Annabelle gone

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Dogs, Family, Memories, Personal
Tags: , , , , , ,

The living room looks so big without the extra crate and dog bed, no chew toys scattered on the floor, our younger daughter’s bedroom even larger without the prison crate.  There are no food and water bowls in the kitchen any longer.  It’s so quiet.  But even more obviously missing is the extra bit of joy that Annabelle brought into our lives for these last several months.

To get ready to change fosters, Annabelle underwent the two-step program.  Sounds like a short-version of how to kick an addiction which, in fact, it is; kicking the addiction to one foster family and moving on to a second.

The first step took place two nights ago, when we took Annabelle to Rachel’s house to get acquainted.  Rachel’s two dogs were upstairs, barking like mad, wanting to be with us, wanting to meet the new dog.  We went downstairs and let Annabelle roam, exploring what will be her new home.  She must have been a bloodhound in a former doggie life, because she loves to sniff and she took full advantage of the opportunity to experience new smells and new things.  When invited onto the couch, she paused, as though thinking, “This doesn’t happen at home”, then without further ado, up she went.  Treated when the dogs were barking, she soon ignored them and gave herself over to the enjoyment of new things and the attention of three people.

Last night, step two: I took over her crate and most of her things and Rachel and I put them out before our daughter and Annabelle arrived.  We could see her thinking, “Wow!  That’s my stuff.  What’s it doing here?”  She settled in quickly, eating her dinner in the usual hasty way.  Rachel put some treats in a toy designed to drop them out when the toy’s pushed around the floor and Annabelle wasted no time in emptying the toy.  The dogs upstairs were occupied by Kongs (God’s gift to dog owners!!), so the only noises were the occasional thunder claps when one of the dropped the Kong to the floor.  Rachel and our daughter took pictures of Annabelle playing so that Shana (fearless and always concerned leader of For the Love of Pits, or on Facebook at could see that Annabelle was relaxed enough to play.  Then we headed home for our last night as foster pit parents (at least for now.)

Annabelle did get a few extras, including sleeping on the bed with our daughter for her last night.  They both looked so contented this morning when I went in to wake them.  But Annabelle could tell something was going on.  She stuck right by our legs and only settled down in her bed minutes before we left to take her to Rachel’s.  We didn’t linger there, deliberately leaving ourselves just a few minutes to unload, let her go to the bathroom, and say good-bye.  Longer would have been too hard on all of us.  Rachel will be great with her as with her other dogs and once the heartworm’s been treated, if she’s still there, she’ll love being part of a larger doggie family.  (Real time update:  Rachel sent our daughter a picture on the phone, showing Annabelle sleeping on her bed.)  J

Some weeks back as I was walking her on a lovely day, we passed a neighbor about three blocks away whom I hadn’t seen for ages.  He said, “Oh, another foster dog.  Isn’t it hard having a foster dog and then having to give it up?”  My answer then, as now, is simply, “Yes.”

………………………….Real time…………..

I get up and feel bad immediately.  Everything this morning will be the last time.  The last time Annabelle will run down the stairs in the morning and into the kitchen to greet me, prancing and looking completely pleased with life, her entire body moving as her tail rudder whips back and forth.  The last time she tramples all the shoes by the door as I put my jacket on to take her out for her morning bathroom break.  This morning, she looks out at the combination of sleet and rain and hangs back.  Once she’s finished, she heads immediately for the door to go back inside.  I don’t blame her.

It will be the last time she sits at full alert as we fill her bowl with food, then waits, looking expectantly, until we release her with, “OK.”   We won’t see her do her nesting routine of two or three turns before settling down into her cushy brown bed, next to the chair or couch, depending upon who’s home.  If our daughter’s home, the bed’s by the couch; if I’m the only one, it’s by the chair.

No more “zoomies”, that hilarious time when something seems to take possession of Annabelle; she pins back her ears, gets a focused look on her face and races pell-mell around the house, skidding and sliding, sometimes banging into things, leaping into the air as she turns until finally, she just as abruptly stops, then looks around as if wondering how she got there.

With her goes our best reason for getting outside, even in weather that’s terrible, if only for bathrooms breaks.  No more walks where she sniffs up every smell available, snuffling like a little pig.  If we could only train her to be a truffle-hunting dog, we could head for France and make our fortune.

We no longer have to protect our food when sitting in the living room watching a movie while eating dinner.  When a plastic bag crackles in the kitchen, I won’t hear the patter of running footsteps as she rushed to the kitchen to see whether I’m bringing out the treats or some sort of goodie that she want so much that she goes into an immediate sit position with an bright, expectant “Look what I did.  Don’t you want to treat me?” look.

It’s an odd sort of day.  There was snow on the ground this morning with more sleety white stuff coming down. We drop Annabelle off for good (although she’s close enough that we can and will visit).  Our younger daughter has her final evaluation in her print-making class and gets her grade today.  She’s been working virtually every available hour for almost three weeks, as next week she leaves for France, not to hunt truffles, but to help my sister-in-law  care for a litter of newborn Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies.  Our older daughter waits to find out today whether she has been chosen for a new job that she badly wants.  My husband has a blood test tomorrow that will, when enough people have read the results, tell us whether or not there are any cancer markers left after having his thyroid removed and going through iodine radiation treatment.  A momentous couple of days.  I have nothing so large looming, although I do have a number of big things that need to be done; nothing of that import, thankfully.  My part is to wait and support and work and pray.  And today, miss Annabelle.  I make myself a pot for Black Dragon Pearl tea and sit down to write.

  1. jodiks says:

    I send you hugs and good wishes for the future – and for Annabelle’s future as well.

    • Thanks. I think she’ll do well and it will be good for her to eventually get used to being around other dogs. She’ll make someone or some family an amazing pet and it’s nice we were able to be a part of that.

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