Each manila file folder is labelled with a dog’s name and the date Anne first became aware of the dog. Sometimes the labels include the dog’s new adopted name, a euthanasia date, or an adoption date.
The files start in 1998 and some years, 2002 and 2003, have two boxes of files.
Anne’s record keeping was meticulous in the beginning. For every dog, I know where the dog came from, have a detailed description, and there’s almost always a photo in the file. I knew Anne worked with hundreds & hundreds of pit bulls but going through these files made her work very real to me on a different level. Her chicken scratch intake notes, her follow-up notes on dates and times she called vets, foster parents, prospective adopters.
Going through the files, I came across dogs that I knew their stories start-to-finish. And there are also dogs like Daisy that I only remembered had been adopted by a wonderful family. I learned Daisy fell off a cliff and died hiking in the mountains by reading her file.
Anne’s files in 2008 tell the story of a woman struggling to do rescue. Her notes are spotty, dog photos are few, vet bills are unpaid, and there are labels with ”outcome unknown.”
In addition to the files, there were three, black garbage bags neatly wrapping poster board displays Anne and her volunteers had created over the years. I unfolded each one and photographed them.
And finally, one of the last poster boards in the set was of Anne’s house. Photos of her son and daughter and the dogs that were a part of their lives.
So many details. Anne’s cursive handwriting. Jots of this-n-that. Names and addresses of people who adopted dogs. Photo-after-photo of pit bulls, pit bull mixes, mutts with brindle coats. Vet bill-after-vet bill. Yahoo emails. PetFinder listings. Copies of Canine Good Citizen certificates. Business cards. Newspaper clippings. Magazine articles. And thank you letters for miles.
Here’s an excerpt from the parents of Sammy Snuggles written in 2001: Dear Anne, how can we thank you for the newest member of our family? Mr. Sammy Snuggles charged into our lives and showered us with kisses and goofiness. He talked us into buying a house with a yard so while we’re not as close by as we used to be, we thank you every day for saving this dog that our lives would simply not be complete without.