Oh Carla Mae, where do I begin to thank you? How do I begin to tell you how much I love you and miss you? Where do I begin to bring to life your journey and how many lives you inspired? How do I begin to paint the picture of your “rags to riches” (ok, Mom isn’t rich…I tried ever so hard to give your riches) story? My little Cinderella? Carla, you became a WorldWide Princess! You have so many friends from all over the globe, truly a Cinderella story! Carla, please guide my fingers as I write this pet memorial for you and to you.
Your life changed for the better in 2005, prior to that, you lived with a woman whom was abusive and did not feed you very well, and at times not all. She passed and her family did not want you, they stated that you were very mean and would bite. See, you were kept outside and never groomed, often times hungry and thirsty. It was here, that your life long battle was seeded; oh how I wish I could have given your first four years of your life of pure bliss and love. This family took you to the shelter, a better description would be “dumped you” with no regard for your being, Jan 13 2005 at 11:47am, you entered a world that was scary, cold and unloving. You had severe ear infections and your name was Archie (A0696971). Archie! (Yes, Mom has done some digging). It was there too, you developed the idea that it would be better to pass than to live on. Honestly, who could blame you? (click on photos to enlarge)
Along came a woman, her name was Gina from San Diego Pet Rescue, you see she saw something in you and had you removed from the shelter on Feb 17 2005 at 11:49am Gina then took you to doggie boot camp for training and socialization, from there, you were placed in several foster homes, and only to bite each foster you came in contact. This is where you and I met; Gina reached out to me in hopes that I would be able to rehab and get you ready for your forever home. Little did I realize at that time, you found your forever home; seems you had an agenda and I was not giving up on you. Gina and I were planning a fundraising and adoption event, you my dear were the featured pet; prior to the event, you certainly had a lot of inquiries and doing the day of the event, a few wanted to know, where were you? (click on photos to enlarge)
Ouch! That hurt! You bit me! You knew exactly what you did, running to a corner expecting to be hit and ready to attack me again. What happened next, you will not ready for; I lifted you and held you as I sensed it wasn’t to be mean, it was for attention. You wanted negative attention, you wanted out. Oh yes, you cried and then after a few moments, you stopped fighting and relaxed. I made the call to Gina that you would not be able to go to the event, explaining what happened. Gina, very softly over the phone advised that she was coming to get you and I was the last hope for you; telling me that I can’t save them all. Ironically, eleven years later, I work for a nonprofit whose mission is to #SaveThemAll. I told Gina she couldn’t have you, that you didn’t do it to be mean. It was that day, we developed honor, respect and trust for each other and towards each other. At the time of the bite, I should have went to the hospital, I refused because I knew what would happen. Today, as I look down at my finger, I have your mark, the mark that began our beautiful relationship.
A few days after the biting event, I had travel and was not about to leave you in this very critical turning point, you came with me and returned a different Carla Mae. You left like a cobra and came back as a cuddle bug, even learned how to give me kisses with my request for “Kiss, Kiss”. It was done, you were to be with me forever
Over the course of the years, you blossomed into this beautiful lady with a slight attitude, very independent; you were Cinderella with a sword, all girly girl with a hint of tomboy. We were meant to be together, you were my twin, and you were perfect! Never afraid to explore, get dirty while wearing a dress or a bow or two. With your personality coming out more and more with passing time, I gave you the name “Cutie, Cutie, Cupcake Carla”. Only that would change, the more confident you became and the more you learned to trust me, you were here to stay, you became Dora The Explorer.
When you came to me, you were four years old; unbeknownst to me, over the course of the eleven years, due to your neglect, you and I faced medical challenges. All of them, we fought together; you never gave up and neither did I. You were diagnosed with a very rare cancer, apocrine gland carcinoma of the ear in 2011, which returned 2015. 2011, you were also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, lost vision in left eye due to cataracts, as well as elevated ALT values. 2012, kidneys were beginning to show stress and liver panels were beginning to come back higher. 2013, arthritis in the left hip and left elbow with advanced spondylosis; one retina was detached while the other was degenerative. 2014, you were stable and well into mid-2015, the cancer returned; the liver values were creeping back up as well as the kidney values. You were beginning to have trouble standing, yet you never stopped. I admired your strength and courage and would give you all the encouragement you needed.
Then, late May 2016, you became more ill. I had a business trip and there was no question about it, you were coming with. Oh how you used to love riding in the car with the top down, wind blowing through your hair. I had a gut feeling this would be our last road trip together, so much, I planned a side trip where you spent time on the beach and did some swimming. Unlike your brother, Mr. MaGoo, you enjoyed adventure, even in the final weeks I could tell that you were enjoying the new smells and activity. During the trip, you became ill, taking you to a vet thinking you would not make the trip home. Much to my surprise and delight, your liver and kidney values improved! We made a few detour stops along the way home, again, for you to experience a pine cone and mountain air. That feeling came over me, this was it.
Then, one week after returning home, you became gravely ill; your kidney values doubled in one week and you were entering stage 3 renal disease. For three days, I transported you back and forth to the hospital for fluid therapy, by the third day, showing improvement. The challenge, you had a heart condition too and we weren’t able to force the amount of fluid needed on an aggressive level. During that time, you would come home, sleeping on my chest; me crying and praying to God to give me the strength and courage to do the right thing when the time came. On Saturday, June 4th, it was determined if your values went up, then I must set you free, go home to God. The vet called, your values were stable, they went down slightly and she felt comfortable sending you home. I was blessed another day with you! Sunday, June 5th, little Miss Independence is back; wanted to eat and drink on your own, out exploring the yard. Yes! You fight Carla! Go Carla!
Monday June 6th around 9:30am you woke and I knew you had to go outside, again, ate a healthy breakfast and wanted to explore the yard. When you were finished, I brought you in; you refused water, at first I thought it was because of the food since it had a high water content. For whatever reason, I looked at your gums, they were snow white! I rushed you to the hospital; they ran the panel again and all I remember is seeing red bars across the results, almost every value was in the danger zone. One of the techs even saw small traces of blood from your nostril, there was a very good chance, you developed a blood clot. It became obvious, the only way you would remain stable, hospitalization every day for at least ten hours per day. I did not want that for you, I did not want you in a hospital every day for the rest of your life. This time, Mom could not save you, I felt as though I failed you, I was to save you from all of this.
The past month before June 6th, I would sing you a song: “You are my sunshine, my one and only sunshine; when clouds are gray, Carla chase them away. And Carla, don’t take my sunshine away”. My sunshine was about to go gray and Carla and I couldn’t chase the clouds away. I made a promise to her and God, should the values go up, I would set her free. In fact Carla, you and Mr. MaGoo would join me during my morning prayers, you knew what was up between God and me.
I did not want her to experience (any more) pain or loss of dignity, both of which she never did. Monday, June 6th at 11:05 AM I set you free. You see my dear, for 11 years you gave me unconditional love, sure there were times when it was with a touch of sass, always unconditional. Now, it was my turn to show you my unconditional love; my turn to be there for you in time of need. Oh, this is so hard as I want you to to stay with me, that would not be unconditional, it would be selfish. Carla, I have several regrets and please forgive me. How could I have missed the signs? Maybe if I had picked up the signs earlier, you would still be here? I regret not taking you out for a birthday meal, allowing you to have whatever you wanted and then brining you back. Having a birthday that day, even though your birthday was July 5th…I so regret this. Carla, I ask for your forgiveness in areas that I failed you.
Carla Mae, you will never know how much you changed my life for the better. You will never know how grateful I am that you trusted me and in me; you were ready to go August 2005 and when I held you, you sighed and our beautiful, unconditional love began. Carla, how can I even begin to thank you for everything that you have done? The lives you touched, inspired to be better, trusting and adventurer? How many children’s lives you are changing with your message in the children’s book.
In my heart, I know she held on during the trip in May, she wanted to wait until we were home. In my heart, I know that God gave me a few precious extra days and nights over that weekend, allowing us to have one more Mommy and daughter dance Sunday June 5th after Silicon Valley. Of course, you had your own special dance. In my heart, I know she didn’t want to go either, her will to live was strong; she knew she was my girl, her body just couldn’t fight anymore. In my heart I know, I will cherish memories and I was blessed that God trusted me to watch over her until He came for her. In my heart I know, there will never be another Cutie, Cutie Cupcake Carla.
Carla Mae, not only are you my Cinderella with a sword, you are my hero. I thank you Carla for 11 beautiful years. I hope you like this video I created, doesn’t even begin it capture all the years or highlights.
Remember how you rescued Twinkle Star? Twinkle Star only trusted you, how could we not blame her. To think your paperwork from 2005 stated, “She is tolerant of small dogs, will try to charge larger dogs which she must be corrected for.” That never happened! Carla, per Google, I have over thousands of photos (album one, album two, and album three)of you. Guess what? I missed opportunities along the way, at least I have memories both in photos and videos; from you wrestling with Mr. MaGoo
and Mini Me to road trips from San Diego to San Jose to AZ to KY to UT. I have photos of your girly girl embracing tomboy moments; and, I have photos of your precious sleeping self. I have video of you jamming to “Bad To The Bone” and letting the wind run through your hair. You loved going to work with me and even though you were blind, you knew exactly where to go.
And, I have photos of our last road trip together, thank you for an incredible vacation. Most importantly my dear, our last trip together, I was there with you, holding your paw and never letting go. I will never let go….
As the paperwork from 2005 states “Carla is a dominant dog and likes to get her way. Carla really bonds to you. Once she loves you, she will listen to you-it’s a matter of earning her respect.” Thank you Carla for allowing me to earn your respect, trust and love….you taught me to never give up and for that my princess, I will always treasure your life lesson that you passed onto me.
Friday June 10th, you came home. The weather, 100+ degrees and high humidity which didn’t stop me from bringing you home in the MR2 Spyder with the top down. As with any true hero, there needs to be the final ride of honor and respect; knowing that you loved the convertible, it was the only right choice. When I got home, your brothers and sister came to say hello.
Then, 1hr later, the sky became gray, not giving too much mind to what was forming, I grabbed the camera and today I am so glad I did. Plus, the moment the shape of a dog, you, was forming, Mini Me laid down and stopped playing. I knew the sky with the light shining through was a sign from God that you were back home with Him, letting me know, that you are happy. It was not until the next morning, I saw the shapes; a dog above the rays of light, as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared quickly too. Thank you God for letting me know that Carla Mae is back home with you. For those may be skeptic, enlarge photos to see timestamp, trust me, I get it!
Mommy loves you dearly, run free and don’t forget to wear your bows and wrestle with the boys… July 5 2001 to June 6 2016