October 15, 2001 - July 22, 2010
November 4, 2011
Hello everyone, my name is Carmen and this is my story. I was born on October 15, 2001 as part of a litter of 10 puppies! The two boys got adopted first leaving the eight girls to find homes. Brian and Linda Pardo were looking for a new puppy and the newspaper ad about eight beautiful Rottie girls needing a home caught their attention. Brian and Linda already had two Rottweilers, Rocky and Rachel and a Border collie they called Bonnie Poo and wanted to add one more pup to the house. Well…they got two!
Linda picked me up first and Brian picked up Shelby. We were very excited. So, both of us started pouring on the charm. You know licking them and wagging our little nubs to get them to fall in love with us. Guess what, it worked and we both found our forever homes that day! Wow, did our lives change. We moved from a big cardboard box called "Sony" to a place I could never have imagined. Our awesome new home had plenty of room for both of us and the other BIG dogs that already lived there. Our initial introduction with Rocky and Rachel was not as we had expected. They drooled over us like they thought we were dinner!
My mom, Linda made sure we were safe and gave us a crate to be in when she had to leave the room. It didn't take Rocky and Rachel long to figure out that we were part of the family and they stopped acting like they were going to eat us. I have a picture of me and Rocky when I was little, it's one of my favorites.
The whole family took good care of us. When Shelby and I were little, we even got carried outside to go potty so the coyote's wouldn't get us. There sure were a lot of things that wanted to eat us. I guess that's because we were so sweet! Shelby liked the cold weather but I didn't like it at all! I would hurry back in shivering and Jordan, the human puppy that lived at the house, would pick me up and make me warm again. I forgot to mention Jordan earlier. Jordan has the same birthday as Shelby and I do, October 15! He was four years old when we got adopted and we always celebrated our birthdays together. We really loved playing with him a lot because he didn't try to eat us! There was Jason too. He was sixteen and MY human! I didn't want to share him with anyone. Somehow Jason managed to love the other dogs despite me, but I liked it best when he was with just me.
The days turned into weeks, weeks turned into years and Shelby and I became great friends with the other dogs. This was definitely the life! We had a huge house and yard to play in. As other dogs got adopted that just increased the number dogs we had to play with. It was great. Oh, and did I mention the pool? We got to swim anytime we wanted to, often with Jordan and the other dogs. As the number of dogs grew Barbara, Trish and Ashley started coming to the house every day to help take care of all of us.
One day Shelby started limping and her knee looked really swollen. Linda took her to the veterinarian who said Shelby had bone cancer. None of us knew what bone cancer was but we did know Shelby was in a lot of pain because of it. Shelby was only 4 years old when she has the amputation in an effort to save her life. While she lost her leg, she got her life back. We had to take it easy for a while but soon she was back to her old self. We traveled to our Lake House every summer and got to swim in the lake. I would sit outside in the water on a shallow rock and go fishing. I loved to catch small fish and would sometimes stay in that spot until three in the morning. Linda said the fish would make my coat shinny. She was right! The lake house was one of my favorite places because of the boat rides, the lake and the fishing.
When I turned eight I got the same awful pain my leg like my sister. Linda knew exactly what to do. After Shelby's experience she had gotten to know Dr. Stephen Withrow and his team of surgeons and oncologists, Dr. Deanna Worley and Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, at Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center through the consult service. In fact she called the consult line many times about other dogs in the family for information about cancer. Linda learned I too had bone cancer and the vets at CSU recommended radiation therapy and then a special surgery to stabilize the bone that had been weakened by the cancer. I traveled all the way there from Texas for all of this special treatment! It was the first time the surgeons did this procedure and they now call it "Carmen's Technique." The radiation helped the pain to go away so I could enjoy life again. I wore a new fashionable boot to provide some support to my leg. Barbara worked very hard to help keep my leg clean and to change my bandage everyday. One day she noticed that my leg had an infection. Despite high powered antibiotics the infection wouldn't resolve and I had to have an amputation. After surgery I was all set to come home then my stomach turned (gastric dilatation and volvulus) while I was still in the hospital. Even with surgery I didn't have enough strength to pull through and Linda made the difficult decision to let me go.
I know she and Brian, Jordan and Jason really miss me. I miss them too. Please don't worry, I'm ok and am up in heaven now playing with Rocky, Rachel, Bonnie Poo and others I have met along the way. I had a really wonderful life because of my family, friends, and veterinarians in Texas and at the CSU Animal Cancer Center. I am very thankful our paths crossed along the way. Maybe I will see you in heaven one day too!
After my passing my family wanted to honor my memory and help other animals like me. Linda and Brian Pardo established Carmen's Fund in 2010 to support the Consult Service at the CSU Animal Cancer Center (ACC). It was through the consult coordinator that Linda first became connected to the ACC. The goal of the fund is for my legacy to live on by supporting the outreach effort that helps veterinary cancer patients all over the US and the world.
You too can help the Consult Service by donating to Carmen's Fund.