Carmen by Martha Kinkead / Mom

Carmen came to live with me when she was an eight week old puppy. She arrived on my only daughter’s birthday in the year 1994. My neighbor and friend told me that she had seen a puppy while she was walking her dog in the neighborhood. The puppy had been found beside a river after a severe rainstorm. The people who had found her tried to find her owner, but no one came forward to claim her. They were getting ready to go on a vacation and could no longer care for the puppy. My neighbor asked me if I would like to see the puppy. I was told that the puppy would be taken to a local shelter if no one wanted her. I told my neighbor that I would go with her to look at the puppy, but that I probably would not be able to take her because I also had another dog. Well, who can resist a puppy? Thus Carmen came home with me, and there began a 14 year relationship that I never dreamed could be so intense with happiness and closeness.

The year 1994 was not a good year for me. My husband had passed away from cancer just 6 months before I saw Carmen. My only daughter was married just 2 days before Carmen arrived. My mother was diagnosed with dementia, and my only son had just finished his first year of college.

Carmen was unusually quiet that first week and suddenly I found that she was very very sick, so off we went to the pet emergency hospital. I was told that she might not make it through the night. But, she did. When I picked her up the next day, I knew that I wanted this puppy to be with me for a very long time. She needed me, and I needed her.

To make a long story short,over the years all my close loved ones seemed to pass away. My husband and I were only children, so there were no brothers and sisters in which to confide. Many times I would tell Carmen, “It’s just you and me kid.”

Carmen and I spent many evenings together. She always knew where I was. She did not leave my side. And when I left the house, I was always anxious to return home to my Carmen. She always met me at the door with wagging tail and happy prancing.

As the years progressed, Carmen developed a stiffness in her back legs and hips. She was treated for arthritis and often her condition was thought to be from her growing older. However, when she was 13, it was found that she had Cushing’s Disease.

This past year, Carmen went to water therapy. She had 2 ultra sounds taken. She saw several specialists as well as her own veterinarian, and she took many different kinds of medications. She needed help to walk with a sling. Carmen tried her best to please and to do the best that she could. She never became upset with anyone even though she did not feel well. She trusted everyone even when she was not always sure what was expected of her.

Carmen took a turn for the worst in November of 2008. She could not walk, and she could not keep anything down.

When the end came, I never dreamed that it could hurt so much. I felt like my heart would break. I had not felt that kind of pain in my whole life! The love that I felt and feel for Carmen is difficult to explain. Maybe I really don’t have to even try to explain. It just was. And, she loved me too.

I can’t believe that Carmen is no longer beside me physically. She was a special gift that I was fortunate to have been given. She was my beloved best friend. There is not enough room in which to write how much I loved her.

I love you Carmen. Now you can run and jump without pain.

Take care, my precious friend.


Godspeed, my faithful friend. I love you.
Martha Kinkead