Although I know Zac Brown’s song “Sweet Annie” is about a girl, when I hear it, I think of my ten-year-old beagle, Annie. From the first moment I saw her big brown eyes, that white-tipped tail raised in the air, and that prissy walk, I knew Annie was special; it was love at first sight.
Annie is my constant companion. She comes running when she hears the car keys because she knows that means a ride. She naps with me in the porch swing, and she is also my walking companion. When I walk, I like to power walk – no strolling or ambling. However, Annie prefers a more leisurely pace. At times I become impatient when she slows that pace, and I tug at the leash to make her keep up.
One morning, Annie could not stand up on her back legs, and she was in extreme pain. An x-ray revealed a vertebra that was fusing, and the vet gave her a steroid shot and recommended rest. I decided that she would no longer be allowed to jump up and off the sofa. I purchased a pink, fuzzy bed and brought it home thinking how much she would love it. Annie hated it; she sniffed it, turned up her nose, pranced to the couch, and stood looking at me with her big brown eyes asking that I put her on the couch. I said, “no.” She turned around, walked to her old crate and pouted. I also decided that Annie would no longer receive any treats or food from the table; losing weight would help her back. She was not happy.
After about three weeks, I decided that maybe Annie was ready for a walk. She was lying in the pink bed with her chin hanging forlornly over the edge; she was so bored and depressed, but when she saw me lacing up my walking shoes, her head popped up, and her tail began to wag. I decided to let Annie set the pace on that walk. I did not power walk, and I did not tug at her leash or admonish her to keep up.
When we returned, she headed straight to the sofa and again turned those big brown eyes on me. I said “no” but picked her up and put her beside me in the recliner. She snuggled up and went straight to sleep.
As I watched her sleep, I realized that she is getting older. I also realized that instead of taking Annie for a walk, it was the time to allow Annie to take me for a walk. She has earned the right to set the pace, the right to stop and pee every twenty feet, and the right to sniff anything and everything that she wants. When she woke up, I put her on the sofa where she has earned the right to rest, and I gave her treats from the table; she has earned those too. She is my sweet Annie!
This is a previous narrative I wrote about my sweet beagle friend, Annie. It appeared in the December issue of Dog Fancy. Thank you Ashley for encouraging me to send this writing in. Without your encouragement, it would have remained on my computer.