As I have mentioned before, my former married life was excruciatingly painful. I often felt overwhelmed and badly in need of an emotionally supportive friend at home. God sent that supportive friend in the form of a dog.
God knew what He was doing when he made dogs. Annie was the best friend a person could want. It was spring of 1986. My three children then were five and under. As an avid animal lover, I jumped at the chance to get a lapdog when I heard there was a litter of designer-puppies. Free! They turned out to be a Lhasa-apso-terrier-mix. The owner did not want to deal with selling the mixed-breed pups. For over a week I begged my then-husband to give a puppy a try until he finally conceded, but was adamant he didn’t want this dog, he wanted a Doberman.
There was only one female left by the time we got the puppy. She was blonde, very affectionate and cuddly, with a curled, shaggy tail.
The kids and I were exhilarated when we brought her home. Months before we knew of the litter, I told the kids someday I wanted a girl dog named Annie. After that, my two year old son told everyone “My doggy name Annie,” so we named this puppy Annie.
As with any pup, potty-training took lots of effort. But with Annie, I had to be even more diligent. Annie developed a fetish of going poop in my then-husband’s shoes. The first time he found poop in his shoes he was so livid I thought he was going to throw her out for good. He wanted her outside only. I worried I would come home someday to no dog.
She was way too small to stay outside, so I promised him it would never happen again. I cleaned his shoes and sprayed them with Lysol any time Annie defiled them. It didn’t help that he always left the closet door open. She never pooped in anyone else’s shoes.
“So little and already a great judge of character!” my friends said when they heard the story.
I gave Annie plenty of potty breaks, but she pooped in his shoes off-and-on for two weeks. I kept the bedroom door closed, but life with three little ones was quite busy. Sometimes, I sent one of the girls to get something for me from the bedroom and Annie snuck in.
I would catch her in the hallway with that guilty, uh-oh look. Immediately, I’d take her little nose and make her smell the poo, tell her “No, bad girl!” swat her little bottom once and take her outside.
“You can’t keep doing this. Don’t you know we will have to give you away?” I cleaned his shoes, sprayed the inside with Lysol to disinfect them and because Annie hated the smell, and dried them with the hairdryer.
“Why do my shoes smell like Lysol?” my then-husband said, “Annie is not still pooping in my shoes, is she?”
“I sprayed your shoes because Annie hates Lysol.” It was true she hated it, but of course, I was lying by omission and felt guilty about it. Thankfully, she got the message.
He kept trying to find reasons to get rid of her, and threatened to give her away. At times he was mean to her. Fortunately, after a couple of years, she grew on him and he didn’t complain much about her.
Annie was a great playmate for the kids. With three kids, one child usually felt left out. She was always there for them. Annie won my heart long before she grew much bigger than the designer lapdog I dreamed of. She weighed 26 pounds but considered herself a lapdog.
She was such a good girl. Often, I was sure I would explode with grief and sadness over my marital situation and found a quiet place to cry my heart out to the Lord. Annie was always by my side consoling me with her sweet nature. I was amazed at how affectionate she was then, as if she knew I needed her more.
After several years, I realized how incredibly intelligent she was. Sometimes, I sat on the front porch steps to read or talk on the phone, with Annie by my side. Before I knew it, she disappeared. At first I didn’t know how until I watched her closely. She waited till I was deep into the book or conversation, then she slowly walked around sniffing the grass. Once she was halfway around the other side of the minivan on the driveway, I saw her legs speed up. She took off at top speed down the street to sniff out the neighborhood.
She pretended she didn’t hear my calls as she sped down the block. When I jumped into the minivan or ran and caught up with her, she turned around and limped towards me. That was the only time she limped. I often scolded her while suppressing laughter.
My then-husband didn’t allow her on the bed so she slept on the floor by the bed. In the morning when he went to the bathroom or took a shower, she jumped in bed with me. As soon as she heard the shower turn off or the toilet flush, she would jump down and lay in her usual spot.
One year our next-door neighbor watched her while when we went on vacation.
“Annie is a very good dog, but she is a trickster.” I said before we left. My neighbor gave me an odd look. “Annie will try to fool you, she lies.”
“What?” she said, “how can a dog lie?”
“She sneaks off. When you catch her, she pretends she is injured and limps back home for sympathy.”
She lifted an eyebrow. “Oh, she can’t be that smart!”
We returned and stopped off to thank our neighbor. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. She did just as you said. She snuck off down the street. When I caught her she limped all the way back home. What a smart dog!”
God was very kind to me when I needed a true-blue, bosom-buddy. Of course, God is always by our side through thick and thin, but he gave me a very loving dog as my earthly comfort. Whether I was happy, sad, angry, cheerful, frustrated or grumpy, she was by my side at home. She is included in a professional portrait of the kids. When she was 15 1/2 years old, I had to put her to sleep. I held her till she took her last breath and slid into eternal sleep. She will always be remembered as a wonderful family member.
Psalm 116:1-2 God hears my cry. “I love the Lord because He hears my voice and prayer for mercy. I will pray as long as I have breath.”
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.
18 responses to “Heart Support”
I believe Annie was a lifesaver, a type of angel if you will. What a great story! I laughed so hard about the poop. 😀 I’m still laughing! That photo of her in the chair–that’s precious! And, I think I cried as much reading the scripture as I did reading about you holding her until she found her final peace. Thanks for making my morning so very special. Take care! – Amy 😀
Yes, a type of furry angel. What made my ex even madder was that she only did it in his shoes.
The picture in the chair is extra special to me because that is my son, Jonathan, who now lives in the best place possible, Heaven! I am so happy you enjoyed the story!
Liz, you made me laugh and cry at this one. I remember our Charlie dog would run the streets of our neighborhood and run down to your house and play with Annie.They were the best of friends just like us. I remember when you moved away Charlie would run down to your house and there was no Annie. He was so sad just like his mommy was. I loved Annie…..she was a good dog. And she was right about “your then husband”. There was a particular person that Charlie didn’t like either. Funny how dogs can sense things about ppl. Annie and Charlie best friends forever, Liz and Deb best friends forever.
Debbie, I sure do remember Annie and Charlie! I miss those old days when we lived, what was it, one and a half blocks from each other or something like that? Wow, that was 24 years ago! I do agree dogs have an intuitive sense for people. We humans should pay better attention! I bet Annie and Charlie are enjoying sniffing the pastures of doggie heaven. Miss ya, Deb!
Oh Liz, I miss you so much….When you were describing how you were with Annie at the end, that’s when the tears started to flow. I also was with Charlie at the end. I had my hands on him praying for him. As he went on to doggie heaven, I felt his spirit leave him. I don’t know if that’s Biblical or not but I know what I felt. I believe Annie and Charlie are running free and wild together. I love the piture of Jonathan and Annie together. Note to those that are reading these stories of Liz and her life…..She speaks truth. No exaggeration…..I know her personally and have witnessed myself some of her stories.
I have cried with her, prayed with her, laughed with her. Oh!!! How I miss those belly laughs. Note to self: Don’t sit next to your best friend in church when the Pastor says something funny b/c you will feed off of each others uncontrollable laughter and get dirty looks from him. My kids played with her kids….our middle children were best friends. Someday she will have to tell you about coming over to my house minutes after my son was born (at home). I look forward to reading more of your stories. God has plans for you and I feel blessed to be a part of this journey of yours. Shalom Mishpachah!!! (you will have to look that up to find out what it means). Wish I could post that in Hebrew and have look up all the letters and the meaning of each letter.
Thank you Debbie, yes, you certainly have been there through much of my heartache. I feel humbled by your words!
Yeah, that was crazy. The more we tried to stop laughing the worse it got. It felt we were in high school. I was actually very embarrassed but could not stop laughing and just knowing everyone around me was ticked off made me want to laugh more even though I was biting the heck out of my cheek!
As far as Aaron’s birth, it was an amazing experience to hold a little one just after they come out of the womb and to actually touch a plancenta! Wow!
Okay, Shalom Mishpachah, Shalom has many meanings but mainly is used to say “Peace”, Mishpachah mainly means relative or family so I bet Shalom Mishpachah means “Peace Sister” correct?
You tell this story with such a warm heart… makes me miss Annie too ❤
Thank you! 🙂
There should have been a ‘go and get a tissue break’ just before the end … what a beautiful story and what a blessing and comfort Annie was.
Isn’t it funny and amazing that God also uses animals to comfort people?
Yes … and I am so thankful that He does … unconditional love!
Oh, yes. I love the praying cat picture!
That’s our beautiful 1/2 ragdoll kitty Meeko …
Very precious picture!
Annie was sent from God for you and your family. What a dog personality! 🙂
Yes, she was quite a character!