I get nudged. Carly thumps her lab tail against the bed and snorts.
If I can’t get up, I tell her to “Go get Matthew. Go get your boy” and she will race to him to demand her morning walk. Northern Dogs are smart! They are my favourite breed.
I had her DNA tested to find out what breeds are mixed into my Northern Dog … Annie is mostly (Level 2) Husky / (Level 3) Chow / (Level 4) Great Dane (all 40 pounds of her) and Catahoula Leopard Dog. I can see each breed in her beautiful babies.
Annie has taught me compassion and calmness, patience and dedication.
I took her to Ola’s classes and worked with Reactive Dogs on Facebook to teach Annie the lesson that not all other dogs were a threat. Like Carly.
When I saw another dog, I would ask Annie to sit, look at me and feed her treats (counter-inuitive I know!) to show her that other dogs were good! She learned. But she also taught me. Annie used this “language” to tell me when she was uncomfortable. If she was over threshold and too spun by another dog – even today – she will sit of her own accord, face me and chatter at me as if to say “Mom … I’ve had enough.”
I’m glad I learned our language – our secret code – because she tells me so much.
Annie is my constant companion. She is the alpha dog – after me – and claims the spot closest to my head when we sleep. She is never far from my side. When we walk, her tail is at full staff … up and proud!
After a particularly painful breakup, Annie showed how capable she was of deep compassion. Anytime I cried, I could hear her spring from where ever she was resting to race to me. She would jump up beside me, lean in until we were forehead to forehead … and she would cry with me. Then she would lick away my tears. Annie did this not once … but every time I cried. She was always there to comfort me.
While she didn’t sniff out my cancer – and she is the sniffiest dog I know – she loves to sniff my face each morning to make sure I am ok. Annie does this curious sniff, sniff, snort … but she hates it if I blow in her face and will noisily complain in her Husky voice! Too cute.
Her nickname has morphed into Lum Lum. It’s started as Love Bum and became Lum Lum. I don’t know why, but it works! It soothes both of us when I coo “Lum Lum” while petting her.
It took Annie a whole year to gain enough weight and fill out so she didn’t look like a starvation survivor. Because she was a puppy herself while pregnant, her ribs are permanently pushed out … but that doesn’t detract from her beauty.
She has been my constant caretaker during my battle with Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Annie is much more needy than Carly. Annie will cry “Me! Me! Me!” if someone else is getting the attention she wants. She’s our cherished Princess. If Annie hears another dog barking, she will cry and look at me for reassurance, which I give in heaps. In return, she gazes at me lovingly whenever she is near.
Some like to say that she has repaid me for saving her life … but I think it’s I who owe her. I cannot CANNOT imagine life without this little girl.
I love you Annie.
Happy 3rd Birthday my beautiful heartdog. I love you more each day.
And Happy Mother’s Day!
I love you,