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Unforgettable Mutts speaks on behalf of the millions of loving and deserving dogs who may never have a chance simply because they have no pedigree. According to The Humane Society of the United States, approximately 75% of all dogs entering U.S. animal shelters each year are mixed-breed. While some are adopted, tragically one to two million mutts are euthanized every year. This startling statistic is fueled in part by the long- standing misconception that if a dog doesn't have a pedigree than he or she must be ...
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Unforgettable Mutts speaks on behalf of the millions of loving and deserving dogs who may never have a chance simply because they have no pedigree. According to The Humane Society of the United States, approximately 75% of all dogs entering U.S. animal shelters each year are mixed-breed. While some are adopted, tragically one to two million mutts are euthanized every year. This startling statistic is fueled in part by the long- standing misconception that if a dog doesn't have a pedigree than he or she must be somehow defective. But as author, Karen Derrico clearly illustrates, nothing could be further from the truth. Page after page of Unforgettable Mutts proves that it's a dog's personality, not the pedigree, that matters.
The men found the dog shivering and starving outside the local blacksmith's shop, near the railway, and took pity on the frightened young pup. She was very timid at first, but after the rail workers came to visit her a few times, offering scraps of food, she began to warm up. She would gently take the food, and then lick their hands afterwards as a gesture of thanks.
They decided to take the dog back to the train depot, but first wanted to be sure she didn't belong to anyone. The blacksmith inside the shop where they had found her told them, "She's just a skinny mutt that nobody wants. I think she is a mixed-breed sheep dog. I'm going to get rid of her because she is going to have puppies." It was decided then and there that the men would adopt the dog as their official railway mascot.
They carried the dog in their arms and boarded the train to take her to her new home at the Fort Collins train depot. A special bed was made for her in the basement, and the railway workers promised each other that their little friend would never spend another night being alone, scared, and hungry. She now had a family and a place to call home.
They named their new mascot Annie, after a dog that Chris the brakeman had as a child. Although all of the men quickly grew to love Annie, and she loved them, Chris was always her favorite. A few weeks after she came to live at the train depot, Annie's three pups were born. Families who adopted the pups were carefully selected by the railway workers to ensure that Annie's offspring would never have to endure what their mother had been through.
During a time of such dark despair, Annie brought a ray of sunshine to the people of Fort Collins, Colorado. She was always happy, with a tail that seemed to wag twenty-four hours a day. For the next fourteen years, she faithfully greeted passengers at the train depot. Everyone who met Annie loved her. Newcomers were often amazed to see local people get off the train to run and greet Annie before greeting their families. It is said that many battle-weary World War II soldiers would sink to their knees, take Annie into their arms and cry for joy when they returned home by train.
When Annie was about twelve, Chris retired from the railway, but he still came to the station every day to take Annie for walks around town. The two would make daily visits to the local police and fire stations and then walk down the street to the Silver Grill Cafe, where Annie would happily dine on cooked scraps saved especially for her. Sometimes they would stop at the nearby meat market to collect bones the butcher had saved for Annie, and the ice cream shop where kids would run outside to greet Annie and offer her a few licks from their cones.
As Chris and Annie grew older together arthritis began to take its toll on the both of them. Their daily walks became shorter and slower. Sometimes they would just sit together on the porch at Chris's house, Annie laying quietly beside him, while he gently stroked her fur and talked to her.
At the age of fourteen, Annie passed away quietly in her sleep in her special bed at the train depot. All who knew her were deeply saddened by her death especially her close friend Chris. The men of the Colorado and Southern Railroad broke all the rules and buried her right next to the tracks where she had spent her life. They erected a three-foot tall headstone that reads: "From C and S Men to Annie. . . Our Dog."
It has been more than fifty years since Annie died, but she has never been forgotten. Today her grave-site is a historical landmark, and has been surrounded by a wrought-iron fence with stone pillars, donated by the city of Fort Collins. For many years a mystery person has placed colorful artificial flowers on Annie's grave at different times during the year, and others who knew her when they were children often stop to visit her grave site. Annie is truly a cherished local legend.
A striking 29-inch bronze statue bearing Annie's likeness and friendly demeanor was created by Dawn Weimer, a local wildlife artist. In August 1998, the Fort Collins Public Library held a fund-raising dog walk event to purchase the statue, where it now has a permanent home.
Chapter 1 -- Canine Discrimination
Chapter 2 -- Famous and Historic Mutts
Chapter 3 -- Mutts of War
Chapter 4 -- Presidential Mutts
Chapter 5 -- Amazing Mutts
Chapter 6 -- Mutt Celebrities
Chapter 7 -- Mutts Who Lend a Helping Paw
Chapter 8 -- Hero Mutts
Chapter 9 -- Magnificent Mutts Across America
Chapter 10 -- Mutt Memorials