Love Your Pet: ‘First one’s named Sweet Anne Marie and she’s my heart’s delight’

Editor’s note: Everyone who loves a pet knows the warmth the animal brings to their lives. This week we’re starting a series called “Love That Pet,” and asking readers to send in stories and photos. Tell us how you acquired your pet – whether it’s a dog, cat, parrot, gerbil, horse, snake, whatever – and why you love it. Send your story and print photos or jpegs to Editor Erin Place at eplace@cabinet.com or to The Cabinet Press, 54 School St., Milford, NH 03055.

I remember the day Anne Marie came home.

There wasn’t anything special about that day, a hazy August morning two weeks after my birthday. My boyfriend, Drew, and I were back living in New York, splitting time between our parents’ houses. He told me he was going to make me breakfast. “Thanks babe,” I muttered as I rolled over to go back to sleep. Little did I know that breakfast that day would include a side of puppy surprise.

A short while later, he returned with a McDonald’s bag and something else in tow. I started to grumble because he said, “make breakfast,” not “pick up nasty fast food for breakfast,” but then I noticed his mom behind him. She never came into his room. In her arms, without my glasses and me being what I call “blind as a bat,” I saw what looked like a white furry something.

“Is that a puppy?” I exclaimed. Well yes and no.

Drew brought her to me on the bed and I got so excited, I went to pet her head and she immediately cowered away. “Oh no, what did I do?” I thought.

He explained that “Liz” was a rescue, having been saved from a puppy mill by Paws Across Oswego County, one of our local animal rescue and adoption organizations. She had to be shaved down almost to the skin because her fur was all matted and nothing could be done with it. The rescuers told Drew that they thought she was a Shih Tzu between 12 and 18 months old and she had spent the majority of her life in a cage. She was so cramped in that tiny little cage, she could only move one way, clockwise, causing her to spin when stressed. My heart broke for her but it also filled with joy knowing that Drew and I could give her a loving home.

And of course, “Liz” wouldn’t do for our new dog’s name. Drew chose Anne Marie after one of his favorite Grateful Dead songs, “Friend of the Devil.” The line goes, “The first one’s named Sweet Anne Marie and she’s my heart’s delight.” How true it rang and still rings.

The first couple of months were slow and a bit rough, but Anne Marie learned right away that Drew and I were her “people.” She almost died the first time she went to the groomer’s since her adoption because of her spinning and the tether in the tub had to be cut from her neck. She’s still scared of loud noises to this day, mostly clapping and fireworks, but her spinning slowly subsided. Both of our parents would comment about how much progress Anne Marie had made. Now, she mostly spins for joy instead of fear.

Anne Marie and I had an instant connection right after she came home to us. And that connection grew, and continues to grow, as time goes on. As things became more stressful at my job in New York, I was so glad I had Anne Marie to come home to. Just being around her and playing with her instantly put me in a good mood. “Nothing loves you like a dog does,” my mom always says. Wise words indeed.

Anne Marie is also great at being what Drew and I refer to as a “nurse pup.” I was extremely sick last winter and had to take a short-term disability from work. Anne Marie would always be by my side, curling up near my head or on my lap, knowing her mom didn’t feel well. I took comfort in knowing that she was in tune with my feelings and felt empathy for me. Some might argue dogs can’t feel that, wrong I say.

So it was just the three of us and our little family moved to New Hampshire when I got the job at The Telegraph. Speaking of The Telegraph, which is our sister paper, its Pawsitively Pet Expo is next weekend in Nashua. It’s scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at Daniel Webster College off Pine Hill Road.

According to Telegraph Events Manager Jon Nevins, “Attendees are invited to come and celebrate all things with four legs, fins, wings and whiskers. Pets from all over New Hampshire will bring their owners to the Expo to visit with pet-related vendors and enjoy demonstrations, giveaways and prizes. The Humane Society (of Greater Nashua) will also have pets available for adoption. The Nashua humane society is the charity partner for this event.”

As I was saying, it was just our little family of three until a mishap while we were away at a music festival and our friend’s boxer ended up pregnant and having a litter of seven. Then came home a large bundle of fawn-colored fur named Samson. But that’s a dog’s tail for another day.