'I think that we owe it to these animals. They have lived their [lives] giving people joy and happiness and companionship, and we owe it to them to finish it out strong.'
A 19-year-old canine is living out her golden years surrounded by love and joy thanks to her two new best friends in Dallas, Texas. Annie, a black Labrador retriever mix, has found unconditional love under the care of roommates Lauren Siler and Lisa Flores, her current fosters. The best friends already had their hands full with another 18-year-old foster dog named Tippy, Flores' own dog Jax and Siler's two cats, Jenny and Moira, when Annie came into their lives. "I was actually in Anchorage, Alaska, getting ready to board a flight back to [Dallas] and I saw her picture posted, that somebody posted that she was at the shelter, and they were asking for rescue support," Siler recalled while speaking to Good Morning America.
"When I landed back in Dallas, I showed Lisa Annie's picture and she was like, 'We have to get her,'" Siler added. "When Lauren showed me the picture, I obviously fell in love with Annie's face, and just was also saddened by the thought of her being in the shelter at that age," Flores said. "I was excited to have an opportunity to also kind of work alongside her and help foster Annie. It just was an experience that we were ready to take on." Since coming into Siler and Flores' home in late June, Annie has become the new star of Siler's @dallasanimalfoster Instagram page.
She also has her own special bucket list that her new fosters are helping complete in order to fill the remainder of her time with memorable experiences. So far, Annie has celebrated Christmas in July, been showered with Valentine's Day cards, taken on a hamburger tour, posed for a professional photo shoot, and more. "We're gonna get them cute little chef outfits and let them make some homemade dog treats," Siler said, talking about what's next on Annie's bucket list marathon. "And then I think that we're gonna try to do a chicken nugget tour, similar to the hamburger tour."
By sharing Annie's story with the world, Siler and Flores hope to inspire others to help other animals, especially senior animals in need. "We hope it inspires others to foster or adopt," Siler said. "My saying through this whole process has been if you can't adopt, then foster, if you can't foster, then donate, if you can't donate, then volunteer because there are so many ways that you can get involved with animal rescue and it doesn't have to mean taking an animal into your home forever. I think that we owe it to these animals. They have lived their [lives] giving people joy and happiness and companionship, and we owe it to them to finish it out strong."
Siler and Flores are able to foster Annie and give her the best life possible thanks to the financial support of The Pawerful Rescue of Royse City, Texas, which took on the canine and her case after she had been surrendered to Dallas Animal Services, a municipal animal shelter. "A lot of people don't know the difference between shelters and rescues," said The Pawerful Rescue co-founder Stephanie Rowe. "Rescues typically tend to be nonprofit. We work off of donations and we either help the community or we pull dogs from the shelter. There are a lot of Annies out there. Fostering doesn't cost the foster a dime. A good rescue will provide all the supplies you need, will take care of all medical expenses. A lot of senior dogs are on medication or need bloodwork regularly and people don't want to take on that responsibility financially. So... a responsible rescue will take care of all the financial aspects of that dog."
"We want to make sure that that dog is covered because we're advocates for them," chimed in co-founder Duke Hemstreet. "So we have contracts in place and things to make sure that that dog is squared away and saved for the rest of their life and they never end up back in a shelter."