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Everyday I tell Annie she’s the most loved little dog in the world, and I would do anything to keep her well and safe, and as it turns out… That includes canceling two-weeks in England. Today I should be in the English countryside, strolling Prince Charles’s garden, visiting a large antique fair and the private estate of the producer of Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, not to mention spending five days in London, catching up with friends. 

But three hours before my plane left, I decided Annie needed me more than I needed to visit England.

Late the night before I was to leave, Annie swallowed a wooden toothpick. The kind you pickup at a restaurant that’s packaged in cellophane. Earlier in the day I’d cleaned out my purse and left a couple of toothpicks on my desk, and while I was packing, I heard the unmistakable crinkling sound of cellophane. I raced into my office, reached my hand into Annie’s mouth and pulled out a tiny piece of cellophane and the small ragged end of a toothpick. Sixty seconds later we were on our way to the emergency room.

It took them five hours before they did an endoscopy… Grrrr…. and by then, the toothpick had moved further down into her abdomen, and they couldn’t see it. The doctor said the next 24 to 48 hours would be critical to make sure the toothpick passed and didn’t puncture her intestines.

Since my flight wasn’t until 6:30pm, I continued to pack and get dressed while I watched her. Poor Annie… She was slow and quiet, probably from the anesthesia and the ordeal of the endoscopy, but she stayed on my bed—all day—with her head down. Not at all like her. At 3 o’clock, I decided to cancel my trip to London. Annie is the only family I have, and I couldn’t leave her well-being in anyone’s hands but mine. No one knows the subtleties of her expressions like I do, or how to interpret them and if she’s having a problem. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to her while I was gone.

Today Annie’s feeling better, and she’s passed a big piece of the toothpick, but now I’m the one who’s been in bed for three days.

I have a terrible cold and a cough that’s gone down into my lungs, and I’ve had a fever for two days. 

I’ve started the process of filing a claim on my travel insurance policy, only to discover “pets” aren’t a good reason to cancel your trip. I’m not talking about a turtle or a goldfish. It’s my Annie girl, the puppy with the big brown eyes I’ve raised since she was eight-weeks-old. My girlfriend. My family. 

Now I’m the one in bed while Annie lays next to me. She knows I don’t feel good because she’s so soft and gentle with me, curling up in the crook of my arm, occasionally leaning her head back to check on me. It’s what friends do. 

PS: I’ve entered a photo of Annie and Lulu in the Garden & Gun photo contest. They were eight weeks old and so adorable. I think it’s an appropriate photo because they each have a handle on my garden shears. Brenda’s little helpers. If you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate it if you’d click on this link and vote for their photo! Thank you, sweet friends.

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  1. Hi Brenda, I’m so glad that Annie survived, I know personally just how much these little ones mean to us. My Belle is a small yorkie and I adore her. Hope you are feeling better by now. Take care and get all the rest you need.

  2. You would have been sick in England.

    Amazingly, before finishing your story, I knew Annie was protecting you from something. Boom, you got sick.

    Hope you’re better. Hope Annie is 100%.

    Never regret the trip. Love tended you & Annie.

    Garden & Be Well, Tara

    • Awe, Tara! “Love tended you and Annie!” Yes, it did. We’ve taken care of one another this week. One of the many reasons I’ve looked forward to this trip is 7 or 8 hours on a plane. Uninterrupted time to read a good book. For almost three days I’ve been in bed and barely felt like breathing. Even my hair hurt! We’re doing much better, today. Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  3. You are my kind of person!
    I would’ve cancelled that trip in a nano-second………Having spent many hours at the emergency vet due to ingestion of ‘foreign bodies’ or copious amounts of dark chocolate , I can relate! Hope you’re on the mend soon and can resume your plans…..

    • Hi Cherrie, Sorry you know all about emergency room visits for your fur family. Yes, dark chocolate is the worst for dogs! Been there, too! When the ER vets were FINALLY going to start on Annie’s endoscopy, I saw the lead vet in the hall and said, “No pressure here, but she’s my only family. I need you to take great care of her. I’m supposed to go to London today (by then it was 3am), but I can’t go unless you can retrieve the toothpick.” He looked at me… after just telling me the next 24-48 hours could be critical… and said, “Why would you cancel your trip?” I’m not sure he’s who I want treating Annie! xoxox, Brenda

  4. So thankful your Annie(your family your friend) is doing well. Your sacrifice is pure unconditional LOVE❣️ Not that it matters but I applaud your decision

  5. Brenda, you are a woman after my own heart. Since we got a “high maintenance” dog from the shelter 6 years ago (he had been in 3 before we got him), it has totally limited our travel except by car , as we take him everywhere due to his separation anxiety. But he is worth the sacrifice. Dogs brings another dimension to our lives and smart, compassionate people know this and step up when they need us. There will always be London! Love and blessings to you and your personal “nurse”. ~

  6. Glad Annie is better and isn’t it something that she saved you being sick while traveling. Your England plans sounded wonderful and I hope you can make that trip in future. Best of luck with the insurance and hope you get your fare returned. I voted for your picture and hope the magazine selects it. Hope you feel better soon! Take care!

  7. I feel your dilemma down to a quiver. My biggest worry in going away is leaving my littles. And that includes all my grandkids, the furry ones as well. I’m fortunate in that my daughter and her family move in when I’m gone. And our Pandy loves them equally. It’s a good solution. Except when they plan to go with us.
    I don’t know what to do!

    • You’re like me, Diane. We always worry about every member of our family when we’re not home. It depends on how long I’m away as to where Annie stays. She stays with her “trainer” who turned her into a little lady when I’m gone more than a few days. He always sends me videos so I like that! Thanks so much!! xoxox, Brenda

  8. I would do what you did, Brenda in a heartbeat. They ARE our family!! Glad the toothpick piece passed safely. It was Providence perhaps that she ate it as she prevented you from being so terribly ill on your trip. And that would have been a tragedy based on what you had planned. England will always be there….another time ~ another trip. So happy Annie is taking such good care of you!! Get well soon my friend. Oh!! I’ve already voted for your girls ~ Good Luck!!

    • Laureen, Thank you, dear sweet friend! Yes… I totally believe one way or another, providence was going to see to it that I didn’t go to London. It just wasn’t meant to be, and I’m okay with that, and Annie and I will be fine. Thanks for voting!! xoxox, Brenda

  9. You’re a good mama! I love my fur babies and they are our family! Hope you feel better soon and London will be waiting for you!

  10. Our pups come first! How could you leave them, no matter how much you wanted the vacation? Plus, it turned out you might have been in another country with a bad cold! Not fun! The world spins in mysterious ways and your pup knew you needed to stay home. 😉

    • Hello my dog loving friend! It wasn’t a hard choice to make. Annie came first. And yes… I’ve been really sick the last three days, with a 101 degree fever… I ached all over. Even my hair hurt! LOL! Not really, but you get the picture. I’m so glad I’m home with my Annie girl. xoxox, Brenda

  11. If only everyone took care of their pets the way you do Brenda. Your commitment to Annie is so refreshing, especially when we read so much about people treating pets like pieces of furniture. Loving your blog as alway!. Cynthia

    • Oh, thank you, Cynthia! Thank you for reading and enjoying my blog. This morning I posted a video on 1010ParkPlace’s Facebook page about a woman who spent the night, holding and cradling an abused dog before he died. The dog was a pit bull and had scabs and tumors and had lost most of his hair. His condition was shocking, and yet, this woman overlooked all of that so the dog wouldn’t die alone. It felt love and kindness for perhaps the only time in its life. I was a puddle on the floor… If only people could role reverse not only with animals but with one another. Too many times before we speak or act, “How do we want to be treated” should be foremost in our thoughts. xoxox, Brenda

  12. If you paid for your trip with a credit card, check with the CC company. Ours has automatic travel insurance and covers cancelled trips due to pet emergencies.

  13. You made the right decision Brenda for so many reasons! There will always be other trips to England but only one Annie. I feel your pain, I too have some kind of sinus/cold thing going on, my daughter had it last week. Oh well, this too shall pass for both of us. Hang in there and feel better soon

    • Thanks for understanding Deborah. I’m not at all upset about not going to England, but I’ve said so many prayers over Annie that have been answered. Interesting that you and your daughter have had a sinus/cold thing. I’ve wondered if that’s what I have? Did you have a fever? I’m also coughing up junk. I hope you’re feeling better. Actually I think Annie got the wrong end of the deal. I’d rather have the “croup” than have swallowed a tookqick. xoxox, Brenda

  14. No fever Brenda, just headache, bad sinus pressure down into my ears, slight sore throat from drainage. My daughter did have some coughing toward the end of it so far not for me. it did take her about five days to get over it, mine just started yesterday. I think it is a “bug” going around and she works with the public so is exposed to everything. I haven’t been sickly in several years so I know I caught it from her I actually feel better standing up as opposed to sitting or laying down, oh well I am going to try to ignore it if I can. Poor Annie, at least she is going to be okay, she looks so sweet. Take care, sending you prayers for a speedy recovery and looking forward to your next post!

    • Deborah, I know what you mean about feeling better when you’re moving as opposed to sitting or laying down, but this is not one of those. I’m always good about washing my hands… actually really good about it, because there aren’t many antibiotics I can take, so I don’t want to casually ask for them. Based on the timing I think this is something I picked up at the animal ER… and didn’t washing my hands and touched my nose or eyes… one of the easiest ways to transport germs. I’m sending you prayers for a speedy recovery as well, and every time I cough I will think of you and hope you’re feeling better. xoxox, Brenda

  15. Good choice, Brenda! Just FYI, Travel Guard from AIG insurance now offers travel policies that cover pet emergencies. It’s not cheap, but could be worth the expense in your situation.

    • Hi Anng, My policy was with Travel Guard. My travel agent purchased it for me, but she didn’t say anything about one that included pets… My bad for not purchasing it myself. I always make my own travel arrangements except when going to Europe and staying in lots of different places. Thanks for the info! xoxox, Brenda

  16. I love this photo and just voted for it and shared it on my facebook page, which will hopefully bring more votes. I hope the two of you are getting much better. Warm thoughts from Northern California. @sheilamerle1

  17. So thankful Annie is okay, and that you are on the mend. That was such a sweet thing you did in staying to care for her. Grateful it worked it’s way through safely. Hope you’re able to take that fabulous trip in the future! Sounds amazing! Rest well.

  18. Hi Brenda. You certainly did the right thing. We are your family. Although I am very far from you physically, I am here for you. Take care!

    • Oh, Wilma!! Thank you, sweet lady! You put a lump in my throat. I know there are people reading my blog, but if they don’t tell me, then I don’t know who they are, and I can’t develop a relationship with them. You make me feel loved and appreciated, and that’s how I feel about you. xoxox, Brenda

  19. I am a new reader of your blog. I live in DFW and I am semi retired. I work part time and hubby and I volunteer for a great Dog Rescue. We have 3 dogs plus fosters who come and go. I relate to your Annie predicament. My Lab is always looking for food and he pulled a large cookie sheet full of frozen chicken wings and goobled down every one of them. Somehow he managed to digest them in a 3 day period. After a quick visit to be xrayed, he was ok. No way I could have left town . Kudos to you for doing the right thing! Annie is a lucky pooch! God does work in mysterious ways!

    • I’m happy to meet you, Marcia! Thanks for introducing yourself leaving me a note. How do you foster? I think my heart would break in two, having to let some of them go and/or I’d want to keep more than I could handle or afford, plus I don’t have much of a yard for them. Your lab and the chicken wings must have scared you to death! Repeatedly I’ve thought Annie and Lulu… when she was with me… were in deep trouble with one incident or another, but thank you, God, they’ve always pulled through. God does work in mysterious ways, and He’s so good to us. I love that you’re a reader!! Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  20. The most amazing thing about life is that everything happens for a reason. Not to sound ‘Pollyanish,” but if we look back on our lives we can probably find a dozen or more of instances when after all was said and done it all worked out for the best. Hope you are feeling better. Give Annie a kiss from one of her fans.

    • Awe… You just gave me the biggest smile:) I will tell Annie she has a new fan. She’s a precious sweet girl. What would I do without her? I agree about things working out for the better when we have a chance to think about things and reflect. When I was in my late 30’s, I remember a friend told me I had too much Pollyanna in me. He said I viewed life as the glass half full too often and that kept me from knowing when I was in trouble. That may be true, but somehow it’s gotten me through life. Besides, I can’t imagine being the opposite… being negative about things all the time. Thank you BJ!! xoxox, Brenda

    • Slowly in recovery mode! Thanks Elizabeth. I need to stay off IG because I see how much fun Sandy and Bob are having in London…. The great news is Annie is alright. xoxox, Brenda

  21. Oh no! I’m so sorry! I completely understand though, even though I no longer have a dog, the love that is shared between a gal and her dog! Your Annie looks identical to my Jack that I lost years ago in a horrible accident. He was the best dog as I’m sure Annie is. I hope you both get back to feeling well very soon!

    • Rena, Losing a dog in a terrible accident is heartbreaking. I’m sorry. I never feel alone if Annie’s here, even if she’s sleeping, but if she’s on a walk with Nanny Bee, there’s a different feeling in the house. I love her so much. Thank you, Rena, for your well wishes. I appreciate them and you. xoxox, Brenda

  22. I am so glad your beautiful doggie is better! I don’t have pets. I did grow up with them and kinda wished I hadn’t because I am somewhat allergic, and my mom was a heavy smoker, we lived in a big, polluted city so I had that to deal with. They do help with life’s traumas though: the cuddling, the closeness, the non-judgmental-ness (well, animals can’t judge!). People used to do all that stuff before: cuddle together/hug, be close, listen and care without judgement (well, unless it was a real ‘biggie’) and just give some wise advice. I think as a society we need to get back to that (I give a hello or goodbye kiss on the cheek of my friends sometimes and I don’t care what people around me think!

    • I hug and kiss my friends hello and goodbye, and it’s a genuine expression of love. Like you, I wish more of us did that. I sometimes wonder if social media has brought us short-term gratification? That’s where we find “friends,” and exchange greetings, but something gets lost in the translation. Empathy and meaning. BTW, I’m allergic to cats, but I’ve always “acclimated” if you will to my own cats, and they didn’t bother my allergies. Loved your note. Thanks so much! xoxox, Brenda

  23. I appreciate and admire your devotion to your Annie girl. Hope you are feeling better as well. Will vote for your babies on Garden and Gun. Love that magazine.

  24. I would have done exactly as you have done. Annie is more important than a trip to the UK, especially when she is unwell. I hope you are feeling better too. Shocking about travel insurance not covering when a sick pet is the cause of a trip cancellation. Another small print notice??? Ugh! Good to know about the credit card insurance. I had no idea. Take care, Brenda and Annie.

    • Thank you, Susan! Annie and I are both well. I’m working on my next blog post, and Annie is sitting in the open door from my office to the courtyard, looking for Mr. Lizard. xoxox, Brenda

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