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 In Memory of  Annabelle
August 18, 2022
Dearest Shirley,
Tonight I wanted to reach out to you personally with the news that I still can’t quite articulate: my sweet, perfect beagle girl crossed the rainbow bridge on Monday. 

Your continued guidance, support, and expert, loving care kept me confident in my ability to give Annabelle every single second she deserved. Thank you.

As you know, Annabelle ruptured a cervical disc in November and underwent emergency surgery - she came through like a champ and we followed the post-op orders to the letter. She achieved full recovery around February. Everyone we met commented on how beautiful she was. She was the poster-dog for a complete recovery. They couldn’t believe she was 10. Everything about her was perfect and beautiful.

The end was a complete and utter shock. We had just spent the most wonderful month together at my mom’s house in South Carolina. Annabelle did not appear to be in any pain. We went on walks, used a stroller for longer ones, watched movies, read books poolside, did happy rolls in the dirt, barked at geese, ate ice cream, went on sniffaris, and took naps. She was so, so happy. 

I know everyone says that their dog is the best, but Annabelle truly was. You knew it when you met her. You knew she was meant for me. I remember you calling (I was in the produce section at Trader Joe’s) to tell me you had the perfect girl for me - I needed to come meet her. When I brought her home, you told me, “Well that’s the fastest adoption in history!"

Annabelle always gave me exactly what I needed. You brought this baby girl into my life - my perfect Annabelle - and for that, I will always be in your debt. I can not believe she is gone; I’ve never lived in this house without her and it is horribly quiet. But because of you, I have eight years of precious, fabulous memories which will someday overshadow the pain of Monday.

Shirley - I feel so very blessed that our paths crossed. Your job can not be an easy one and it takes someone very special to dedicate their lives to pets in need and to help people find their doggie soulmate. I do not share this news to make you sad, but to tell you how much you work means to people like me. I was so lucky to have been Annabelle’s chosen “person.” Gosh, she was just perfect.

I will also tell you that Annabelle - in her adorable, affectionate, intelligent, goofy, bossy, exuberant goodness - is responsible for no fewer than three adoptions. One of my friends called me Tuesday to say the reason she adopted her dog “is because of Annabelle.” Another friend told me that, when they were looking at rescue dogs, her husband had insisted on a beagle. “I finally figured out that Jim didn’t just want any beagle, he wanted Annabelle. He was looking for an Annabelle."

Please extend my thank you to everyone at Save a Dog for your dedication to animals and the people who love them. You were exactly who we needed. 

I have mentioned your organization to those who have asked about making a memorial donation in Annabelle’s honor. She would have wanted that.

God bless you and your life’s work.

With sincere thanks,

Erin O’Leary, Annabelle’s very grateful mom
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