Honoring Annie

By: Lynne Hart

Some of you might be familiar with my dog, Annie. She was quite a great dog and has her own Facebook page – Annie’s Canine Litter Patrol.

Annie and I would take long walks together. There were several things I had to gather together before our walks – leash, collar, cell phone, keys, treats, and two plastic bags. The first bag was for picking up litter we saw along the way. Annie would find it, and I would pick it up. She could have done it without me, but without opposable thumbs, she had a hard time handling the bag. Annie also never wanted to be without me. She was such a faithful companion.

The second bag was…well, we know what the second bag was for because no one wanted to step in it. Annie would agree that no dog’s “land mine” should be left behind for someone to find with their shoe.

KALB used Annie’s page to encourage pet owners to be responsible and to go the extra mile while out on walks. As long as we are out there walking our dogs, why not just bend over and pick up litter we see along the way? It’s not that much trouble, and I don’t know about yours, but my waistline could use the work. Other dogs and their owners were encouraged to become part of Annie’s Canine Litter Patrol by posting on her page.

Three weeks ago, I rushed Annie to the vet because she was acting very strangely, and I could see her heartbeat pumping in her chest. She was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia. I never thought I could remember that or spell it for that matter, but over the last three weeks, I have learned more than I’d like to know about it. Annie’s immune system went haywire and antibodies were attacking her blood platelets. I had never heard of this before, but I’ve learned that most vets have seen cases of it. Most dogs can be treated with steroids and other medications to reverse the problem and respond well. Others do not respond as well.

I am brokenhearted that Annie was one that did not respond well, and I had to say goodbye to my faithful companion on July 1 after just 6 years. She was sweet natured and loved everyone, especially when she was performing her repertoire of tricks to amuse her fans, dressing up in a toga for the Grease Festival, or donning her Santa suit for the holidays. Annie would want all the dogs out there with human companions to encourage the practice of picking up litter on their walks. It’s a simple act that makes a big impact.

I would encourage dog owners to be aware of changes in your dog’s behavior, lack of color or blood spots on mouth tissue, red spots on their belly, and/or bleeding from nose or gums for no apparent reason. These things are simple to explain away if you aren’t aware that these symptoms can indicate a more serious problem. I will forever wonder what might have happened if I’d been aware of this condition; so, I’m sharing with you.

Annie’s Canine Litter Patrol page on Facebook will continue to be active, and I encourage anyone who would like to honor Annie by working toward a cleaner Limestone County, to post comments and photos of you and your dogs in action. Rest in peace, Annie Belle. Good dog.
By: Lynne Hart
Executive Coordinator - Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful

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