Lauren Siler is a seasoned foster mama, but until recently, her specialty has been kittens. A silver-faced black Lab mix named Annie changed all that when her owners surrendered her to Dallas Animal Services at the age of 19.
Siler was about to board a plane home to Dallas from Anchorage, Alaska, when she spotted Annie on an Instagram page featuring animals needing rescue at DAS.
“I saw her sweet little face sitting in her poor little kennel.”
A Sad, Surrendered Senior
Annie’s former family did not leave much information at the time of her surrender, stating only that she was 19 years old and had stopped walking and eating. But Siler was determined to help the sweet senior in any way she could. As soon as her plane landed in Dallas, she contacted her roommate and best friend, Lisa Flores, to ensure Annie was welcome in their home.
With Flores onboard (her answer was a resounding “We need her!”), Siler contacted Dallas Animal Services only to learn that Annie had already been taken in by The Pawerful Rescue. However, they had yet to place the pooch in a foster home, so Siler and Flores immediately volunteered.
While pet foster homes are designed to be temporary stops on the way to forever families, Annie’s situation is different. At her advanced age, she is considered a fospice case. Instead of being put up for adoption, she will live out the remainder of her days with Siler and Flores. And these ladies are determined to make those days as fun and memorable as possible!
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Annie’s Bucket List
The vet who initially examined Annie said she’d be lucky to live another month, yet the plucky pooch has been living every pup’s dream for four months and counting. Thanks to some help from their friends, Siler and Flores have built Annie an impressive Bucket List, and she’s already crossed off some pretty exciting items.
She took a road trip, had a professional photo shoot, celebrated a tropical Christmas in July (complete with tons of presents from Cuddly), and had her DNA tested – she’s mostly Lab with a bit of Pit.
Annie also did her best to determine who has the best burger patty in Texas — In-N-Out or Whataburger. She is still undecided but plans to render her final verdict after several more taste tests.
Siler and Flores threw Annie a “20th birthday” bash and asked her Instagram followers to help her celebrate Valentine’s Day in August by mailing her cards and letters. The cherished senior received Valentines from as far away as the Netherlands, Hungary, and Australia.
“Some of her Instagram reels have had like 4.2 million views,” Siler told ABC News. “We had to get a P.O. box for her fan mail.”
In addition to the written correspondence, Annie’s social media friends have sent her so many toys, treats, and gifts that Siler and Flores hauled an entire trunkful to the Dallas Animal Society to share the wealth.
Annie’s Living Legacy
No one knows how much time Annie has left, but Siler and Flores plan to continue her adventures for as long as she is up to it. As they prepare to celebrate Halloween, Siler has a message for all the dog lovers out there:
“If you can’t adopt, then foster. If you can’t foster, then donate. And if you can’t donate, volunteer.”
Some see taking in a 19-year-old dog as a recipe for heartache. While Annie’s death will definitely bring grief to the best friends who have given her their hearts, it will also bring a priceless sense of fulfillment.
“Until she’s ready to go, we’re going to let her keep living life,” Siler said. “It would have broken my heart more for her to have her last day in the shelter.”
Siler and Flores are also fostering another senior sweetie named Tippy, who is working on her own Bucket List. Follow Siler on Instagram for adorable updates on both pups!