Annie's Story

Published in About Animals

Sometime in early November 2018, a bitch was dumped by the roadside above Jelsa, not far from the Medical Services Clinic, with her five puppies.

Annie with daughter Mrka, 22nd July 2020. Annie with daughter Mrka, 22nd July 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The mother was a German Shepherd-type cross, although her ears were aligned horizontally rather than being up and vertical. As she was not micro-chipped, there was no telling where the family came from, who the previous owner was, or who dumped them.

Abandoned, Annie and her puppies when found, 10th November 2018.

The puppies were big enough to have been weaned, but having no other source of food, they were still feeding from their mother. Fortunately for them, on November 10th, some kind animal-loving ladies noticed the little family, and provided them with food and water. Tanja and Marija lived nearby, and quickly became concerned that the dogs might come to harm, whether on the road or through human malevolence. They contacted Eco Hvar for help in removing them to a place of safety. Hvar does not have an animal shelter, so needy animals have to be given sanctuary privately. It was a chilly evening on November 12th when the family arrived in Pitve. The puppies were rounded up and transported without any problem. The mother, probably fearing another dumping - or worse - ran off. Her two rescuers ran after her for quite some time before she became too tired to resist capture. She was very suspicious of her new surroundings when she arrived in Pitve, but quickly cheered up when a good meal was provided for her and the puppies, although the puppies, probably through force of habit, still had a feed from her after they had finished.

First days, still suckling. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

I immediately named the mother Annie, because for some reason she called to mind the feisty heroine of the 1950 musical film 'Annie get your gun'. It only took a couple of days for Annie and the puppies to realise that there was plenty enough for them all to eat on a regular basis, so Annie put a firm stop to their suckling, and the puppies didn't protest.

The puppies at play, 13th November 2018. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Annie and her puppies showed from the start that they were sweet-natured. The next couple of weeks passed, and the puppies grew in stature and confidence. Annie settled in, but still wore a worried look on her furrowed brow. It was obvious that she had been badly traumatized by the dumping.

Annie had a worried look at first. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

For several years, unwanted homeless dogs were being brought to me in Pitve: the numbers multiplied alarmingly, which led to Eco Hvar being founded in 2013. The situation did not change immediately. It was a true blessing when I discovered that the Animalis Centrum shelter, which is now in Kaštel Sućurac, was able to take them in and give them the chance of finding new homes. Eco Hvar started collaborating with Animalis Centrum in 2016. When the time seemed right to transfer the dogs to the animal shelter, the decision was taken to keep Annie in Pitve until she regained confidence in the world around her.

Their last day together, 21st November 2018. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

On 21st November 2018, the puppies went to Kaštela, where they were instant stars.

The puppies arrive at the Animalis Centrum Shelter. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

As with all newcomers, they were made very welcome by Dr. Filipović and her staff, so they adapted quickly to their new surroundings. They were slightly bemused by having to pose for photographs, but took it all in their stride. Unsurprisingly, their appeal was strong, and they found good homes in a fairly short time, some around Split, some in Germany.

The photo-call. Photos: Vivian Grisogono

Annie took the departure of her puppies in her stride, indeed she seemed relieved not to have to keep calling them to order when their play got too boisterous. She gradually gained confidence. On November 30th, Annie accepted a collar for the first time, a major step forward in her emotional rehabilitation.

Annie's new collar, 30th November 2018. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She learned very quickly that she was not allowed to go to the other dogs' bowls until they had finished their meal. There were many basic lessons for her to master, and she showed that she was intelligent and willing. The only thing she hated was the lead, and it took many months of patient practice to persuade her that lead-walking was not something to be feared.

Training sessions: kindness, rewards, firmness and repetition.

It was not difficult to see why being dumped had been such a shock to her. She had obviously had a stable home: she was fully house-trained, and never once made a mess indoors; and she knew how to open doors, even the tricky ones which opened inwards and had vertical handles.

Annie relaxed and playful. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The furrowed brow relaxed, bit by bit, and she started to enjoy playing, especially with a ball. Educational games were sent to her from England by kind animal-lovers Julie and Nick: she got to grips with those in a trice, instantly working out how to uncover the little compartments to get at the treats inside.

Puzzling for some dogs, child's play for Annie! Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She was also very sociable with other dogs, both male and female. Apart from the dogs who were sharing the premises in Pitve, there were frequent visitors, such as hunting dog Asi, the handsome Malibu, and the little scamp Špiro.

Annie sharing her bed with Asi, 1st January 2019. Photo: Vivian Grisogono
Annie with Malibu. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Špiro was abandoned in Jelsa when young in June 2019, and was brought to Pitve for safe keeping. He was due to go to the Animalis Centrum shelter shortly after that. However, a charmer by nature, he endeared himself to all around him, and quickly found himself a new home in Jelsa with Antica, two other dogs and a cat, all of whom became his best friends. On occasion he stayed in Pitve, where he and Annie played endlessly. Whenever Špiro showed an interest in sex, which he did at a disgracefully young age, Annie would toss him aside and tell him off. Until she didn't.

Špiro trying it on (unsuccessfully!), 30th July 2019. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

One fine day in October 2019, her hormones got the better of her, and she let Špiro have his wicked way when no-one was looking. Two shocks for the helpless humans, who were taken by surprise: one, that Annie was on heat, which hadn't been obvious, and two, that Špiro was capable of doing the deed, despite being very small compared to his paramour.

Annie feeding her new-born puppies. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

On January 5th 2020, Annie's new puppies were born, and she looked after them diligently. They were an interesting mix of colours and characters. One of the males, whom we named Jaran, was cream-coloured, just as two had been in the previous litter. Who knows where that came from? Of the others, three were mainly black like their father: two males (Bačva and Milo) and one female, Mrka (later renamed Tiha). Only one female, Žuja, had the brown colouring of her mother, but they all inherited her sweet-naturedness, intelligence and loyalty. 

Žuja, 17th June 2020. Bright, intelligent, fun, fairly dominant. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The puppies thrived. When they progressed to proper puppy food, it was a free-for-all at first, when they all shared from the same plate. Bačva led the charge, and made sure he got the lion's share. Consequently he grew the fastest, and this earned him his name (which means 'barrel').

Bačva, 17th June 2020. Gentle, easy-going, eager to please, but knows his own mind! Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Annie clearly enjoyed looking after her young through the early stages of their lives. She played with them, but could also be quite rough if they stepped out of line. She was particularly tough with Milo and Žuja, who were the most boisterous in the group.

Annie playing with Milo and Bačva, 6th March 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Meanwhile, we humans also played our part in teaching the young ones how to behave. Feeding in orderly fashion was a priority, not just for the sake of good manners, but also to ensure that all the puppies had a fair share of food. The first step was for each puppy to wear a collar, and to practise lead-walking. Jaran revealed that he was both fearful and determined, refusing point-blank to accept a collar. 

Extra rations: Jaran scrumping early figs, 12th April 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

At feeding time, the four obedient puppies, Bačva, Milo, Žuja and Mrka, were each tethered at a distance from each other, until they learned to respect each other's bowls, while Jaran was fed separately in the entrance to the compound. The system worked well, and they soon reached the stage when it was no longer necessary to tether them. Having used this system with groups of dogs over some years, we have found that they quickly appreciate the advantage of having their own bowl without competition.

Annie and four of the puppies, 16th April 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The puppies' basic training progressed, and Jaran joined in all the exercises, although he still refused to accept a collar, much less a lead. Over the next few months the puppies developed well, so the time came for them to move on. 

Milo, 17th June 2020. Alert, lively, playful, very intelligent, quite dominant. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The decision was taken that Annie would go with them, as had been planned when she first arrived. That was a bit of a wrench, but it was definitely in her best interests to have the chance of a good individual home, rather than living in the fluctuating community in Pitve. She is extremely loyal, intelligent and sensitive. She is also strong-willed, but eager to please, so she responds well to the gentle training methods based on communication and reward, without force or physical punishment. Annie, Žuja, Bačva and Milo were transferred in early August 2020 to the Animalis Centrum No-Kill animal shelter, which is under the aegis of the Beštie Animal Protective Foundation, Split (Zaklada Bestie, website: https://bestiesplit.hr/en/). Mrka and Jaran have remained on Hvar, at least for the time being.

Annie and her 'room-mate', 17th August 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

I visited the Animal Shelter on August 17th, and was delighted, but not surprised, to see that all 12 dogs which we had transferred there in recent weeks were looking healthy and well-cared for, with no hint of distress or discontent. Some of them were already promised good homes (which are checked on by the Shelter staff), while interest has been shown for most of the others. Some had been joining in the weekly swimming sessions which are organized at the local dog-friendly beach. They were all amply supplied with care, affection, exercise and pleasurable activities, besides the basic necessities of shelter, medical care, food and water.

Annie eagerly awaits her ideal home, 17th August 2020. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

At the time of writing, Annie has been sterilized, ready for her new life. She and her three puppies are probably going to Germany under the care of a German animal charity with long-standing ties to Animalis Centrum. We are confident that they will find homes to suit their needs. They have a good chance of a happy future, and we are glad we were able to contribute to giving them that chance.

© Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon), August 2020

UPDATE, 2023. We were delighted when Annie finally found the welcoming new home she deserved in Germany. It was a joyful relief after her long months in the Shelter, which caused some emotional tears of happiness in those who had been involved in her original rescue..

A SPECIAL PLEA: SUPPORT THE BESTIE FOUNDATION FOR ANIMAL PROTECTION

Twelve good reasons for helping the Bestie Foundation.

PLEASE DONATE!

Details for donations:

Via the bank:
Zaklada Bestie
Kukuljevićeva 1, 21000 Split
Otp banka
IBAN: HR9324070001100371229
SWIFT: OTPVHR2X

Paypal donate button: https://www.paypal.me/ZakladaBestie

You are here: Home about animals Annie's Story

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Climate campaigners complain of short-termism as country abandons target to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030

    Climate campaigners have accused Scottish ministers of being “inept” and “short-termist” after they scrapped Scotland’s target to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030.

    Màiri McAllan, the Scottish net zero secretary, confirmed her government had abandoned that target and would also drop legally binding annual targets on reducing carbon emissions, after damning criticism from a UK advisory committee.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientists estimate Vasuki indicus was up to 15m long, weighed a tonne and would have constricted its prey

    Fossil vertebrae unearthed in a mine in western India are the remains of one of the largest snakes that ever lived, a monster estimated at up to 15 metres in length – longer than a T rex.

    Scientists have recovered 27 vertebrae from the snake, including a few still in the same position as they would have been when the reptile was alive. They said the snake, which they named Vasuki indicus, would have looked like a large python and would not have been venomous.

    Continue reading...

  • In the first of a new series, we look at why people reject so much of the bountiful catches from our seas in favour of the same few species, mostly imported – and how to change that

    Perched on a quay in the Cornish port of Falmouth is Pysk fishmongers, where Giles and Sarah Gilbert started out with a dream to supply locally caught seafood to the town. Their catch comes mainly from small boats that deliver a glittering array of local fish: gleaming red mullets, iridescent mackerels, spotted dabs and bright white scallops, still snapping in their shells.

    Occasionally, they will get a treasured haul of local common prawns – stripy, smaller and sweeter than the frozen, imported varieties in UK supermarkets. So, when customers come into the shop asking for prawns, Giles Gilbert presents “these bouncing jack-in-a-boxes” with a flourish, hoping to tempt buyers with the fresh, live shellfish.

    Continue reading...

  • As nature falls silent in most cities around the world, New Zealand’s capital has been transformed by the sound of native birds returning to the dawn chorus

    Read more: No birdsong, no water in the creek, no beating wings: how a haven for nature fell silent

    Some time in the pre-dawn darkness, the commotion starts. From her bed, Danae Mossman hears the noise building: loud romantic liaisons, vomiting, squeals, the sound of bodies hitting the pool at full tilt.

    Things get particularly loud between midnight and 4am, Mossman says, “when they are getting busy”.

    A kororā, or little penguin, colony live under Danae Mossman’s house – and show no signs of wanting to leave

    Continue reading...

  • Bill would stop private investors, including hedge funds, farmers and municipalities, from profiting off water scarcity

    With private investors poised to profit from water scarcity in the west, US senator Elizabeth Warren and representative Ro Khanna are pursuing a bill to prohibit the trading of water as a commodity.

    The lawmakers will introduce the bill on Thursday afternoon, the Guardian has learned. “Water is not a commodity for the rich and powerful to profit off of,” said Warren, the progressive Democrat from Massachusetts. “Representative Khanna and I are standing up to protect water from Wall Street speculation and ensure one of our most essential resources isn’t auctioned off to the highest bidder.”

    Continue reading...

  • Cost of environmental damage will be six times higher than price of limiting global heating to 2C, study finds

    Average incomes will fall by almost a fifth within the next 26 years as a result of the climate crisis, according to a study that predicts the costs of damage will be six times higher than the price of limiting global heating to 2C.

    Rising temperatures, heavier rainfall and more frequent and intense extreme weather are projected to cause $38tn (£30tn) of destruction each year by mid-century, according to the research, which is the most comprehensive analysis of its type ever undertaken, and whose findings are published in the journal Nature.

    Continue reading...

  • In 2002, high explosives were laid in oil wells across 20 sq km of forest. The firm has gone but the pentolite remains, despite a court ruling, putting lives and the ecosystem at risk

    Living on the banks of the Bobonaza River, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Indigenous communities in Sarayaku have always lived in harmony with nature. The rainforest, says Patricia Gualinga, is a sacred, conscious being.

    So when an Argentinian company was allowed to place a huge amount of high explosive around the rainforest to prospect for oil, the local Kichwa people fought back and eventually took their case to an international court. More than a decade after winning their legal battle, however, the explosives remain strewn around the community’s territory.

    Continue reading...

  • Consumer Reports recently conducted its most comprehensive review of pesticides in 59 US fruits and vegetables. Here the organization shares what it found

    When it comes to healthy eating, fruits and vegetables reign supreme. But along with all their vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can come something else: an unhealthy dose of dangerous pesticides.

    Though using chemicals to control bugs, fungi and weeds helps farmers grow the food we need, it’s been clear since at least the 1960s that some chemicals also carry unacceptable health risks. And although certain notorious pesticides, such as DDT, have been banned in the US, government regulators have been slow to act on others. Even when a dangerous chemical is removed from the market, chemical companies and growers sometimes just start using other options that may be as dangerous.

    Continue reading...

  • As vast solar plants multiply, so does the scrap, set to reach 19m tonnes by 2050. But disposing of the waste often falls to informal traders who risk injury when dismantling broken panels

    Under the scorching sun, a sea of solar panels gleams in the semi-arid landscape. Pavagada, 100 miles north of Bengaluru in southern India, is the world’s third-largest solar power plant, with 25m panels across a huge 50 sq km site, and a capacity of 2,050MW of clean energy.

    India has 11 similarly vast solar parks, and plans to install another 39 across 12 states by 2026, a commitment to a greener future.

    Continue reading...

  • Phoenix broke several heat records last year. Now Grant Park, which has inequitable tree cover, is seeing a tree-planting drive that promises some respite from 100F temperatures

    It was a relatively cool spring day in Phoenix, Arizona, as a tree-planting crew dug large holes in one of the desert city’s hottest and least shaded neighborhoods.

    Still, it was sweaty backbreaking work as they carefully positioned, watered and staked a 10ft tall Blue palo verde and Chilean mesquite in opposite corners of resident Ana Cordoba’s dusty unshaded backyard.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds