See the last two days’ posts for the beginning of Annie’s Story, which concludes today.

Annie’s Story: Part 3

Several weeks passed, during which time we started our move to the farm that we had recently purchased in a nearby town. All of our free time was spent travelling between the old and new houses to renovate and clean. Memories of the two itinerant dogs were beginning to fade, and I no longer expected to see them around every corner.

One Saturday morning, I began to pull away from the rental house with a load of boxes and furniture. I stopped the van at the base of the driveway and glanced to the left to check for traffic. In the distance, I could just make out a small, black dog trotting purposefully down the side of the road. Not wanting to get my hopes up, I slowly got out of the van for a closer look. As she got nearer, the dog picked up speed and ran to a stop in front of me. Jumping up, she put her front feet on my thighs and gave me a look as if to say, "I choose you." This amazing little dog had somehow made her way back to us for the third time, and I was elated! But where was her golden retriever friend? The two had been through so much together I couldn’t imagine that anything but the worst of circumstances would have separated them.

Although Annie’s friend never did return to our home, we did eventually learn of his fate.

About a month later, I walked into exam room 1 at the clinic, expecting nothing but a typical new client with a new pet, in for a wellness appointment. I knelt down to pet the high-spirited golden retriever and asked his owner, "So how’d this beautiful boy come into your life?"

"It’s a funny thing, doc," she said. "He showed up at our house a couple of times but always left within a day or two. He was hanging around with another dog, but when he came back to stay this last time he was alone."

I laughed as I finally recognized Annie’s old friend. The dog, now named Bandit, grinned at me, and I said to his new owner, "Let me guess, the other dog was about so high, shaggy, and black with a gray muzzle." Astonished, she asked, "How could you possibly know that?" We compared our stories and were both thrilled that in the end, these two nomads had each found themselves a loving and permanent home.

This is the true story of how our "Little Orphan Annie" came to spend the last eight years of her life with us. She was always an adventurer, but never again left home in search of greener pastures.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: On the lookout by Krister / via Flickr