For years, a husky mix named Annie quietly watched the world go by, lying beneath a tree in front of an apartment complex in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles.
A neighborhood fixture, she seemed perfectly content to observe and greet as dog walkers, strollers and anyone else went by — and the neighborhood found her a reassuring presence as well.
When Annie died over the weekend — of anaphylactic shock, caused by a bee sting — neighbors started coming together in a vigil not unlike the one she kept.
It started with a few notes tacked to the tree and grew into a full blown memorial, complete with candles, flowers and sympathy cards.
Since her death Saturday, some visitors to Annie’s shady spot at corner of 4th Street and Cochran Avenue have stood there and cried, said her owner, Jack Zurla, who rescued Annie 12 years ago after finding her foraging for food near the corner of Washington Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
“I’ll remember Annie as a dog that was more human than dog,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “She had the capacity to understand people. She was a dog of compassion for everybody. She gave people comfort.”
“Annie was a staple in a lot of lives around here,” he added. “Annie was always ready to give someone some love.”
Other residents echoed those thoughts.
“She never ran off, never barked at anyone,” said actor Brian Savage, who lives nearby. “She was just a pillar of the neighborhood.”
“Annie was really a touchstone for all of us,” said Michael Moravek, also an actor. “It was nice to have her here. We might not know each other but we all knew Annie.”
“She was our neighborhood guardian. Even now, Annie is bringing us together,” he noted as he placed a snapshot he had taken of her on the shrine Tuesday.
Also leaving a hand-printed note was six-year-old Roman DiGiulio. With his mother at his side, he placed the note, written on a large red heart, on the tree. It read: “Have a good life in heaven, sweet doggie.”
(Photo: Jack Zurla stands in front of an impromptu memorial to his dog Annie; by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 19th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anaphylactic shock, animals, annie, apartment, bee, behavior, cochran avenue, community, complex, death, dog, dogs, fourth street, grief, husky, husky mix, jack zurla, los angeles, loss, memorial, mid-wilshire, mourning, neighborhood, neighbors, pets, relationships, sting, tree, tribute, vigil
The sun will come out tomorrow — at least it did for Macy.
Macy was a scruffy little mutt, picked up as a stray and taken to Pontotoc County Animal Welfare Society in Ada, Oklahoma — a facility that generally holds dogs for three days before “deciding their future.”
(Meaning, especially in times of shelter overcrowding, whether they are going to have one.)
Macy, though unadopted and unclaimed, managed to stay there for several months, but as time passed her chances were growing dimmer.
She caught a break when she was chosen for a prison dog program called New Leash on Life at the CCA-Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Okla. But it turned out to be a temporary reprieve.
“Unfortunately, despite being a model student, Macy was the only dog at the end of the program scheduled to return to a kill shelter instead of an adoptive home or no-kill rescue,” according to RockySpot Rescue in Newcastle.
Macy’s future was looking pretty bleak again when, after her time in the prison program, RockySpot rescue took her in. RockySpot put a photo of Macy on its website, in hopes of finding her a home.
Another three months had passed when her picture was spotted by Bill Berloni, who trains animals for Broadway shows.
Berloni flew in from New York to look at her, and he liked what he saw.
Macy will be performing on Broadway, playing the role of Sandy in the musical “Annie.”
The moral of the story? Every time an orphaned dog is “euthanized,” a potential happy ending bites the dust.
(Photo: RockySpot Rescue)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ada, animals, annie, bill berloni, broadway, dog, dogs, happy ending, homeless, macy, mutt, new leash on life, newcastle, oklahoma, orphan, orphaned, performing, pets, pontotoc county, prison, program, rescue, rocky spot rescue, rockyspot rescue, sandy, shelter, stray
You might think former Marylander Donna Rock would be at a disadvantage when it comes to dog obedience competitions — given as the dogs are required to follow non-verbal signals, and given Donna has no arms.
Yet Donna and her 8-year-old Doberman Pinscher, Annie, have won numerous obedience and agility titles, including the prestigious Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) and the crown jewel in agility, the Master Agility Championship (MACH).
Donna, who now lives in Lacombe, Louisiana, was born without arms. She originally purchased Annie to be her companion and to train for obedience competition, but the two developed such a bond that Annie became her service dog, assisting her with everyday activities.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Donna lost her home, belongings, and even her job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When she was temporarily reassigned to work in Washington, Annie went with her helping her in the subways, and on escalators.
Annie was a 2008 winner of an American Kennel Club Award for Canine Excellence (ACE), winning the exemplary companion dog category. The awards commemorate loyal, hard-working dogs that have made significant contributions to their community.
Annie is only the second Doberman pinscher in the nation to be named an American Kennel Club champion in both agility and obedience training.
Donna, over nine years of training the dog, created her own method of non-verbal signals, using her feet and legs, shoulder and head to communicate. While she can accomplish most things with her feet, from turning on faucets to feeding the dog, Annie helps her with the few things can’t do for herself.
Donna is shown working with Annie in the video above, from about five years ago. To see a newer video, check out this report from WWL-TV in Lousiana.
Annie is now retired from competition, and Donna is training a year and half old border collie named Roller, running him through the agility course, teaching him the same foot and leg commands, and showing him what his job will be.
“He’s got some awful big paws to fill,” Donna said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, agility, akc, american kennel club, annie, armless, award for canine excellence, championship, competitions, doberman, dog, dogs, donna rock, louisiana, non-verbal, obedience, roller, signals, trainer, training, video
The national touring company of “Annie” will present an evening of cabaret-style entertainment Monday night at Sonar to raise money for the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).
They will be performing favorites from some of the best musicals of all time.
Doors open at 7:30pm and the show is appropriate for all ages. There is a $15 cover charge and all proceeds will be donated to BARCS.
Sonar is at 407 E. Saratoga St. in downtown Baltimore. For more information, call 410-783-7888.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: annie, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, cabaret, cast, entertainment, event, fundraiser, musical, musicals, performance, sonar, touring company