Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Tale of Two Sisters: CarrieAnne and Lucy

I'm deviating from my irregular-regular posts to tell you the story of CarrieAnne.  I know that it's quite long, and I know that it's one that some of you won't have the time to read and I respect and understand that.  It's a story that I've never written or talked about much over the years.  But I felt like with Carrie's recent passing, it was time to write Lucy and CarrieAnne's story so that they will be remembered.  **Thank-you** as always for stopping by my blog, and especially for your friendship, support and good thoughts that have truly made a difference!  
~CarrieAnne 6-14-2003 9-3-2014~
I named her CarrieAnne because of the rural county, “Caroline” in Virginia where she’d come from.  Her sister, a mirror image of her was red and I named her Lucy Fox from a character I’d remembered from a childhood story. Carrie wore a little pink collar, but it had no tags. CarrieAnne and Lucy were strays and nobody claimed or adopted either of them.  Since the girls appeared to have Golden Retriever in them, the rescue that I volunteer with accepted them.  Both girls were very frightened and would sit curled into one another and would try to get away from you or freeze when you’d try to pet them.

The girls were totally covered in ticks, and so our first evening was spent removing them.  They would silently endure the contact with us, never flinching, but hardly moving or making eye contact.   They both got along well with the dogs, and were the same age as Josh, who was about a year old at the time.  But they knew nothing about being dogs, they only knew fear.  Josh would try to get them to play with him but they would sit frozen, never moving or knowing how to react.  Eventually they would learn to play and eventually they would learn to cope with their fears, but in different ways.
~Josh and CarrieAnne 2003~
CarrieAnne throughout her life remained afraid of loud noises.  We lived in a subdivision in 2003, and taking her for a walk was frightening for her, and challenging for me. To try and build CarrieAnne's confidence, we would walk her with another dog who enjoyed going for walks thinking that she would learn to as well.  It didn't work.  Carrie would only walk to one nearby corner, and would then turn around and pull at the leash to be taken back home.  She would never cross the road, or want to go any farther. Her world was very small.  On the walks I held Carrie's leash very tightly because if a loud vehicle passed by, even before we got to the corner, she would frantically and wildly try to get away from me and whatever it was that had scared her. My biggest worry became her accidentally getting loose and running away, and not being able to catch her. In those wild moments of chaos I started saying the words "home CarrieAnne, home" and we would quickly go back to the house. My hope was that despite being so scared and out of control, she would hear those words and learn to go back to the security of "home" when something had frightened her.  It worked. The words, "home CarrieAnne, home" became a phrase that she came to know and would be used throughout her life.
Carrie's sister Lucy was also shy, but of the two she was the more confident and outgoing one.  The world to her was not quite as frightening.  She was however, fiercely loyal to her sister.  Anyone that she didn’t know that tried to approach CarrieAnne would be warned to stay away by an alert stance and a sharp bark.  The two were always together, and when they slept, Lucy always slept with her head on Carrie's back, keeping watch.
~CarrieAnne's sister, Lucy 2003~
Lucy’s guarding CarrieAnne was in part why I decided that I should split them up and place them in separate homes.  I felt that Carrie and Lucy needed the chance to blossom on their own.  So, I made them both available for adoption through the rescue.  I would meet a couple that could offer everything that I felt Lucy needed, and so I placed her with them and their dog.  It all went pretty well at first.  But then Lucy began to not let anyone she didn't trust come near her, or her family.  The behavior was "allowed" to escalate, and Lucy began charging at and biting everyone she saw as a threat.  A trainer felt that Lucy’s behavior was driven by her fears, and a natural territorial instinct to guard. For many (understandable) reasons, the family felt that they could no longer keep Lucy, and so she was returned to me.
Lucy and I began working with a behaviorist to try and curb her behavior and help her work through her fears.  I thought we were making progress but one day Lucy ran out the door and bit a child standing in front of our house. In that moment, I knew we had failed. Lucy had no bite inhibition whatsoever.  Because we lived in a subdivision, it was impossible to keep Lucy and everyone else completely “safe” from her charging at them. So, after a lot of discussion with several experts and the rescue, the heartbreaking decision was made to euthanize Lucy.  Times were different in 2004, and no one knew of any other options. The guilt and regret of the whole experience with Lucy has always stayed with me.  But I find comfort in knowing that despite her fears, Lucy knew what it felt like to be loved and safe.  I often used words from a Byron poem to describe Lucy in that she was “A troubled stream, but from a pure source.”  
~Lucy, 2003~
The experience with Lucy is why we decided to adopt CarrieAnne. I was so afraid a similar thing happening to her and I knew that if she stayed with us, I could keep that from happening to her. So, Carrie became an official member of our household in the late summer of 2004.
~The "official" gang December 2004~
CarrieAnne never totally got over her fears, but she learned to cope with them, and she learned to trust people on her own terms.  She found companionship and security both with us and the other dogs.
~Christmas photo 2010~
 When we moved to “Golden Pines” in 2007 it proved to be the perfect place for Carrie.  Here in the country away from the noise of the city, CarrieAnne found peace, contentment and her confidence.  She blossomed into what she was meant to become.
In 2011, Rudi passed away.  CarrieAnne became the pack leader. She had earned the respect of the other dogs, and took that role very seriously.  For whatever reason, Sheba would challenge Carrie. One year the two had several fights that would usually end with Sheba needing to be taken to the vet.
~Sheba after a fight with Carrie~
Very thankfully we (and they) were able to work it out and for the last 3+ years of Carrie's life, the two truly were canine-sisters and got along wonderfully.  Outside they would always run and play together.
While Carrie may have been a "tough little street fighter" she was also a very affectionate and delightful companion.  She would often come and sit next to me (always on my left side), lean into me and I'd put my arm around her and talk quietly into her ear, and maybe tell her a secret or two. She would quietly listen.  There always seemed to be a little bit of uncertainty in CarrieAnne's eyes, but they sparkled and I could see the trust and happiness.
CarrieAnne felt confident enough to to go off on her own to explore around our property. One summer she found a place to swim and would come back on those hot evenings, soaked.
I never could find where she had gone, but will admit that I never really looked.  I let it stay her secret.
But when I wanted her to come home, or the loud noises came, as they sometimes did, I would call out "home CarrieAnne, home" and it would always bring her back to the safety of the house.
The times that Carrie seemed most content was when she could just be outside stretched out in the grass in the warm sun.  A favorite place was the hay field that adjoins our property.
Seeing her there, it was easy to see a peace and calm about her that I'd hardly see at any other time. Sometimes she would sniff the air, and let out a little "yip."  I couldn't help but wonder if maybe during those times, Lucy was nearby, continuing to watch over her.
Sadly, Carrie's time with us would suddenly end on September 3, 2014 shortly after surgery to remove a mast-cell tumor.  The tumor was larger than expected making the surgery more involved.  It was just too much for her. A few days later I received an e-mail from the surgeon, who said in-part,  "Despite the awful outcome, I do want to assure you that surgery was CarreAnne's best hope.   ...during surgery when I could fully appreciate how far the tumor had progressed, it was clear that CarrieAnne's time would have been very short without surgery." The surgeon's e-mail was appreciated, but did little to ease the guilt I've felt at her loss.  Just as with Lucy, there will always be regrets. But I find comfort in knowing that CarrieAnne did have a good life.  She found security, love and a good home with us.  I know she was happy.  
The morning after CarrieAnne passed away, I stood outside with the other dogs totally consumed by the darkness of the early hour and her loss. Across the hay field that Carrie loved, I heard the echo of a dog barking off in the distance. Without realizing it, I heard myself saying "home CarrieAnne, home." and in that moment of heartbreak and silence, a voice from my heart said, "I am." 


  1. A beautiful tribute to CarrieAnn and and also to LucyFox. She couldn't help what she had become and you didn't have much of a choice. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind, who has seen the huge grin on CarrieAnn's face in your pictures, that she was a very happy and content dog.

  2. Thank you for sharing Lucy and CarrieAnne's Story. I am very glad they found you.

  3. What a heart-warming story...though we are teary-eyed over here. I am so glad you were able to give Carrie the loving and peaceful home she deserved.

  4. I hadn't seen you on facebook for a couple of days, so I came looking for you. I very rarely sign in on blogs any more, but, when I read CarrieAnne's story, I knew I had to sign in and let you know that I felt your love and pain in every word you wrote. Now I know why you haven't been around much lately, it's your time to grieve. Please know that there are many of us grieving with you, but also many of us who rejoice in the fact that CarrieAnne and LucyFox found you and love, including the kind of love it takes to do the hard stuff.

  5. Thank you for sharing CarrieAnne and Lucy's stories in such an honest and heartfelt way. It brought tears to my eyes. Hugs

  6. What a wonderful story to share, Kim and it is with tear filled eyes that I tell you something. Copper was no longer wanted by a family because he tried to bite one of their daughters. With me...with us...for a feeling of safety, I say "Home, Copper, home" rather than "come". He was hit after being called somewhere along his four/five homes before us so "home, Copper, home" told him it was was was all good....just like your Carrie...:)JP

  7. I imagine you cried quite a bit, writing this. CarrieAnne was a special dog with a special story. I have never seen such a beautiful smile as that of CarrieAnne's. Wonderfully written with love.

    My sinus are clean now, but tears still run. Hugs!

  8. Moved me to tears, touching story. Big Hugs Francine.

  9. And yet another absolute tear-jerker. Beautifully written ~ beautiful story.

  10. well i have been reading and not commenting for a long time now...thanks for sharing Carrie Anne's story....and reminding me that Home is where we can always run!

  11. No matter what you do, when the time comes, there's always that nagging voice telling you that you could have done more. It happens to everyone.

  12. I know by putting this story into words it also led to a tiny bit of healing for your heart. It is very hard when we love our furry kids as much as we do- to have to make decisions that forever stay in that place in our hearts that it is often hard to go back there. I have sit many a nights in the quiet and dark, rethinking decisions............but then in the morning when the sun is shining and the three little pugs are on my lap and happy, it does help some of the dark to go away until the next time my mind wonders back down that road. My thoughts and our prayers have been with you during this time. We understand. Thank you for sharing the girls stories. It undoubtedly tells your story also.
    Stella Rose's Momma

  13. I'm typing thru tears, not just for Carrie Anne, but for my Monty who was so much like her. He lived with so many fears and phobias that his life shrunk to just our house and his yard, but he had a huge heart. It's painful to live with a dog who is so sweet but so in terror of life. I still carry much guilt about Monty and always will,but I'll always treasure our short time together. He taught me so much.

  14. Love - shared and given - should always be remembered. A good life is an epitaph that all sentient creatures would be happy to have.

  15. Fantastic story. So sad for Lucy, but sometimes there are problems that we humans just can't change. We know CarrieAnne was able to have a wonderfuly, love filled life...

  16. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  17. Sharing CarrieAnne and Lucy with us, tears as we know their times with you were full of love, care, and comfort, decisions that we look back on can be so hard, but always in your heart is their love too. I read this, had tears, and had to wait and come back a few hours later to put some words together. We have had some adopted cats who were not the easiest, and when they left to cross the bridge, such sadness, and regret that their life was not happier, But I tell myself, I did the best I could. And maybe for them, happiness was not what we saw, but in their heart, as we loved them,, no matter what. Big hugs, from down under, Jean.

  18. You have to wonder what was their life before you found these two sisters. That year before you took them in must have been traumatic. However, that bad beginning took them to live with you and they found the love and comfort that all dogs should have.

  19. Thank you for sharing such a loving story of your life with these two girls. They knew love and that's what matters.

  20. I was keeping it together until that last part. : ( I loved reading the sister's story. We had to make the same decision that you made with Lucy ~ it was one of the hardest things that we had to do.. but we knew that it was right!
    One a lighter note.. Is your husband reading the dogs a book on the front porch? hahaha.. I love that!!!!!!

  21. Thats a wonderful story, so glad they left a little piece of them with you and you told this story.

    The Mad Scots

  22. Kim, what a touching story about CarrieAnne and Lucy.. I am sure CarrieAnne was very happy with you, the other dogs and your home. They are all so sweet..I still tear about thinking about my own Goldie Girl, it is so hard to let them go.. Thanks for sharing, enjoy your evening!

  23. Beautiful post and photos ! Both dogs had the best with you guys as they were loved and looked after very well and they lived their days out happier then they could of ever imagined you saved them . Yes they are home in your heart and memories forever ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good evening !

  24. Lovely post for a wonderful dog. I am struck with the fact that in almost every photograph, CarrieAnne is smiling and happy.

  25. I knew if I read this all the way through that I would end up with tears down my face. And I did. God bless you Kim, for giving these precious dogs (and cats) a loving and safe home. This tribute to CarrieAnn and Lucy has really touched my heart.

  26. Such a beautiful tribute to your girls. Know in your heart that they're together once again.

  27. Our Dearest Kim.
    We knew when the time was right -you would tell us the story of CarrieAnne.
    Your heart would find the words to say- and our hearts would be ready to listen. We are here now.
    The tears are falling from our eyes as we read, because we know your tears were falling as you wrote. I know it must have been hard to see as your typed the words.. When you hurt,, we hurt..
    Your heart has been through so many journeys for each of your Goldens-
    They each have a story. Right now we are saying thank you for taking the time right now to tell us CarrieAnne and Lucy's story. In life we cannot take anything for granted,,, that everything will work out the way we wish,,, and dream about, but that does not stop us from trying does it Kim.? You are an example of putting yourself last, and trying so hard to make good come out of a tragic beginning.
    In your journey of taking Lucy and CarrieAnne,,,you had a dream,,,, you had a wish, a goal,, A wish for each of them to overcome their fears,, and feel loved.
    In the short time you had Lucy-- she knew you loved her.,, I know she felt it in her heart... Even at the end.
    And with CarrieAnne- your bond between the two of you could never be broken,,, I know in her heart she always waited to hear those words, that would bring her home so many times,, even from the secret puddles where she played. She knew you and Carl loved her Kim,,,, she had her place at Golden Pines,,,,,, leading the pack and running along side Sheba,,, She had everything a Golden would ever want...
    I know your heart hurts,,, You feel regrets,,, No reason to Kim,, all that you did for CarrieAnne was from love,,, She knows it,,, if CarrieAnne could give you a message,,,, she would say,,,,"its all good,,,,and I know your hurting, but I am fine.",, and "thank you"
    Thank you Kim for sharing this story. We are here. Please don't stop talking,, and let the tears fall.
    tweedles and georgie

  28. I saw your post this morning while I was at work and I told myself to wait until I got home to read it because I knew my tears would flow. I'm glad I waited. As I read Carrie Anne's story I couldn't help but pull Sully a little closer. We loved Carrie Ann she had a beautiful smile, she was golden. Gentle nose nudges to you.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully and Robin

  29. What an ending to your brought me to tears.... So touching.

  30. My very favorite posts of yours are always the life stories of your sweet babies. Each life is so precious, so important. You have made such a huge difference in so many lives.
    When you mentioned Rudi, well, it is so hard to believe it has been 3 years! I know she held such a special place in your heart. [holds]
    Thank you so much for sharing CarrieAnne and Lucy's story. I know you were emotionally spent after writing such a lovely tribute. But, it helps us also to give the due value to their lives.
    We will remember them, fondly.
    Home, Carrie Anne, Home....What a comfort that must have given her over the years.
    Gus' Mom

  31. I, too, have tears in my eyes reading your story Kim. It brings me back to the very day that I lost my Big Guy. Leaving him that day...after going to the vet...the hardest day of my life. I understand every single feeling you describe here. My heart goes out to you. I believe CarrieAnne was happy with you and is glad she had her home with you. Here's to a peaceful weekend. xo Jeanne

  32. I'm crying, of course. And just in case you're not tired of reading it, bless you.

  33. Like the others before me I am in tears reading about Carrie Anne and Lucy. You made a difference in the lives of these two sweet girls and they are now watching over you and waiting to be reunited once again at the Rainbow Bridge. They knew they were loved!

  34. Kim I could hardly finish reading CarrieAnne's and Lucy's story - tears were just rolling down my face. God bless you for granting all of your senior and non-senior rescues a chance at living. We readers now have a better understanding of what CarrieAnne meant to you and your furkids.

    Thank you for sharing with us and your heart with your dogs.
    Nadine, goldens Neeli & Elle

  35. Dear Kim, Such a tender story about Lucy and Carrie Anne. Your touching tribute to Carrie Anne brought me to tears-but every time you lose a beloved pup, I cry. You are one in a million, as is Carl-truly a jewel! Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with us. Sending lots of love and hugs to you and the pack.

  36. Oh Kim, thank you for sharing Carrie Anne's story. So beautifully written, with so much love. You made me feel like I knew her. Thank you.

  37. Kim - Thank you for sharing that story. Many tears here as I read about CarrieAnne and Lucy who had such tough start to life. No doubt - CarrieAnne found love and happiness with you, and you found a well of love in her. By giving your heart to Lucy and CarrieAnne, you helped a wonderful pair of dogs and won their love. I know how much you miss CarrieAnne, and that is a testament to the bond that you built with her. Sending lots of love.

  38. Beautiful story, Kim...and yes, we are all sobbing and blubbering. But thank you for sharing that beautiful story and i am so glad I got to read it. I know that all the dogs have the most wonderful life that they could every have...with you.

  39. Thank you for sharing Lucy and CarrieAnne's story with all of us. As I read it, I could feel your pain and sadness. In time, you will realize what a tremendous blessing you were to these 2 beautiful girls. Thank you for all you did for them and for what you do for the others.

  40. Oh Kim, what a wonderful life you give all your dogs. Thanks for sharing CarrieAnne and Lucy's story. It bought tears to my eyes. It bought back memories of my own past dogs too. Take care.
    No worries, and love, Carol

  41. oh my dearest kim
    it was not too long.
    never is it too long.
    i treasure your time and words with your dogs. ALL of them.
    and carrie anne was to me the epitome of what golden pines is all about.
    love to you my golden girl... the human with the golden heart and doggy soul.

  42. I very much enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for sharing. You did the best for Lucy and CarrieAnne.

  43. Oh my gosh. Tears.... What a beautiful story.

    Monty and Harlow


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