Tiny Dancer

Ballerina, you must have seen her, dancing in the sand
And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand.
-- Elton John

Ten pounds doesn't weigh much. . . it's one average bag of potatoes. Many eight month old Cairn puppies weigh ten pounds. A bag of potatoes, however, stays where it is placed, doesn't make any noise, and never complains when it is mashed.

Ten pounds of cairn is quite another matter. Ten pounds of cairn is lively and quick, smart and sensitive. A cairn is curious about life, wants to celebrate life to the fullest, AND . . . a cairn HURTS when it is abused. They break.

Tiny Dancer was not an adult cairn; she was only 8 months old when she came to Col. Potter; and she was skin and bones. She had seen more abuse in her life than most dogs ever would. We had great hopes for her - that with love and care she could overcome the abuse she had suffered to live a full and happy life. We picked the perfect foster home that expressed a strong desire to adopt her, so we knew she would live happily ever after once we repaired her very damaged body.

Tiny Dancer, in her brief eight month life, had a life that was filled with obvious violence and pain. The litany of her abuse is shocking even to those who have heard it before. Broken legs that were never fixed, only to fuse in their broken state. A spine that had fused around injuries from the abuse. Front legs so damaged that she couldn't even wipe a leaf from her mouth. She was surrendered to a shelter "because she can't walk properly or be housebroken." . We believe she had been kicked either repeatedly or so severely that it did damage to her spinal cord. This was a baby of FIVE months when she ended up at the shelter, so you can guess at when this abuse actually took place.

Rescue isn't about maintaining life, when life is only pain. Sometimes, Rescue is about saying good-bye through your tears.

May 24, 2005: I am so excited - I am getting a new little girl on Saturday. This has been in the works for a while and I had to wait til she was safely in CP's arms before I could formally announce her arrival. She is 7 months old but has been badly mistreated. She has been kicked several times which has resulted in a spinal injury, which may or may not be fixable with surgery. We will have to wait and see. And she has been kicked in the head which has caused some neurological problems. She has that high stepping gait with her front paws as a result. Nonetheless, she is coming to CT to be loved on and adored no matter what problems she may have. May I introduce to everyone - "TD" which stands for Tiny Dancer - oh and did I mention that she is GREY - lol

Mo and the Most Amazing CT fur herd
Anybody taking bets on how long she stays a foster???

May 28, 2005: Tiny Dancer is so very sweet, I got kisses right away and she snuggled in my arms for the short ride home. But ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh my, when I got her out of the sherpa and put her on the grass I just wanted to scream in anger. How can anyone be so inhumane to a poor defenseless puppy? I know we have discussed this over and over but this is my first opportunity to actually see how cruel people can be.

Her cairn spirit is intact and she so wants to run and play but her poor abused body just will not cooperate. Her little legs go all different directions and it seems she has a hard time just sitting down. She is painfully skinny, you can feel every bone in her body and I am almost afraid to hold her too tightly for fear of breaking something. She was as quiet as a mouse for the ride home and tried very hard to explore the yard but I think she was just too tired. I carried her up the stairs and placed her in her luxury apartment - her xpen with lots of towels covering the pee pads, gave her a fresh bowl of water and some supper. She did not seem too interested in either and just plopped down and is now fast asleep.

I brought the herd upstairs from Moms and she seemed interested in them, wagged her tail and snuffed each of them but then turned and went back to sleep. The reaction from the herd was interesting. After the first sniff they all just laid down next to her xpen and now appear to be guarding her. It is highly unusual for all three of mine to lie so close together.

I have great fear for her, but I will take her to see my wonderful vet on Tuesday with hope in my heart. Please say a special prayer for this sweet little girl. She is going to need a lot of prayers.

Mo and the Most Amazing CT fur herd
Stanley, Ollie, Ginger, Annie and TD

May 31, 2005: It is with a great deal of pain that I write this final chapter in a very brief life. Today I held a very small precious baby as she passed from this earth to a much, much better place. I held her like a baby and rocked and kissed her till she fell asleep in my arms. Tiny Dancer spent only 8 months in this world and of those few months, most were in pain and confusion. She wanted so much to be a real cairn but her abused body and mind would just not permit it.

One of my favorite stories is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. It is a story of a stuffed rabbit that wants so much to become “real”. In that story the rabbit receives this advice from his nursery room pal, the skin horse. “When a child/person loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real”.

Well, we really never got a chance to love her for a long, long time but that was not our fault, but the fault of some cruel monster who chose to mistreat her.

I sincerely hope that she knew about all the people from Colonel Potter who said lots of prayers for her and wanted her to have that chance to become “real”. I cried for her today but I know that these were tears of joy, because now with this final gift, she can run and play, and hop and dance and do whatever her very “real” cairn body tells her to do.

I am sure that she will have so many dance partners waiting for her.

Mo and the Most Amazing CT fur herd, minus one
Tiny Dancer's plight touched many Col. Potter Members. Here are some of their heartfelt comments.

Dance, Dance, Tiny Dancer...run, run as hard as you can towards the love you know is there. No one will ever hurt you again little girl. Even though your poor little body was broken, your wonderful cairn spirit was not. We will all keep you in our hearts forever, sweet, sweet darling girl.
I've lit my candle, but you need no more light to guide you on your way to heaven, as the love there is shining extra brightly today, just for you.
Huge hugs to you Mo, for I know you loved her.
Sandy in TX, who loved her too and can still see her happy little smile, and those puppy ears

Tiny Dancer, Now we know why the sun shines so brightly today. We're sorry to hear that you've left this place, but we know YOU will live in our hearts forever! There are many there to guide you to the sunshine, soft breezes, butterflies to chase, fresh food and water. You little one are why we foster and rescue. Thank you for touching our hearts!!!
Lighting candles for Mo and her group, Lori & John, NY

Maybe Tiny Dancer was meant to be an angel all along, but just had to make a brief stop along her journey with Col. Potter to once again remind us of the monsters that are out there. Don't worry, Tiny Dancer, we received your message loud and clear and will keep vigilant with our rescue work in your honor and memory.
Dance, sweet baby girl, Dance ... your pain and inabilities are no more. You are once again whole as you were when you entered this world such a short time ago ...
Valerie in WI

I offer this prayer for Tiny Dancer and for Mo who lovingly helped her on the last step of her earthly journey.    Deb in PA
Come, Spirit, and be with her now as I give her back to you. She has blessed my life in ways I never could have imagined. She has loved with a pureness of love... As you gently take her to her next place in the circle of life, Hold her, but not too tightly, for now's her time to step into peace and light.

Betty J. Carmack

We learn from Tiny Dancer's death that we need to be more resolved in pursuing the rescue of dogs from the clutches of the evil doers! In our passion to stop this we may influence someone else to learn more about cruelty to animals and cause them to fight even harder for our little furkids.......so Tiny Dancer you did not die in vain......I feel stronger from your death.....and I promise you that I will try to influence those ignorant of the trials and tribulations of so many of our little pups so that they can increase the army we need to recruit to fight those that would take advantage of innocence.
Hugs, Aunty Joan (who loved you without knowing you)

But Auntie Joan, you did know me. I am the voice of all those left behind that are waiting to be rescued. I may have been very small but the void I leave behind should not be left to close and become silent. You and all the Colonel Potter people need to make lots of noise so that the millers and other inhumane people out there are brought out into the open and stopped.

My death at the age of 8 months should serve as a reminder that there are people who do not discriminate when it comes to pup or adult for their abusive behavior.

So the next time Colonel Potter has a fundraiser perhaps you will all reach just a little bit deeper and that reach may save another beautiful little girl who looks just like me. Except this time, she will make it to a wonderful forever home. If you cannot donate money, then think about opening your home to a little foster girl or boy, or perhaps you can create something and donate it. I was part of the Colonel Potter family for such a short period of time but I have a feeling that perhaps my death will not be in vain.

Tiny Dancer

I was standing on a hillside in a field of blowing wheat,
and the spirit of a Cairn was lying at my feet.

She looked at me with kind dark eyes, an ancient wisdom shining through,
And in the essence of her being I saw love there too.

Her mind did look upon my heart as I stood there on that day,
And she told me of this story about a place so far away.

I stood upon that hillside in a field of blowing wheat
and in a twinkling of a second her spirit left my feet.

Her tale did put my heart at ease, my fears did fade away
about what lay ahead of me on another distant day.

"I live among God's creatures now in the heavens of your mind,
So do not grieve for me, my friend, as I am with my kind.

My collar is a rainbow's hue, my leash a shooting star,
My boundaries are the Milky Way where I sparkle from afar.

There are no pens or kennels here for I am not confined,
But free to roam God's heavens among the Cairn kind.

I nap the day on a snowy cloud, gentle breezes rocking me,
And dream the dreams of earthlings and how happy you made me.

The trees are full of liver treats and tennis balls abound,
And milkbones line the walkways just waiting to be found.

There even is a ring set up, the grass all lush and green,
where even Rescue Cairns become the Best of Breed.

For we're all winners in this place, we have no fault you see,
And God passes out those ribbons to each one, even me.

I drink from waters laced with gold, my world a beauty to behold,
And wise old dogs do form my pride to amble at my very side.

At night I sleep in angel's arms, her wings protecting me,
And moonbeams dance about us as stardust falls on thee.

So when your life on earth is spent and you stand at heaven's gate,
Have no fear of loneliness for here you know I wait.

Author Unknown
(Edited for Tiny Dancer)
Dance away to heaven, Tiny Dancer.
From Velveteen Rabbit,
by Margery Williams
Illustrations by William Nicholson

But the little Rabbit sat quite still for a moment and never moved. For when he saw all the wild rabbits dancing around him he suddenly remembered about his hind legs, and he didn't want them to see that he was made all in one piece. He did not know that when the Fairy kissed him that last time she had changed him altogether. And he might have sat there a long time, too shy to move, if just then something hadn't tickled his nose, and before he thought what he was doing he lifted his hind toe to scratch it.

And he found that he actually had hind legs! Instead of dingy velveteen he had brown fur, soft and shiny, his ears twitched by themselves, and his whiskers were so long that they brushed the grass. He gave one leap and the joy of using those hind legs was so great that he went springing about the turf on them, jumping sideways and whirling round as the others did, and he grew so excited that when at last he did stop to look for the Fairy she had gone.

He was a Real Rabbit at last, at home with the other rabbits.