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Port Orange Observer Monday, Mar. 11, 2019 3 years ago

How a rescue dog became our unofficial emotional support dog

Annie was adopted from Sophie's Circle in Port Orange. Here's how she also rescued us.
by: Tanya Russo Staff Writer

It is impossible to talk about Annie without talking about Cody and Emo, otherwise known as “The Boys.” They were the old men of the house and died before we moved to Port Orange. After their deaths, neither my husband or myself wanted another dog in our life. We did not want to face that heartbreak ever again.

Two years later, however, after we had moved to our permanent home in Florida, I began to think about how much fun it would be to have another dog. My daughter was with us and struggling with personal problems. I thought having a dog could do a lot to help her emotionally.

The real truth is that I had had dogs all my life, and I missed not having one. Our house was small, but the yard was big. It seemed unfair not to have a bouncing beast running around it.

I began surfing the internet for dogs. I was looking for a small, fuzzy, cuddly lap dog. I found a couple that fit the bill and contacted the rescue group associated with that dog. None of them responded to my inquiries. Then I saw Riley.

Not small or fuzzy, Riley was a medium-sized black dog with white markings on her chest and on the tip of her paws. She could have been an Emo clone. She was a Lab/pointer mix, 14 weeks old, with Sophie’s Circle Rescue group. I emailed them to see if she was still available. They emailed me back! They were the only rescue group who answered my emails or phone calls.

Riley and her sister came from a kill shelter in Georgia, where they were three hours away from being euthanized, we were told. They were in a foster home in Port Orange, and I began the adoption process.

I filled out the adoption form online. It was detailed and asked many questions about our household, how many people were in it, their ages, what we were looking for in a dog, etc. There were several questions about the size and set up of our house and how experienced we were with dogs.

I took several pictures of the house, especially of the backyard. Cost of the adoption was $200, which included the care Riley received prior to living with us, all vaccinations, and spay and neutering through the Halifax Humane Society’s clinic.

My daughter, husband, and I went to visit Riley. Of course, that was it. We were smitten by this plucky little girl who pranced into our hearts. We brought her home that day. Riley became Annie within the week.

It is impossible to put into words how much joy Annie has brought to our house. She is the gentlest, most petite dog we have ever had. She is also the most vocal. She does not hesitate to let you know what she thinks and how she feels. The first few months she was with us, she had nightmares. She would be sound asleep, then suddenly start howling and crying. We would get up and soothe her until she curled up again. The longer she has been with us, the less frequent the nightmares have become.

Annie tends to shy away when we try to put a harness put over her head. Once the device is on, she is fine, but it makes me wonder what happened to her in her past to make her head shy.

Annie is an unofficial emotional support dog. Officially, she is far too wiggly and wild.  When life gets tough, however, Annie is always there to cuddle and lick away the tears. She brings fun to balance sadness and worry.

Yes, we adopted a rescue dog. It turned out that she rescued us right back.




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