Grieve not, nor think of me with tears
But laugh and talk to me as if I were beside you.
I loved you so . . .
'Twas Heaven here with you

-- Isla Paschal Richardson

Wed, 27 Apr 2005
Dear friends ... announcing Miss Amaretto of Texas!

Courage, grace, and a heart of gold... Miss Amaretto of Texas, is determined not to be beaten by cruel circumstances. Recently released from a breeding facility, this petite 6 year old has suffered long-standing, severe ear infections with no veterinary care to ease her pain. Antibiotics would have spared her years of absolute agony.

Once in the care of Col. Potter's Cairn Rescue, Amaretto was aggressively treated with antibiotics to try and clear the horrific infections, but the damage was already done. Her ears were devastated beyond salvation, and total ear ablation surgery, an excruciatingly painful procedure, was required to clear the massive infections. The infection, damage and subsequent surgery have resulted in total loss of her ability to hear. Her little head was horribly swollen with drain tubes on all sides, and her jaws hurt so bad that eating was nearly impossible. Her ears are crumpled from the damage of infection; her head is shaved around her ears and her whole body had been shaved to the skin prior to her coming into our care.

Thru all the pain, and all the changes, she has remained sweet in disposition. While very timid and watchful, Amaretto wants so desperately to be loved, and to be close to her people. While she is still recuperating, she has shown a bit of playfulness and cautious adventure.

This is a good little girl. Very timid and fearful, right now, but she shows "heart" and a determination to find the GOOD in life. Amaretto weighs only 14 pounds, about right for her dainty frame, and is a good eater and loves treats, so with her intelligence and personality, she will be a joy to train. Her platinum blond coat has golden wheaten highlights, but is presently shaved to her knickers, and shaved again around her ears, but when it grows out... she is going to be gorgeous!

Stay tuned, cause Miss Amaretto is a Texas rose bud ready to bloom!

Wed, 27 Apr 2005

Since Amaretto arrived Monday night, Honey has
offered to play. She's stacked her toys in front of Amaretto; she's play-bowed, tossed her head, and pranced around. Amaretto watched her, followed her, but no play.... till this morning... Amaretto initiated it, and Honey jumped straight in the air. You could almost hear Honey shout: "play?"... "You want to play??? OK!!!!" Zooming... just the tiniest bit, for short distances! Honey was running slow for her, and being super gentle.

THEY ARE PLAYING!! Play only lasted a very short time, but this was great to see!

Amaretto's tail has not been tucked between her legs all day and there seems to be a little spring in her step. She is not anywhere close to even half speed or strength, but am glad to see little improvements. She is extremely skittish, very timid; but if we move slowly and approach from the front, she is welcoming our touch. She follows us everywhere and watches every move. Must remember... GO SLOW TO GO FAST. She is smart, she is sweet, and she is a survivor. We will build from here.

Mon, 30 May 2005

What a difference! In one magical month, Miss Amaretto has gained so much confidence, physical strength and skills to face her new world. Gone from her face is that pinched look of pain... her eyes are big, expressive and beautifully lashed, set in a delicately chiseled face. Her coat is beginning to grow while it will be a while till she looks "cairnish", her coat now has some texture, and a bit of red shows in her platinum wheaten. My, she is going to be a beauty!

She relishes her "walkies", now 2-a-days with the longest just over 2 miles each day. She is pure pleasure to walk... completely leash trained. While shy and cautious to meet new people, I would no longer describe her as fearful. Her tail no longer stays tucked, but is usually carried horizontally. She even wagged earlier this week during a play session. In our home she will roll on her back playfully, initiates morning romps with the resident Cairn, and rolls on her side and back for belly rubs. She simply loves belly rubs... her eyes close and a Mona Lisa smile crosses her face. Pure bliss! With all she's been thru, we are in awe of her intelligence, determination and adaptability and good heart. She is a cuddle bug, and wants to be near her people, but so open to new adventure.

Miss Amaretto, the Texas rose bud ... oh my, she's blooming!

Thu, 9 Jun 2005

An intense but rewarding week... Have been debating taking her to the dog park... but was cautious. Things are going well, and I didn't want a bad step. Well, throw that worry out the window. She's been three times this week and LOVES IT! Loves the other dogs (will often attach herself to an active little male, and prance by his side) and accepts pets and scritches from the people, including men, women & children. You can just see the optimism and good expectations growing every day. Needless to say, if I sign "walkie" now, Amaretto sometimes beats Honey to the leash/harness racks.

In researching, one of the things many people fear in a deaf dog is being bitten on awakening/startling the dog. No danger with Amaretto. First of all, her personality is so sweet she just would NOT bite. We have stroked, petted, rubbed and done everything possible for her to expect GOOD TOUCHES... and she does. To awaken her, we touch her on her front paws or no higher than shoulder height on her legs and almost never get a startle response. She trusts us completely now, and is not fearful.

Gosh, this is such a sweet, sweet soul. Amaretto continues to bloom in Fort Worth.

Had to share this one photo of Amaretto with her very first toy. This is one of the stuffies / squeakers Honey laid out for her. Yesterday Amaretto claimed it, defended it with her very first growl & first bark, and has laid on or by it, or carried it most of today. She doesn't know what to do with it... but she HAS it!

Fri, 10 Jun 2005

Have been working very hard on physical conditioning for Amaretto. When she came, there was absolutely no muscle development in her hind legs. The skin just hung loose on her legs and sometimes walking thru the house, she would fall in a heap... either exhaustion or strength/coordination. Can tell she was in a cage with no exercise ALL her life (and bet it was too small for her, too). She has made remarkable strides.
Tonight, she tried to leap onto the couch... and failed. Tried three times, two times together. Front feet up on the cushion, but couldn't leap and pull her self up. Picked her self up off the floor, walked around the couch and tried again. Failed again. Am so proud of her trying, and trying again. She WILL do it. We will let her succeed.

A little teary that such a strong heart and strong Cairn will and desire, must overcome so much because of cruelty and neglect. What a spunky little one she is.

Thu, 16 Jun 2005

Today, Amaretto was seen by a veterinary ophthalmologist. As long as she has been in our foster care, both her eyes have teared excessively, causing the fur beneath her eyes to be wet almost constantly, but most especially the right eye. With the approval and support of CPCRN, she has been treated with antibiotic ointment, antihistamines (in case allergy played a role) with no relief of symptoms. Concern became high, that something might be seriously wrong that could affect her vision. Dr. P performed a detailed exam and was so gentle with Amaretto, but she simply couldn't have been a better patient. His report states: "The facial nerve is paralyzed on both sides. This results in the inability to blink the eyes. The facial nerve paralysis is most likely related to previous severe, chronic otitis (ear infections)."

So dear friends, the damage from her years in the puppy mill has caused this; but she has learned to compensate. Her face fur will get wet from tears brimming over. (I wash her little face a couple times a day and pat it dry) but there are NO problems with her vision. Since she cannot blink, care must be taken if debris should ever blow in her eye. The support of ALL in the CPCRN family is allowing Amaretto to overcome so much. Right now, I just can't think of words to say, except it DOES mean to world to this one dog. You have my eternal gratitude and love.

Tue, 28 Jun 2005

Dear friends: ... no easy way to say it. The bile acid test results are grim. He said the x-ray showed a very small liver with perhaps a small circular mass. While this may or may not be cancer, it really doesn't matter. The liver has failed. He said the damage to her liver is chronic damage, not acute. We talked about her ears again, and how they had been infected for years. He said the infection probably destroyed her liver too. He does not recommend a biopsy. Just to make her as comfortable and happy as possible.

I asked if Amaretto were in pain, he said "No, she is just very weak, and will get weaker". I asked how long she had... he said "weeks, maybe only a couple weeks, maybe a bit longer, but not long." He said that she had really declined rapidly in the last couple weeks, and he expects the slide to continue or accelerate.

Friends... we are all devastated. She was doing so well after a life of sheer hell, and she almost grabbed the brass ring. She deserved so much better. Don't know whether I can tell this or not... but will anyway. A wonderful, loving family applied to adopt Amaretto.  My heart breaks for Amaretto, and for them. Please hold this family in your hearts and prayers, too. They are victims of the puppy mills, just as Amaretto is.

For now, am going to feed her what she really likes... chicken breast and kibble. She was not fond of the cod fish/lima beans/green beans/cinnamon or turmeric diet. Right now, just want her to have the BEST every day that she can have. If that includes Dairy Queen, then Dairy Queen is on today's menu. Thank you all... for loving these dogs, and doing EVERYTHING you do to bring them to HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I so much wish Amaretto's fairytale had written a different final chapter.

Fri, 8 Jul 2005

Dear friends... know Amaretto has been in your thoughts and prayers, so thought you should know... SHE SEEMS BETTER, so keep those pipelines to heaven open! Do not want to provide false hope; simply do not know what is possible and what is not. In the last 10 days, since my vet and the lab results pretty much gave her a very few weeks, maybe only a couple, there have been some bad days, especially right at first. Several nights she could not stand up without help and continued support, and there was rapid shallow breathing and other times panting. She had to sit to drink water or eat, or lie down with her head over the edge of the bowl. Once she stopped eating and I lay on the floor beside her and hand fed her kibble dipped in yogurt. When she finally stood up, I told her I only hand fed once a week, so she had to eat the next bowl on her own... and she did.

Right now, Amaretto seems to be rallying. She is eating well, has gained a little weight. She can stand and walk now without wobbling, and the last few days, she trots behind me to her crate, when I am carrying food, or trots to go looking for me, if I move to another room. Don't know where this is headed, friends. I want so much for there to be a miracle recovery... don't know if I am being foolish, but if love can save her... I want to bathe her in it by the minute. I know your good thoughts and prayers have made her life better.

Amaretto wants to LIVE till she doesn't. She smiles now (and she has such a pretty, dainty little smile!), she tries to play; she approaches people expecting positive things. If this rally is not long lived, then I want as much of this GOOD and HAPPY in her life, as I can cram. Don't know the future, dear friends... just know that Amaretto is LIVING LIFE in Fort Worth, Texas.

Sat, 23 Jul 2005

A couple days ago, Amaretto started throwing up. Nausea is something you must deal with in liver disease and is not a good sign. Over the next 24-30 hours, I pared her diet down to thin chicken broth and crushed kibble... no matter what, it all returned partially digested. Thought this was the moment I had dreaded. All advised taking her to the vet and see where she was... so I did. I prepared myself for the worst, was sure it was here. How would I know?? Karen said to look in her eyes and she would tell me.

I laid on the floor and held her in my arms for over 2 hours asking the question... "is it time, Amaretto?" She said, "no, Mum; I'z jus gettin gud at roo-ing... and doncha fink dat is a bit drastic fur a tummee ache?"

In we went... I stuffed my bag with Kleenex. I asked if her Dairy Queen days were over.... he said he didn't think so. Thought maybe a stomach virus or short-term bug. So yesterday, she got sub-Q fluids, antibiotic and anti-nausea injection and sent home to fast (except for water) till he saw her this morning. Honey, George and I fasted right along with her... as we couldn't eat in front of her, and she camped in the kitchen anyway. Yeah, I know... we're a mess. This morning the appt went fine, she is clear to eat tiny meals and she has, several and with gusto! Everything is staying down! The anxiety level is down, too. This foster family thanks all of you for the bottom of our hearts and souls.

So, dear friends, the Dairy Queen days continue in Fort Worth.

Wed, 27 Jul 2005

Amaretto has bounced back with a vengeance! Last Thursday & Friday, I thought she was a goner... she looked it and acted it. She has been getting better since Saturday No way does Amaretto look like a dying dog. In the last 3 days, she has started wagging her tail vigorously, will trot and sometimes light-run around the house and after Honey, and often smiles at us with this open mouthed, happy-sappy little smile. It is just a major melt to see her like this.

Earlier today, she initiated a full-scale roll around play session with Honey. Had I not seen this with my own eyes would not believe it. Am a little speechless, but want you to see what I am seeing in her. This is the strongest, most vigorous she has been the bad crash with awful liver lab test results in late June.

Does anyone have a clue what is going on here? How can she swing so radically? Am not complaining... am so HAPPY to see her like this, there are not words to express how I feel. I just want it to continue and increase! If it cannot be explained, please God... let it continue.
Tue, 2 Aug 2005

Some days are shaky for Amaretto...but some days are simply priceless. Yesterday was special. We do estate sales, and yesterday was our "prep" day. This home has a large back yard ... heavily wooded, with naturalized beds, ground cover areas and grassy meadows that are a cairn's dream. Even if I am not IN the yard, I can watch Honey & Amaretto at all times. They are LOVING this yard! Late afternoon, I couldn't see either of them for a second, and bolted out the back door to look. Just as I opened the door, Honey blazed across the patio in front of me. So intent in her charge, she looked like a blond bullet. Right behind her about 8 feet, and losing ground with every step, came Amaretto -- flying nun ears bouncing, a smile on her face, rambling, loping gait/run that is her VERY TOP SPEED. Neither dog saw me, and both ran right past me, back off into the trees and ground cover; but it was JOY in Dogville. If Amaretto never runs like that was a GOOD day, a VERY GOOD DAY.

I've always loved the saying: "If ya wanna run with the big dogs, ya gotta get offa da porch." Well Miss Amaretto of Texas... is runnin' wiff da big dogs.
Tue, 9 Aug 2005

Deer fwends n' fambly...

By da time you reed dis, I will hab started mi jurney to da Rainbo Bridg. Now doncha start ablubberin, cause mi Mum n' Fadder don al dat alreddy. Besides, I has had da most wunnerful time of mi whole life bein' a Col. Potter kid n' I lubs y'all for gibbin mi da big chance.

Lubs n' kissies to Auntees Allee n' Lynell fur sabin' mi from hell; and Auntee Judy n' Unkul Dabid fur lubbin mi and takin' awa that awful pain n mi hed an eers...

Also, lubs to da Davis fambly fur wanting mi to join der fambly... am so sorree dat could not happen... but it started mi thinkin'. Since I could not officialy be dopted.. I has decided to dopt ALL ob YOU. Dats right... ebberyone in Col. Potter fambly, da Davis famblee, ALL OB YOU. You are all MINE, an I iz a happee little gurl wiff da biggest and da bestest fambly in da hole wide world.

I will be watchin fur u when it bees ur time to cross da Bridge. Look fur da little red-head wiff da smilin face. Don't know what kind ob ears I be gittin, dey might be pointee Corn ears or da floppee ones I gots now.. but it don't matter to mi. Ebben if u don't recogniz mi.. I wll kno YOU, jus cuz you lubbed mi. I will kno ur gud heart and ur gud soul. Will be watchin also fur me Col. Potter brudders n sissers; acus you is special to mi; but expecially Honee Gurl, who was da bestest sisser dis little puppee mil gurl could ebber hab.

Wood like to ask a couple favors tho.. please b'member mi sissers n' brudders libbin n hell. Please gits dem out, and gibs dem da chance. I knos u wurks berry, berry hard now, but it hurted so bad der, and it was so wunnerful to be ur Col. Potter kid.

One last ting.. Mum always danced wiff me singin' DA ROSE, by Bette Midler. Mum said I was da Texus Rose. I couldnut heer da musik, but I felt it.... it was so wunnerful to feel like dat. If you could, please hold mi sissers n' mi burdders tonite and dance. If u wants to sing or play DA ROSE, dat wood be wunnerful too.

I be watchin obber you and lubbin u forebber.. till we meets again.

Amaretto, used ta be da Texus Rose, now da Rose ob Hebbin
The Rose
Bette Midler

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you it's only seed.

It's the heart, afraid of breaking,
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking,
That never takes a chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dyin',
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely,
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love,
In the spring becomes the rose.

Grow with the Lord,
Wee Amaretto
Amaretto was determined to LIVE.... to live every moment. And we were determined that she HAVE every second, every GOOD second we could manage.

She was incredibly sweet, and very smart, but trust me.... she was a Cairn snot-princess, in the making. A little chow-hound, she loved her food... but she was not fond of some of the pills and capsules I was giving. I buried them in no-fat cream cheese, wrapped them in chicken (later on I glued chicken TO the capsules with cream cheese)... and she would gently but thoroughly roll them around in her mouth and carefully deposit them under the rim of her dog dish, or under the edge of a rug. Later on, she wouldn't take the pills at all, and I would put them in her mouth and give her droppers-ful of water to make her swallow. Later, I would find the pill, under the edge of the sofa. She would hold it in her mouth for minutes!

While she was very easy going, and most compliant, she was very determined about what she wanted... yes, I spent a lot of time trying to develop a "sign" for SNOT, but never found a good one. (this is not a mental picture to dwell on, friends)

She loved to walk.. anywhere and everywhere. She took a 5 block walk, 3 days before she died. I was afraid it would be too much for her... but she wanted it so bad, so we went. Her little flying nun ears were up, her tail was up and she pranced most of the way. The night before her last day, she was on the patio, barking her little brains out. Amaretto rarely barked (I mean RARE!); so it was always noticed! Her little tail was almost straight up (the highest we ever saw it up) and she had a regular old bark-fest. She walked the house, loved to go in and out of her crate (we never closed the door except when she was to sleep), and she loved the freedom.

She loved to roll on her back.. just loved it! The patio, grass, carpet, tile.. didn't matter. Anywhere and anywhere. She loved to sleep on her back, too. The last couple months, she'd be in one of her sleep spots, leaned up against a wall, a cabinet or something, all splayed out, with that little smile on her face.

The single strongest image of her though.. was her smile. She had the sweetest little Mona Lisa smile on her face, most of the time. Sometimes there was this little toofy-grin thing going on, too. Just a happy, liddle, happy-sappy smile on her face.

Dear friends, I share these memories of her with you not for tears. Please NO TEARS. I want you to know her, to remember her.. as a little girl who wanted to LIVE life. It wasn't long enough for me, for us or for you..., but she LIVED every moment she had. Let us rejoice in that. ..and remember there are others like her, who need us.

THANK YOU ALL for your kindness, love and support to us, through this diffiecult time, but also thru the joyous times. God bless your good hearts and souls.

Please remember Amaretto with JOY. Let that joy strengthen your RESOLVE and DETERMINATION to save every one we can.