When Lauren Siler saw the sweet graying face of Annie, a nineteen-year-old black Lab mix, she couldn’t get the dog out of her mind. An animal lover in Dallas, Siler regularly fosters abandoned newborn kittens. “I honestly had no intention of ever fostering any other animals than the neonatal kittens,” Siler says, “until I saw Annie’s picture.”
When Siler and her best friend and roommate, Lisa Flores, contacted the Pawerful Rescue outside of Dallas, they were told Annie was likely in her last month or so of life. (The notes from her surrender said she had stopped eating and walking). Undeterred, the duo brought her home and set out to spoil her rotten.
That was almost five months ago. Ever since, Annie’s been living it up, enjoying loads of love and lots of naps while checking off a bucket list brimming with experiences and adventures—from wading in a kiddie pool to donning a Santa hat for Christmas in July to dressing up as an angel for Halloween.
Well documented on Instagram, Annie’s fun-filled days have brought joy to thousands of supporters near and far. (She’s chasing twenty thousand followers on Instagram and has a post office box for fan mail.) Annie’s a lucky dog; while many senior dogs are surrendered, few find new homes. We asked Siler for advice on the best ways to help other senior dogs in need.
What do you want people touched by Annie’s story to understand?
We had no idea until we started fostering Annie that this is not a rare thing. She is not the only old dog sitting in a shelter. I just happened with some sort of social media algorithm to see her picture that day.
What should people know about fostering animals?
When you find a good rescue, like we did with the Pawerful Rescue, all you are responsible for is the soft spot to land and lots of love. The financial responsibility for all medicine, food, vet appointments, etc. is covered by the rescue organization. The foster will get so, so much more from these animals than they can ever give them.
If they can’t foster, is there anything else Annie’s fans can do to help animals in need of a home?
My motto through this whole foster journey has been this: If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, donate. If you can’t donate, advocate. There is something every single person can do in animal rescue. Find a local rescue group or shelter and ask how you can help.
Does Annie need donations?
Annie’s Shelter Dog Treat Wish List consists of bones that will be taken to Dallas Animal Services, the shelter where Annie was originally surrendered. They have on average about 360 dogs in their facility every day. Annie and Tippy’s Wish List (Tippy is another senior dog the duo is also fostering) includes things that are generally needed or are going to be used for bucket list activities.
What’s something you especially love about Annie?
I love the way she “happy dances” before meals. I also have a love-hate relationship with how she has trained us that she needs a treat to come back inside and will plant her feet right outside the threshold until we offer her a treat.
What’s left on Annie’s bucket list?
Annie loved her hamburger tour so much that we are going to take Annie and Tippy on a chicken nugget tour and maybe even an ice cream cone tour. Her bucket list is infinite.