|Annabelle's happily ever after story
From foster home…
Annabelle had only ever known one person in her life, her Daddy, for 13 years. When her daddy died at
home, Annabelle stayed by his side for almost an entire day before someone discovered them. Within a few
short days, Annabelle’s life had completely changed. After a few weeks of trying to find the right
placement, she came to live with me, her foster mom, and she was here a total of 8 months. Overtime, it
was clear that Annabelle was beginning to suffer from CCD, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, and through trial
and error, I got Annabelle started on Hills Science Diet B/D formula and a supplement called Senilife which
made a big difference in her ability to focus and be calm. The night pacing and licking stopped.
It was also discovered that Annabelle had severe arthritis in her back for which she would need medication
for the rest of her life and treatments including cold laser for her pain along with special food and
Once Annabelle got some medical attention and she felt better, I was surprised at the amount of energy she
had. Annabelle was like a young pup in an old dog’s body. It was evident she needed an active person in
Asking a foster to keep an older dog until the right home becomes available is not that easy; asking a foster
to keep a dog for almost a year is also difficult. There were so many times that I was ready to give up, but
I knew that Annabelle was worth the investment and she was counting on me to keep her happy and safe
for all those months. I knew that if I did not keep her until the right home came along, things might not
have turned out for her the way they did. Fosters are key to rescue. If a foster agrees to take an older dog
they know that that dog might become a long term guest in the home with all of the attendant issues.
Without foster homes, the whole process fails.
Despite the odds being against her, sweet Annabelle has been adopted by a wonderful family with English
Setter experience. I’m going to miss the old girl like crazy but I’m thrilled that this placement is giving
Annabelle the things that she needs, some of which she could have not gotten with me. She is very happy
in her new home. So, thank you Diane, for opening your heart to my sweet Annabelle.
To forever home…
Annabelle burst through the waiting room door and spied me. The Veterinary Tech, who had
dropped the other end of the leash seconds before, watched as Annabelle padded across the
floor to me. She sat at my feet and looked up, with a question in her eyes. I answered by
leaning in, first to let her sniff, and then to give tentative licks, of my face. It was our first hello.
Bringing a senior dog into my home has been a process of discovery. Unlike adopting a
puppy, which is greatly a journey of teaching, I have found getting to know Annabelle to be
more like making a friend. Annabelle had over 13 years of experiences prior to our meeting
and has a pretty firmly constructed view of the world.
Rather than teaching, I have spent my two shorts months with Annabelle, learning. I ask a lot of questions
and hope my conclusions are correct. It was apparent immediately that Annabelle knows the basics of
cleanliness and manners. Questions such as, what commands does she know and where does she like to
sleep were also answered quickly. Over a series of interactions with dogs and people, I learned she likes
both. Like most of us mature folks, she has some limits and she will let you know them. She is not
aggressive, but she is firm, especially when she is tired.
With a puppy, I would push hard to change some things, but with Annabelle, I accommodate. She let me
know in the first days of my leaving her alone while I went to work, that she did not want to be in the
kitchen. She pushed through the gate I bought, hightailed it for the bathroom and camped out there until I
returned home. Somewhere around the third day of this, I realized she feels safe in the bathroom. She
doesn’t cause any trouble and comes out as soon as I arrive home. So, I asked myself another question,
“If this works, why am I trying to fix it?”
I also know that Annabelle enjoys yogurt, and has a great appetite but only when well exercised. She
LOVES riding in the car and it really doesn’t matter if you go anywhere, she just likes the ride. She enjoys
having her belly rubbed but she is very tentative about it. I only do it when she asks and I am very gentle.
When I am home, Annabelle wants always to be with me. She loves to sleep in my lap or by my side. She
thinks we get up at a ridiculous hour in the morning. Consequently, she would like us to go to bed around 7:
My favorite answer to my favorite question has been this one: Will Annabelle, at 13 plus,
like running and hiking with me? The answer has been a resounding yes. I was resolved to take this slowly
and go at her pace. Lucky for me, I have had trouble keeping up with her! As I write this, she is lying
beside me, napping after this morning’s two-hour hike. My questions have now moved up Malsow’s Needs
Hierarchy. Today I am asking things like this, “What new experiences can I provide for her?” and, “I
wonder if she knows how to swim?”
If the fates are kind, I will undoubtedly take more puppies into my home. I will also make room for more
friends like Annabelle. There is joy in both the teaching and the learning. Puppies bring us the magic of
their youth and the joy of watching their discovery of the world. Older dogs bring us a fully formed self, a
product of their unique history and they offer us a challenge. Can we allow for that history and provide
them a future? If we are able, this joy is at least as deep, and perhaps wider.
George “Bird” Evans, the famous upland hunter, writer and illustrator, said this about old dogs. It pulls at
my heart every time...
“There is time, and you must take it, to lay your hand on your dog’s head as you walk past him lying on the
floor or on his settle, time to talk with him, to remember with him, time to please him, time you can’t buy
back once he’s gone.” George “Bird” Evans
|AN AMAZING RESCUE STORY (read it all)
In mid June 2017 our intake coordinators were informed
of a dog in Kentucky who had been an owner surrender
to a shelter. In this particular shelter it means time is
limited. A Better English Setter Rescue said yes to Bailey
and saved his life! Upon arriving at his foster mom's
house she knew we had rescued a true gem. He was
quickly adopted by a family in Texas and was ready for
his big move from foster care in Michigan. Bailey needed
an overnight stay and an amazing family opened their
home and hearts to this sweet boy.
Here's what they had to say...
"I am not very good with words, nor am I highly educated, so please hang in here with me while I
TRY to express the wonderful time we had with Bailey last night, the love he showed US, the
goodness and love inside of him and blessings and HONOR we received in the very short time he was
Those of you who helped in transporting him yesterday already know how special a boy Bailey is.
Those of you that will be transporting him today, will see, feel, experience and be able to tell right
off that Bailey IS a special kind of gentleman!!!! Bailey is more than a dog. He will rescue YOU
I got Bailey home last night around 7:45 p.m. He watered every tree, bush, clump of grass and
EVERY bale of hay in the back pasture. I then brought him inside and introduced him to my dogs.
He let them smell him, of course they are all small dogs and didn't even come up to Bailey's knees.
Bailey went IMMEDIATELY to my husband, Darrell. Darrell's health is going down hill fast. He was a
sniper in Vietnam and got him a real good dose of agent orange. It is now wrecking havoc on his
body, effecting his spinal cord, heart, kidneys and brain. I am afraid to leave him home alone for
longer than a hour, thus making my ability to transport dogs very rare now a days unless I can find
someone to stay with him. Bailey went immediately to the chair Darrell was setting in, reached up
and licked Darrell's hands and then laid at his feet.
We had a late supper last night and while I was in the kitchen, washing dishes, Bailey came to me,
jumped up on me, and went to barking. 1st time I had heard him bark. I loved on his head and
went back to doing dishes. Bailey kept pushing against my leg and barkin. So I figured he needed
to go out to potty. I had left his leash on him as he was running around exploring the house and so
on, so I just headed to the front door to take him out to potty. He would NOT come to the front door.
He stood in the hallway barking constantly at me. So I followed him. He ran into Darrell's bedroom.
When I followed Bailey in, I saw that Darrell was in the floor and had a small cut above one eye that
was bleeding. I checked the cut, it was NOT bad, so I was able to get Darrell into a setting position.
When Darrell was ready, we were gonna get him up out of the floor. I had him link his arms around
my neck, I had my arms around his waist and we were gonna try and stand him up. Both of us were
trying real hard to get him up and when I got Darrell to his knees, I looked over Darrell's shoulder &
Bailey had his head pushing against Darrell's butt. Bailey was HELPING ME GET HIM UP!!!!!
Now, those of you that will do transport 'legs' with Bailey today, will SEE what a loving creature of
God, he is. (Adopter) you will see when you get him home, just how lucky you are to have adopted
I don't know who will be rescuing whom. I do know that Bailey rescued us last night, blessed us,
loved us and I am honored & BLESSED to have had him in our life the short time that we did!!!"
|Rescuing dogs isn't always easy but it is
ALWAYS worth it. We are thankful for all of our
volunteers for without them we are nothing!
Sharing this story may help others to become
involved, make someone else smile and will
certainly give anyone that feel-good feeling
they've been seeking all day!!!
-- Julie Fried, Vice President, ABESR