If you are a dog person, fair warning: This joyful, life-affirming story might make you cry.
A little over a year ago while sitting in an airport in Alaska, Lauren Siler learned about about a dog who’d been surrendered to an animal rescue at the age of 19. After getting home to Dallas, Texas, she told her roommate and best friend, Lisa Flores — and Flores said, “Let’s get her.”
“I hated that for this old black lab lookin dog,” Siler wrote on Instagram at the handle @dallasanimalfoster. “Her family that had loved her for 19 years was going to let someone else surround her in those last moments, someone she had never met. I couldn’t stop thinking about her the entire flight home. I had a pit in my stomach, I was broken hearted, I loved her already.”
So Siler and Flores decided to foster Annie, and they weren’t deterred when workers at The Pawerful Rescue told them that Annie only had about a month to live. Instead, they made a plan to pamper her. And as they did, they created a bucket list of experiences for Annie and posted about it on social media.
“Annie is about to have the best month of her 19 years,” Siler posted in June 2022. “She will know love, she will be treated like a princess, and get lots of snuggles, ice cream, and hamburgers. When her time comes and she tells us she is done, she won’t be alone at a shelter.”
The sweet senior dog quickly gained fans, as people reached out to help. They sent cards and presents and wanted to meet her. Here’s a post Siler uploaded to Facebook with a number of pictures of Annie, including one in which she’s surrounded by valentines people sent to her.
As denoted in the post above, Annie experienced plenty of amazing things in the following three months. She had a 20th birthday party, celebrated Christmas in July and had a spa day. She created some paintings, went swimming, enjoyed picnics, wore costumes and enjoyed stroller rides.
She also did some good: Annie helped collect donations so that every dog in the shelter could get a long-lasting chew toy, handed out treats to neighborhood pups and successfully inspired many others to rescue senior animals.
In a further effort to raise awareness about Annie (and the value of adoptable senior dogs), Siler and Flores organized a campaign for Annie to “see” all 50 states, asking people to take along a photo of Annie and include her in their pictures while traveling.
Annie made it to all 50 states and several international destinations, and Siler posted the joyful Reel of Annie traveling around the country.
After outliving her estimated “time left” by more than a year, Annie passed away last week at the age of 20, right as her foster parents signed the official adoption papers.
“So much of who I am today, is because of Annie,” Siler wrote in a memorial Instagram post last week. “I learned so much from her…That life is worth living! Adventure and good days can come when you least expect it! Being brave and saying ‘yes’ is almost always worth it! But maybe most importantly… that we live in a world with GOOD people!”