Annie’s lasting legacy

She was the dog of a lifetime. A perfect fit, coming at the perfect time. Imperial and needy, ruling the household, enriching our lives.

Annie Fanny was the dachshund model for Rosie Posey in Dreamers of the Day. She was not a speaking character precisely — it’s a political romance about the making of the modern Middle East — but she was a supporting actress in the drama.

True story: I was going to name the dog in the novel after Annie, because “write what you know,” right? Publicist Brian McLendon advised me not to. When I asked why not, he said, “You’ve already got a U.K. publisher.” So? “Fanny doesn’t mean the same thing in British English.” What does it mean? “Vagina” was the answer. So, yeah. The fictional dog became Rosie Posey instead of Annie Fanny.

Another true story: I was with my mother when she died because Annie insisted.

Mom had survived a grueling five and a half years with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. By May of 2005, it was clear (to her family, if not to her) that her disease was going to kill her, and soon.

She lived in New Hampshire and I live in Ohio, but I was on tour for A Thread of Grace that spring. Every week, I’d fly around the country giving talks at bookstores; every weekend, I’d get back on a plane and fly east to see Mom. In early June, the tour was over. I packed Annie into the car and drove out to New Hampshire. I wanted my dog to be with me while I was with my mother.

The Portsmouth hospice encouraged friends and family to bring pets in. Annie was welcomed by everyone still capable of noticing her presence. She was cheery and funny, and made me go outside regularly — a literal breath of fresh air.

Finally, on June 19th, the day nurse and I made the decision. From now on, just keep Louise comfortable. Don’t let her surface into pain and confusion anymore.

I was exhausted in so many ways. I left the hospice at 5 in the afternoon. Got to Mom’s condo, picked at a supper, put on a ball game and collapsed on the couch with Annie. All I wanted to do was go to bed, but at about 11 PM, I got worried that the night staff might not have been told “just keep her comfortable.”

After dithering a while, I whispered to the dog next to me, “What do you think, Annie Fanny? Should we take a ride?”

She woke up from a sound sleep, flew off the couch, and raced down the hall to the door where she did the traditional “YES PLEASE GO FOR A RIDE!” spin. So I dragged my ass off the sofa and drove back to the hospice facility.

Turned out that the night nurse had gotten the word. She must have known how close the end was. She rolled in a comfy chair so Annie and I could sit together, watching my mother’s breathing become deeper and more irregular. Annie didn’t fall asleep in my lap. She sat and watched Mom with me, and occasionally looked up, providing me with a quick kiss.

At about 1:30 in the morning, the last breath arrived. Mom had her hands wrapped around a soft toy dog given to her by her best friend, Janie. I had my hands around Annie.

Eleven years later, Annie’s own passing was gentle and quiet. Kidney failure is not a bad way to go really, but we did help her skip those final difficult days. I don’t believe she had more than a few more weeks to live if we’d let her go naturally. I only wish that similar kindness was available for humans.

Now Annie has a new legacy. We applied to the same rescue group that placed her with us so long ago: Dachshund Rescue of Ohio. Kathie Winter recognized our names and telephoned us.

She initially turned down our request for a bonded pair of 2-year-olds. She’s had trouble recently with people bringing dogs back to her and has learned to trust her gut about what will make a good placement. She was looking for a “young active family” with kids who’d play with those two dogs.

That said, she had two others she especially wanted us to meet. Both about three and a half. Both were quieter and less active than the pair we were initially interested in.

It’s been a week since we took Mickey and Sam home with us from the “Wild Wiener Ranch” near Cincinnati. Kathie nailed it. Mickey is a beautiful, young, healthy, black and tan with a gorgeous dapple. Mick fixed on me from the start. Sammy chose my husband, Don, who promptly fell in love with the little brown hurt one. Sam is a veterinary train wreck but the sweetest little guy, so appreciative of any attention and kindness.

They’ve become best friends alreadytheboys. Thanks, Annie.









17 thoughts on “Annie’s lasting legacy”

  1. Oh! How precious! So happy you waited and were paired with these two. You and Don are most definitely beloved.

  2. Guess they don’t call it a “fanny pack” in the U.K., either.

    Annie Fanny was a prize. Welcome to Mickey and Sam.

  3. It’s always hard losing a pet especially a cute, smart dog. But I was happy to read that you have 2 more little guys at home. We have had rescues forever it seems. I really believe they are more appreciative. They are our devoted friends whose unconditional love and trust never waivers.

  4. Thank you for the further insight into Annie’s life and times. I just started “Dreamers of the Day” last night and was struck by how similar the times were to our present brouhaha. And now to read this update! Glad to hear Mickey and Sam are properly taking charge of your lives. 🙂 🙂

  5. Oh Mary. You can’t imagine how much I’ve thought about you and Annie. You even drew her picture when you signed my copy of ” Dreamers of the Day.” Thanks for sharing your beautiful dog family with us.

  6. You have one Mom. You have many dogs. We owe it to homeless dogs to offer our hearts over and over again. I can no longer do this, but I frequent a dog-rich park to greet the pups and have them sit on my feet and lean against my legs while I talk to their parents about, well, dogs mostly. Dogs know I need them.

  7. I, too, am a dog lover. Our chocolate lab, Bailey died in May 2015 just as we were preparing to move to Bloomington, IN. It took a year before we were ready for another dog. I never thought I would get a dog as great as Bailey but Harley has turned out be terrific. She is a mini goldendoodle. She is full of love and very funny. I know that you will love having Mickey and Sam in your life.

  8. Oh Mary…I’m so sorry for your loss…

    I have an Annie story as well…I do believe it’s what brought us together. Let’s see if we remember it the same way.

    You and I were having a fairly intense discussion about the nature of the human spirit. Remember how I first wrote to you after finishing a Thread of Grace? Much to my surprise and delight, you replied! Then began the discussion: highly articulate, thoughtful, and (dare I say it?) spiritual.

    And then we both discovered we each had dogs.

    An in depth analysis of the human spirit quickly changed to what doggy clothes Annie was going to wear on tour. I was sending you pictures of Harley Davidson leather doggy jackets and you were sending me floral pinafores.

    God Speed Annie.

  9. I’m sorry to hear your loss! She is such a precious dog. My kids would miss her too but I know they would say that Annie must be playing with Hachi and Kuro (our departed dogs) at the heaven house (yep, that’s what they call!)

    I’m so glad that you have now new companies! One of them looks alike my dog Bella too.

  10. I put my sweet Cassie down this past Sunday. You may remember her from Tombstone…

    The gifts that they give us are a wonder. The loss eats at your heart and soul. Glad that you have new pups…

  11. OH, how funny. Yes, Annie was more of a princess than a biker girl! How great to hear from you again, Kristi! I looked you up on Facebook and it appears you’ve had some big changes in your life. Email me!

  12. Just found your blog Mary, have been reading your books since finding The Sparrow years and years ago. I had theorized that you must have had a wonderful dachshund companion of your own because Rosey Posey was so perfect! and now after Annie, you have Mickey and Sam. Lucky them and lucky you! Wishing you and yours all the best, Fern

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