Thirteen years ago, two little corgis were born to a not so nice human on a farm near the stables where Eliza was taking horseback riding lessons. To make a long story short - sisters, Annie and Molly, came to live here at The Farm to join our family. They've been here through a lot of adventures and upheavals, always steadfast in their unconditional love and their instinctual urge to herd cows, dogs, turkeys, deer, or any other animals they encountered in the yard or fields.
In the past year, I watched age catch up with them. Molly passed away last fall, leaving Annie to hold down the fort, so to speak, with Rufus, the silly bassett hound. Much to our surprise, Rufus followed Molly to the world of spirit within weeks of her passing, and Annie became
the sole doggie at The Farm, a minority of one canine among seven felines. One of her great pleasures was to sneak on the back porch to munch their food when the cats weren't looking...There is no dog food that rivals the strong taste of what the cats get to eat.
Of the two sisters, Annie was always the most sensitive. Her feelings showed on her face as clearly as if she were human....big smiles...sad eyes at times....intolerance of Rufus's silly escapades....aggression when it came to her place as alpha dog around feeding time.
Infinitely patient, Annie would let children roll all over her and sleep with their head on her back. As a little girl, Eliza spent hours in her pretend world as an animal trainer, and with that look of "oh no, here we go again," Annie would jump the lower limbs of the grape vines over and over and over as Eliza instructed.
What will remain most vividly in my mind about Annie is the image of her short, stubby tail that whirled into motion every time she said hello. Annie literally wagged her entire butt. When she would hear me say, "How's my sweet Annie Bananny," the chubby little stub took off and a huge smile burst across her face - 100% of the time!
It was obvious over the winter that Annie was slowing down, sleeping a lot, feeling the arthritis in her hips more and more, and whimpering a bit in her sleep. Two weeks ago, we noticed she seemed to have some seizure-like trembling spells, and in the last week, I knew something drastic was happening in her body.
A trip to the vet last Tuesday confirmed she was seriously ill, and by Thursday, I knew the time had come for her to join her beloved Molly and Rufus in the world of spirit. With Joe's hands on her tummy, I held her close and talked to her as she let go of her last exhale. Tom was there as well, supporting me along the way.
Shortly thereafter, Tom, Joe, and I lay Annie to rest in the side yard under the chestnut tree beside Molly. I've cried enough tears to water The Farm....huge tears of sadness as we closed the page of another chapter of life and love in Farm history and huge tears of gratitude and LOVE for one of the best friends I've ever had.
Perhaps it sounds a bit juvenile, but an image of great consolation for me is of Molly, Rufus, and Annie chasing everything from butterflies to birds in the fields of the spirit world with my dad and grandmother watching them from a distance. Old Gunner and Tornado amble by, plop down beside Daddy and shake their heads as the corgis and Rufus take to the woods after a rabbit. Daddy pulls out his crow call, and he and Grandma look to the sky as it fills with crows. A grouse drums in the woods in the distance , and up in the side yard, my friend, Pepín, feeds the goldfinches from his hands....
I learned a lot about love this week, and I thank Annie for being the teacher in those lessons.