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~ AMANDA, 1987 - 1999 ~

This is Amanda, our registered ShihTzu. Amanda was part of our household since Erin got her for Christmas in 1987. Erin had wanted a cute puppy to name after the "Miss Louisiana" for whom I had been her pianist, so "Amanda" it was!!

She was the sweetest and smartest dog we've ever had! She knew many tricks, including dancing!! (We even have it on video with her wearing a TuTu!) Her favorite thing for us to do was throw a ball or squeaky toy for her to retrieve, especially her favorite squeaky toy which I bought as a "coming home gift" for her and which she loved from the very first day we got her until she took her last breath.

Amanda loved getting groomed, for we could tell she was "feeling pretty." And we would TELL her how pretty she looked, and she knew what we were saying. She would give us doggie kisses and prance around literally smiling.

When Erin was young, she used to dress Amanda in baby clothes and get her old baby stroller out and literally stroll Amanda in our front yard. (Similar to how I used to dress my kittens and puppies and stroll them in my doll buggy, now that I think of it. WOW...HISTORY WAS REPEATING ITSELF... *grin*) One year Erin strolled Amanda in one of our little town's parades, and everyone thought that was very precious. It really WAS cute and was the same event where Erin entered Amanda in the "Cutest Dog" contest sponsored by the Caney Lake Festival, and Amanda WON!

We were sure proud of our "cutest dog"!! She knew she had won, too, from the special "smile" on her face. (She literally WOULD smile at us and curl the left side of her upper lip. You can see it in a couple of the photos below.)

When Erin was in grammar school and riding the school bus, Amanda would sit and wait for her arrival every afternoon by the carport door. She knew exactly what time to go to the door to wait. In the mornings, in case it would arrived early, I would watch for Erin's school bus while she was gathering her things or brushing her teeth, etc. When I would announce "BUS!," Amanda would bark and jump around in excitement, making sure Erin knew, and this was her way of telling Erin "bye."
We also learned that Amanda recognized people's names and knew exactly "who was who" by name. One day while Erin was away at school, I said to Amanda, "Where's Erin?" Amanda cocked her head in a thoughtful gesture and immediately bounced down the hallway and into Erin's room and looked around and yapped and searched for her favorite "people." We learned she knew each of our names individually!!

She had her favorite people, of course, but she never really DISLIKED anyone. We have a friend named Clara who would come over once a week. Amanda LOVED Clara probably as much as any member of the family!! She knew which days to expect Clara and would wait by the door for her! Another neat quality about her was that she knew when to be quiet or when to be excited and active. (Clara even pointed that out to me one day.) She was the sweetest dog I've ever known, so perfect for our family, and we were really blessed to have had her in our lives!

Amanda had skin alergies and would sometimes have to have cortisone shots to treat it. As Amanda aged, her health started failing. We almost lost her in January of '98 to a complicated anemia problem. She literally passed out one day when the doorbell rang and became overly excited. While running to the door to greet our friend, she passed out just several yards from the door, and I ran screaming to her side, for I did not think she would come back to life. (She even lost control of her bladder during that faint, which was a REALLY scary sign.) But she started stirring again soon after that, and I rushed her to the vet right away. We never got any real answers to what had caused her "spell," but we did learn she was anemic and seemed to have a blood problem.

Amanda was in the dog hospital for several days and on an IV and getting a blood transfusion for the anemia. She was so listless and would not eat. I felt that not only was she physically sick, but that she was HEART-sick grieving for her family! (This took place while Erin was away in the Navy.) The workers at that animal hospital were very caring and would allow me to go spend time with her up there, coaxing her to eat some of her favorite foods and talking to her, but her eyes were so sad and she still seemed so listless.

I prayed that God would spare her, and one day I told the vet I thought I needed to try taking her home again and see if she would be happier there. He could not tell me if she would "make it" or not, but as it turned out, bringing her home to her loved ones was the best medicine for her, and to our joy, she quickly got better and actually lived a full, happy life for another entire year, until she was stricken with cancer and fast-growing tumors. That was a heartbreaking situation for a sweet little dog who had given her complete loyalty and heart to us and who had been born to give love! But I literally looked at that precious last year as a very SPECIAL gift from God!!!! She was definitely a cherished member of our family, and we loved her soooo very much!

The day of Amanda's death, my Jim and I had the opportunity for some quality time with her before she took her last breaths. I guess that sounds "funny" to say we had quality time at a time like that, but we really did! I got to hug her and tell her over and over how much she meant to me and to THANK her for what she had meant to our family and for her loyalty and unconditional love. Her big old black "button" eyes and the lick she gave me told me she understood completely...

When I decided to do a memorial page for Amanda, I was not sure what I would say. But I decided to just let my thoughts flow. I know there were many times when I took that sweet dog for granted. Being often busy and tired, I probably scolded her at times when I shouldn't, but I hope that she always knew how very much we loved her and what she meant to our family.

Thank you for letting me share my special page with you about our precious ShihTzu, "Miss Amanda Panda of Louisiana." (Remember, she had been named after a Miss Louisiana!) And if you have a sweet dog or other loved animal, please give it a special pat just for me and Amanda, will you please do that?

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