That picture. It's imprinted in my brain. Maybe you saw it or remember it? Two little dogs with the same name because one clung to the other, terrified of what humans would do to them next. So, I told the shelter, send them to me, if they are still alive. There were four.
When I met the transport, I didn't know what to expect. Four Tzu were coming to me from a mill bust in Huron, South Dakota... and two of them were Lola's because they clung to each other. Other foster moms took three. They have all found happy homes. But the worse was Sweet Annie.
I named her for my favorite dried, heavily scented flower. She needed a beautiful name, because the mill had taken her beauty from her forever. Her jaw was broken and wired together by a rescue vet, her teeth were mostly gone except for her canines, which protruded because of her narrow jaw. Annie's rotten teeth had poisoned her system, and damaged her beautiful heart.
She was a Tzu with a Bassett bark and a Hound Howl; her vocal cords damaged by years of crying for food and fighting the infection that drained down her throat. And, we thought she was blind. Her eyes never moved when I passed my hand in front of her face.
During her first days with me, I bathed her, trimmed away the hair that covered her face, fed her whatever she wanted to eat and she began to bloom. Annie learned to play like a puppy, learned to trust me, bonded with my Tzu and became comfortable in my home.
But, she wasn't ready for a new home yet as she was terrified of men. So, I said an aching goodbye to my Sweet Annie and she went to live with a couple that could expose her to more people and a new situations so she would be ready for her forever home. And so I met the transport and said goodbye, forever.
Annie was with us only 4 months... This is her story.
I knew her history, where she came from and how she got here to this point but it still didn't prepare me for how she looked. Her lower jaw jutted out, her face so misshapened. She wouldn't make eye contact, she smelled of fear. So sad, so sad.
I had picked her up with another puppymill foster and was on the way to do a home visit the next day. So off to the motel we went. Once we were settled in for the night I examined my first puppymill baby. Her fur was soft as silk. I stroked her fur while reading her file. It was the shock of my life!
There was Sweet Annie's picture when she came out of that hell hole, so horrible, so horrible. Tears fell, poor baby, poor sweet baby Annie. I looked at her, she had come such a long way but still had miles to go.
She was so timid until we got home. When she saw the other 5 shih tzu in the yard up came the tail, wag, wag and she smiled.
Annie was afraid of hands. When it was time to come inside she couldn't climb the steps so I reached down for her and she ran. "hands, hands-hurt,hurt" was on her face. So I learned to wiggle my fingers at her as my hands ever so slowly reached around her to pick her up.
There were 2 steps back for every step forward. One time when she was outside there was no way she would let the "hands" touch her. An hour passed, another half hour went by, finally I put a bowl of food on the patio and sat on the steps. Ever so slowly she inched forward to eat. I never made a move just crying and cooing "poor baby, poor baby". Time passed,finally she realized "hands" won't hurt, but must always wiggle first to be safe.
At first she wouldn't let me pick her up to join the others and me on the couch. She wanted to but oh "hands,hands-hurt,hurt". Then one night when the "girls" and I were watching tv I felt a paw pawing at my leg. It was Annie, she wanted up. She joined us and the others made room for her. A big sigh and she laid down and fell asleep. It would become a nightly ritual.
Annie was afraid of men. This was brought home when my husband tried to pick her up. She bit him hard, even with her broken jaw she drew blood. She was terrified, absolutely hysterical. We knew we had to help her overcome her fear and came upon an idea that Doug would feed her in the morning while I remained out of sight. He would set her bowl down and slowly back away until she would start eating. He would stop and stay put, not moving closer or farther away. Every time he would move not quite so far away. Eventually she did let him get within 6 feet of her. We were so proud of her, she was so brave.
This part is so hard to tell but I must. Sweet Annie had joined the gang on the couch and she was curled up sleeping. I looked down at her and saw she was still-too still!
Annie? Annie! No response. I grabbed her and she wasn't breathing. I
gave her mouth to nose resusitation but she kept going. She wouldn't come back, she just kept going. I called the vet but she was already gone.
God had called her home.
She's now with the One whose hands will never hurt.
No more "hands, hands-hurt,hurt".
Annie is buried at Sherry's ranch overlooking a field of flowers with a headstone that says You Made Me Love You!
We wish to thankfully acknowledge Bud and Alice Meredith as Annie's sponsors who helped us so much in providing funds to pay some of Annie's vet bills. Bud & Alice, you were Annie's angels and your support meant more than you can ever imagine to Annie and her foster moms!