Hello my friends at Save a Dog!
I was just perusing your website, which I often do, to see the friends that you have helped find good homes. Thank you again for all that you do.
It will be a year at the end of January that we have had Annie (adopted on January 26, her name was Annie Mai, renamed to Annie Mae after a family loved one) and boy, is she like a different dog! The first few months, while the world was under ice and snow, Annie and I spent countless days and nights walking around "our block" which is about a 1/4 mile or so. It was quiet and peaceful and Annie learned the neighborhood smells and sounds. By the time the Spring melt came, she had become quite comfortable in our neighborhood and while she was not crazy about anybody that wasn't family patting her, she would stand on leash with me and wait patiently to finish our walk. We have a fenced in back yard and we learned that she LOVED playing ball… not so good at "fetching" but she'd race you to the ball and then play keep away… my kids (Seamus, 13 and Brigid, 10) would get worn out before Annie would! When we opened our built in pool, we were grateful to find that Annie was very cautious around the water, but loved keeping us company while we swam and cooked out, etc. She learned quickly that my husband was the grill chef and whenever she heard the grill open, she'd stay close to him, in case he needed her help. :-) She has been the best company for our whole family.
I started taking her to the dog park near our home and for the first couple of months, would simply walk her around the perimeter of the fence so she could sniff and listen and watch but not be involved. When it got to the point that we would walk down the path to the park and the tail would wag and she'd get excited, I decided to give it a try. So we ventured in and after a few warnings to the other dogs that she didn't like to have her rearend sniffed, she settled right in. Now, we are regulars at the dog park, she plays, she follows, she sits and watches, she digs… gone is my girl who had no confidence and was afraid of everything. It is remarkable the changes in her.
From the very beginning, she took to the kids like a story-book family dog… she would lounge on the floor with the kids while they played or read or watched TV… when they were asleep, she'd check on them before she'd call it a night in her dog bed in my bedroom, when they came home from school, she'd nearly split in half, she was so happy. She clearly adores them and they her.
She has turned into a very efficient watch dog, letting us know when there is someone in the yard or at the door, letting us know when there are squirrels in the area or when the neighbor's cat is on the move. :-) She is very wary of new people in our home, will growl and give a couple of barks but then is very polite. She stays close to me and will eventually sneak a sniff of the visitor and after only a few minutes, will return to whatever it is she was doing (sleeping, playing, chewing her bully stick).
Health-wise, she is perfect… she is now a whopping 69.5lbs which, according to our vet, is perfect for her build. Her coat shines and her eyes speak volumes. I've not yet brought her to a groomer to be groomed (I've been bathing her out back myself) but have had her nails clipped a couple of times… we're building up to a shampoo and grooming. Maybe after the first of the year, we'll give it a try. I've befriended the local groomer who is sensitive to Annie's reservations and assures me we'll ease into this and make it work. Baby steps has been my mantra with Annie from the start, and so far so good!
We hosted 20 people at our house on Thanksgiving and Annie, while cautious and maybe a little confused at the chaos at first, was so happy to have people who loved her (my family and our extended family) near by. She got caught up in the fun and laughter and I think truly had as much fun (and enjoyed her turkey as much) as the rest of us. It sometimes makes us curious about where she came from, what kind of family life did she have (or not have).
As we prepare for our first Christmas with Annie, we are eagerly anticipating what she will be like on Christmas morning. Annie will typically place herself in the middle of whatever we are doing so we expect that December 25 will be no different. None of us can imagine our lives and our home without Annie… she is affectionate and playful and obedient and polite and, just like your original description mentioned, indeed will burrow right under our legs while we sit on the couch. She loves to be physically near and swoons with our touch and almost purrs when we speak to her. She quite simply wants to be loved and we are more than happy to oblige!
When I'm able to get our Christmas picture taken, I will be sure to send one to you… in the meantime, I've attached a couple pictures of our girl…
The merriest of Christmases to you and your families… thank you again for everything…
My best, Tammy Ford