You could have bet your bottom dollar that Annie would find a loving home…
It’s no longer the hard knock life for Annie, who was abandoned in a cardboard box and orphaned at just a few days old.
The tiny Staffordshire bull terrier cross puppy was just 10 days old when she and her siblings were handed over to us by a member of the public who said the dogs’ mother had died. But because the littermates were very poorly and too young to be away from their mum, six of the pups passed away and left little orphan Annie all alone.
Amanda Marrington, Welfare Officer at our Victoria animal hospital in central London, said: “It’s a sad story, but one we see here at Blue Cross all too often – litters of puppies and kittens being abandoned because their owners aren’t getting their pets neutered.”
Ideally, puppies should stay with their mother until they are properly weaned at around eight weeks old. Annie was cared for around the clock by our veterinary nurses, who fed her every few hours, day and night. She then went to live with an experienced foster carer until she was old enough to be rehomed.
Home sweet home
Now 10 months old, Annie is a happy and energetic girl who has fallen in love with the Huggins family – and they are besotted with her.
The family began their search for a new dog after their French Bulldog, George, sadly died at just over a year old.
Annie’s new owner, Claire Huggins, says: “We got him from a website and he was only very young before he started to fit and we discovered he was epileptic. He had one fit, then two fits then three fits, and we had to have him put to sleep unfortunately.”
It was a really tough time for the family, and a photo of George takes pride of place in the living room. He will never be forgotten.
Seeing a TV advert for a rehoming charity prompted Claire to visit animal welfare websites to see if she could give an unwanted pet a loving home. When Claire stumbled across Annie’s photo on the Blue Cross website, she had a feeling she could be the one but knew the cute pup would be popular.
Claire’s 10-year-old daughter, Sophie, explains: “Mum showed me a picture on Annie on the internet. We both really liked her but Mum warned me not to be disappointed if we didn’t get her because loads of people wanted her.”
Claire and her husband Mark weren’t put off by Annie’s breed, despite the negative press they often receive, because Claire had grown up with staffies and knew they could make brilliant family dogs.
Claire says: “They’re very loyal dogs and they’re good with kids. My brother was five and I was eight when we got our first one and it was nice to just go and sit with them when you’ve got troubles. They’re very ‘people’ dogs.
“She’s settled in really well. She follows Sophie around everywhere; everywhere she goes. She likes cuddling up with you on the sofa.
“My other daughter, Chloe, is four but she was fine with her. I would never leave both of them in the same room together because at the end of the day Annie is a dog and Chloe is a child.”
While many people have stopped the family while out on dog walks to say how lovely Annie is, some people haven’t been so kind.
Sophie says: “One lady just looked at Annie and turned her nose up at her and walked away.”
Claire adds: “Yes, you do get some people who don’t like the breed, which is a shame.”
Because Annie was hand-reared by the Blue Cross team she has an even deeper love of people, and Claire says she never wants to be apart from the family.
“Because she’s been brought up with a foster mother, she likes to be close to you constantly. She doesn’t like to go into the garden on her own, especially when it’s dark.
“She’s very nosey and she likes nicking washing, particularly socks. She doesn’t chew them, she just stays with them. You find them all on her sofa.”
Annie is a soppy thing who loves to play ball on walks and chew toys on her very own sofa, but most of all she loves cuddling up on the sofa with her much loved family and watching football.
The family is taking her to training classes where she loves to meet other dogs and as well as all the basics, she has learned that the sausages keep on coming if she’s a good girl.
Despite a very sad start to life, the sun has most definitely come out for little orphan Annie and will keep shining for many years to come.