Thursday, July 16, 2009
One night in 1995 I came home to see a bouncy and black Cocker Spaniel trotting down my street in Los Feliz. I followed and the little dog stopped on the corner across the street from me. I sat on my corner and waited. She sat on her corner and looked at me for about 10 minutes. Finally she got up and trotted over to say, "hello." She was clean and well-groomed, so I knew she belonged somewhere. I placed an ad in the L.A.Times classified. The next day, a woman called saying that she has rescued "Annie" from the streets near Adams Blvd. months before. She had been a mess, was matted and filthy. While recovering with her rescuer/foster mom, Annie raised a litter of kittens and slept in their box with them.
The rescuer said she had placed Annie in a home in Beachwood Canyon, about 2 miles away from me, but Annie had escaped the yard on the first night by chewing through the wood fence and ended up facing me down on a corner in Los Feliz. The rescuer came by and confirmed the dog was indeed Annie and asked me if I would like to keep her. I said, "Absolutely, yes!" "Good, " she said. "She seems to like it better with you" --besides, I had a young kitten, Grace; and by now, Annie had taken her under her wing.
Over the years, Annie traveled across the country several times with me, always on her black pillow on the passenger seat, sporting her red collar . Once she locked me out of the car at truck stop at night by flicking the lock button while the motor was running. Other than that , she 's been my best friend and my most loyal companion. She's outlasted 5 girlfriends and was better to me than any of them. When I brought Maeve home at 8 weeks old, Annie took charge of her, too. She remained in charge as Maeve grew to be an 80 lbs. beauty. Then Stu joined us. They ignored each other for the most part, but I have caught them cuddling together on occasion. Annie hated the dog park. While Stu and Maeve played, she would sidle up to the nearest bench and wait for a human to come and adore her. She preferred people to everything, except kittens.
Annie has been mauled by a big dog on the Elysian trail, suffered glaucoma and the loss of one eye and so many ear infections that she finally went deaf. Losing those senses never phased her as she marched on with that Spaniel nose and never complained. Her love was unconditional and I returned her love by staying by her through all of her ordeals and her joys. She was always a happy little pup and let me know it. She wasn't a kisser but she would rest her head on my knee as a sign they I was hers.
For the last several days, Annie has been letting me know that she would be leaving me soon. She stopped eating. Then the next day she stopped drinking water. She has been weak and stumbling. Last night I gave her water from a syringe as I held her in my arms, crying. At about 3 a.m., I put her down on her bed and I went to sleep. This morning we were going to the vet to confirm what I already knew: She was at least 16 and her time left with me was short.
I picked her up from her bed and gave her a paper towel , so she could pee because she could not stand. Holding her in my arms, I tried some more water. She took a few drops and lapped it up. Suddenly, her legs thrust out stiffly as she took her last breath or her heart gave out. Her tongue went still and her mouth hung open. Then her head fell onto my chest and her little plush legs went limp. She was gone.
It was as if she had waited until I could be with her before she departed. I'm sure of it
She did not complain this morning but for a tiny little whimper seconds before she left me.
I will miss her more than words can describe. I had hoped she would be here when Stu comes home. I hope Maeve will be alive when he does. I wonder if he felt her go.
Rest easy, little one. I loved you so much am so thankful for your love and for what you have taught me. Rest easy.