Carmen – Dallas, TX

ESRA Special Needs Springer

ESRA #2016-127 TX
Age: 4
Gender: Female
Color: Black and white

Before we launch into Carmen's story, watch this video and try to picture this little girl in this condition, abandoned and alone in a city park on a stormy day.

It's hard to imagine how frightened, helpless and hopeless she must have felt. But she is now an ESRA dog and her future will be improved beyond her wildest dreams! Here's how her ESRA story begins:

Following hundreds of posts on social media, ESRA volunteers in Texas heard of a Springer in dire need of rescue from the Garland shelter. The following morning, ESRA sat anxiously in the shelter's parking lot waiting for the doors to open. They found Carmen, filthy, matted and covered in mud from head to toe. One of her hind legs had been amputated, and the other was lifeless, dragging behind her. She was unable to stand or walk on her own. At a slight 22 lbs, she was emaciated and severely dehydrated. She was completely confused and terrified!

Her new life began as soon as the shelter paperwork was signed.

At her initial vet visit, she was treated for a raging urinary tract infection and also diagnosed with possible bladder issues. X-rays showed no fractures or recent trauma to her hind quarters. It was clear that her condition was not caused by a recent accident but was likely a chronic condition that she had lived with for quite some time. She was immediately referred to a neurologist.

Currently the neurology team is running a battery of tests — bloodwork, additional x-rays, expensive imaging (MRI/CT Scan) and a possible spinal tap to determine the best treatment plan. The vet believes she has some feeling in her hind leg therefore there is a little room at this point to hope for improvement.

We are now in a holding pattern as we await results of the tests and the neurologist's recommendations of a treatment plan for Carmen. Watch for updates on this page as we learn the next steps — whether it be surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation, or maybe even a set of custom wheels so she can maneuver the world in style.

Now that ESRA has alleviated Carmen's sense of helplessness, the most remarkable thing everyone has noticed about this pocket-sized Springer is her feisty and exuberant personality! The vets are stunned by her strong-willed and extraordinary determined spirit. It has been reported that "She is strong as an ox and can shoot across the yard on her belly in the blink of an eye!"

With an indomitable spirit and ESRA behind her, we can't wait to see Carmen take on the world in style — Carmen style! Your donations will make all the difference in this precious girl's life!

UPDATE 3/22/16: Carmen has appropriately been nicknamed Carmen Esperanza which most of us recognize means "hope." The MRI and the CT scan of her spine revealed marked spinal cord compression, deviation similar to scoliosis and atrophy, all of which contribute toissues with the flow of spinal fluid. The neurologist believes that Carmen was born with these abnormalities. However more than likely a subsequent traumatic incident (e.g. being hit by a car) later in life was the reason for the left hind leg's amputation and the cause of the exacerbation of her pre-existing neurological condition. She has some arthritis in her shoulders, but she is not in pain. As with most recumbent dogs, she does not have full control over her bladder and bowel and likely UTI’s will often be of concern.

Unfortunately, surgery is not an option for this precious girl. Yet, the neurologist is quite confident that with intensive physical therapy along with the aid of a four-wheeled cart or wheelchair, Carmen should be able to enjoy a happy and good quality of life. Time will tell. Acclimating a dog to a wheeled apparatus usually begins with four wheels, then as strength improves, the "training wheels" can come off and the dog can "graduate" to two wheels.

Carmen's consult with the physical therapist is scheduled later this week. Meanwhile enjoy this glimpse into Carmen's delightfully playful and happy personality depite her disability.

UPDATE 3/25/16: Getting ready for PT! Carmen continues to charm everyone on the professional team called upon to help her and give ESRA guidance on her future. Yesterday she captivated the veterinary physical therapists with her darling personality and perfect behavior. They were very pleased with her emotional and physical strength and her drive to "get moving" – all attributes that will play a significant role in a successful rehabilitation plan.

Carmen was sent back home with her foster mom with a list of daily exercises – range of motion, standing/bouncing/rocking, slow short walks in a harness and/or cart several times a day, leg stimulation by rubbing, touching even massaging with an electric toothbrush! The physical therapist seems to think water therapy will be most beneficial so we'll get her on that treadmill once her urinary tract infection clears up. Her regimen might also include acupuncture and laser therapy. Therapy will begin with visits once a week, then increase to twice weekly. We also anticipate that the treatment plan will be a work in progress changing often as Carmen responds.

Her rehabilitation and getting professionally fitted for a custom set of wheels for her future mobility and improved quality of life will continue to add to the cost of rescuing this precious girl. There will also be additional appointments with the neurologist but ESRA is committed to moving forward with fundraising projects to cover the costs. Carmen is an ESRA Springer. She will benefit from the strength of our wide-ranging friends and supporters. We appreciate knowing that we can count on them to step up and offer their help!

UPDATE 4/1/16: A Preview of Miss Carmen's Future! Carmen is learning how to maneuver with the fantastic aid of wheels! She is obviously an enthusiastic student and a quick study! When this "borrowed" set is replaced by her custom-designed vehicle in a few weeks, there will be nothing to stop her from enjoying a most exciting life! Isn't she precious!

UPDATE 4/6/16: Carmen's urinary tract infection has cleared up and she has started her water therapy which promises to be very beneficial to building strength in her hind quarters. She started this week with twice weekly sessions and will graduate to several times weekly as she gains more strength.


Scroll back up to the top of her story and watch that first video one more time, then take a look at this one and give that girl a standing ovation!



UPDATE: July 2017 It is with great sadness we share with Carmen’s followers and supporters that her time here on Earth has ended.

Several months ago, Carmen’s remaining hind-leg joint became unstable, popping in and out of its socket. X-rays revealed severe hip dysplasia, which was not too surprising given its overuse -- a result of being an amputee. She did not exhibit any pain, but did lose what little function she had. Mobility became minimal. Her days of chasing bunnies, squirrels, and even bugs were behind her — things that brought her much joy. Her recurrent bladder issues became more troublesome. Her foster mom had much difficulty expressing her bladder — likely miscommunication from the brain, creating chronic urinary tract infections. She began to suffer with severe arthritis in her shoulders, elbows and even in her feet. Medical massages and acupuncture were administered although they offered no relief. The small quality of life that Carmen had once enjoyed was gradually taken away.

Her happiness and comfort always at the forefront, the painful decision was made to allow this sweet girl to become whole once more. Carmen was a much-loved member of the Springer community, but no love could match that of her foster family. Knowing her time was limited and living up to their promise to her to help her find a family of her own one day, this kind and loving family officially made her a part of their own before assisting her to cross peacefully by their sides.

From the day Carmen Esperanza arrived into ESRA’s care, she inspired hope in everyone that she met. She shared her determination and indomitable spirit with the world, and we are all richer for having known her. Fly high little Carmen. The wheels of your cart are now the golden wings on which you soar. You’ll always be in our hearts.



Dessie Botham In memory of Carmen
Jan Ybarra In memory of my angels at the bridge Casey and Emma
Amt Smith In memory of Reba
Anita Howard In memory of Carmen
Michael Rosenquist In memory of Hawk
Courtney Cook In memory of Ellie.
Karen Macias In memory of Aggie
Kerri Killion-Mueller In memory of Parker
Jean Mathews In memory of Molly and Shawn
Ronald Pelka In memory of Mr. Nick and Miss Holly.
Gary Mitchell In honor of Carmen made in loving memory of Jan Mitchell
Mark Christian In memory of our dear Edward Scissorpaws
Janet & Denny Burkenpas In memory of Mandy
Michael Tannery  
Suzanne Knight  
Ronald Pelka In memory of Mr.Nick and Miss Holly, love you, miss you.
Pat Worley In memory of Brodie, my sweet, sweet girl
Barney And Janie Gulley In memory of Chance
Monica Smith In memory of Nicky, Loved by Charles and Lori
Loreen Nolte  
Despina Botham In memory of Molly and in honor of Lori-Lynn Clayton
Suzanne Knight  
Susan Mathey  
Victoria Polce In memory of my three sweet springer babies Arco, Patrick and Jenny
Suzanne Knight  
Susan Schulte In memory of Remy, my beloved 3-legged girl
Suellyn Walter In memory of Clinton, Chip, & Peggy. Love this little girl she is a heart breaker
Lori DiLorenzo & The Naughty Crew Of Sunflect In memory of Chuck Tate & Jack 'Pops' Hunter
Tami & Earl Morse In memory of Chuck Tate
Stacey, Kenny, And Madie SmithIn memory of Chuck Tate
Rebecca ZulloIn memory of Chuck Tate — In lieu of flowers upon Chuck's passing. He would have preferred this, given his kind and caring heart.
Timothy Lowe PhDFor physical therapy
AnonymousIn honor of Chuck
Suzanne Knight
Ray and Monica SmithFor Carmen's physical therapy
Deb Sell-PughFor physical therapy
Amy HuberFor physical therapy
Yolanta JonynasFor physical therapy
Rebecca ZulloFor physical therapy
Shirl Benton-GrafFor physical therapy
Barb DiGiovanniIn memory of Gabby, the love of my life
Jill Parnham
Stacey, Kenny and Madie SmithFor Carmen's physical therapy, love, Issy and Lola
Jan YbarraFor Carmen's therapy, love from Seth
Suzanne Ernst
Sue Manthey
Elaine Sullivan In memory of Aurora's Lady Katharine
Pat RyanFor physical therapy
Beth Fink
Ellie AnschuetzFor physical therapy
Lori MillerTo help cover Carmen's hydro therapy
Judy SchneiderIn honor of Milly, our goofy Springer that we love so much!
Crystie MongiatGo, Carmen, go!
Barbara Kephart In memory of Callie
Jennifer G. Hensley In memory of Beau, Birkie, Dharma, Big Roy, Snoops, Little Leo, Noodle
Dolores BlakeIn honor of the big hearts that open up to help sweet Carmen
Lisa Shaw In honor of Riley, also undergoing water therapy
Marlene MurrahIn memory of all my fosters and in honor of my main man Benson
AnonymousIn honor of Dad
Les ArnoldIn memory of Doc and Chelsea
Barbara Bracken
Jenine Bucker
Eileen DixonIn memory of Lisa Gillis Cunningham
Merrie and Chris CorbettIn memory of Heart our heartdog
Bridget Hafelein In memory of Berkley and Kendall
Bryan and Charlene Black In honor of all the ESRA volunteers who do so unselfishly
Marie Brown
AnonymousIn memory of Mark and Ellen Munson's Kaila May
Victoria Polce In memory of my three sweet Springer babies, Arco, Patrick, and Jenny
Maricarmen and Charles TateIn honor of Chuck Tate
Bryan GarlandIn honor of Jan Mitchell and in memory of Sam, Shasta, Boston, Docken
Kate Kyer In memory of Pablo, Sadie, Isabelle, and Silly Millie
Janet Koehnke In honor of everyone who is helping Carmen regain her joy and dignity
Martha Van Der Drift
Mary Keys
Richard Turner
Deborah Anderson
Colin McCubbinIn memory of Carmichael and in honor of Fred
Sandy Roozeboom
Pattie Nitschke
Cindy SteebIn memory of my little Isabelle
Mary Park
Debbie Shannon In memory of Joker and Bonnie, ESRA rescues
Mary Jeanne WilsonIn memory of Joker
Nicole Ward
Christi CooperIn honor of Harry and Flo
Diana Taylor-Paine In memory of my Rocky Acres Springers and Clayton Nation
Mary Jo Jones
Jasz ProutyIn honor of my Naughty Girl Jar
Jan Lussier Miller In memory of Pearl, Tilly, Casey, Stanley, Buff, Sophie, Toby
Lynette Hartnell In memory of Scout and in honor of Gunner and Major
Vicky Brogan
Gayle Mizner In honor of Kim, Audrey, Barb, Beth and all rescuers
Tracee McCaslinIn memory of Frisco Booger Bear
Bruce and Sue Weddell In memory of Howard and Mona
Lori DiLorenzo and dJJIn memory of our rescue pups in heaven
Sandra Arrison
Debra LeeIn honor of all the Springers we love
Iris PinchakIn honor of Montana, my ESRA rescue
Suellyn Walter In memory of Clint, Chippy, and Peggy
Jennifer McGrawIn memory of Vince and Midas
Anita HowardIn memory of my dad
Jody Bower In memory of Cocoa and Molly
Alyssa Dermott
Rosine Ackerman In memory of Doppio
Kathleen Engberg In memory of Lydia
David De Chelard In memory of Pippy and Reggie
Katie LawrenceIn memory of the Lawrence Angels – Gwen, Puppy, Sadie and Shelly
Dessie BothamIn memory of Frasier
Lori L. BerryIn honor of Carmen – keep the faith pretty girl!
Eileen TurnerIn honor of Clayton Nation
Tracy TormaIn memory of Springers Shamrock and Emily
William Farrell In memory of Lucky Willie Butler
Corene FinleyIn memory of Frieda Witt
Melissa Campbell In memory of Mary Kessler Barr who loved the Springers
Patty CollinsIn memory of Andy and Addie
Linda Rich
Julie Noyesn memory of Cookie Cohen
Paula McIlleceIn honor of Clayton Nation
Valerie KlaernerIn memory of Bono, my Springer and my angel
Nita WatsonIn honor of Rob and Dana Hanlon's Amber
Debbie Southworth In memory of Alex, Cayley, Babycakes, Amelia, Gazer – my ESS loves
Lauri Dykhuis
Jessica MuenterIn honor of Clayton and all the others who need help
Cap Horning
Shelley DearminIn honor of Carmen – your love for life is heartwarming
Jacque Losi In memory of all those who could not be saved – In honor of Teddy, Chloe, Diego, Jessie
Cary Branthwaite
Andy and Isabel SheeterIn memory of Sampson
Alice CooperIn memory of Max, Maggie, Josie and Jake
Carolyn O'Connor
Shari ForbesKeep your spirits up, Carmen!
Carol BarnhartIn honor of Alice and Meredith
Cynthia Lighter
Marjorie WeidtIn memory of George…still missed every day!
Elizabeth Hall In memory of Tia and Tiger
Paul and Rebecca Hill In honor of Reagan and Boomer
Catherine SandyIn memory of Fred, Bonnie and Sweet Pea
Mary TomasIn memory of Striper
AnonymousIn memory of my dad
Margaret DonimyIn memory of Brutus, Freddie, Chester, Shawnee, Sammy, Sheba, Mackie
Kerri Johnson
Tony and Mary DavieIn honor of Clayton's Magic Journey, CGC
Cynthia GornbeinIn memory of Lady
Peggy OutlyIn memory of Mr. Kitty
Gary Mineer
Jo Frances McCawley
Theresa Reyer
Christine ZajacIn memory of Tucker
Diane Earl
Barry and Gail Breckle In memory of sweet Springer Kaila Munson, forever in our hearts
Robin NelsonIn memory of Ruger
Leann GertsmaIn memory of Lilo
Beverly MundorffIn memory of Angel
John VaclavikIn memory of our ESS Steeler
Ronnie RinerIn memory of Gus, Freckles, Oete, Gracie
Diane TinsleyIn memory of my husband Tim and his love for Springer Spaniels and my ESRA Adopted Boy Buddy – We miss you both dearly. Love, Diane and Ellie
Maria Morrell
Daniela GalarzaIn memory of the Angels of Springerville
Sherry VerseIn memory of Willow and Molly
Diane Nagel
Martii WallahanIn memory of Mollii, my Princess, and in honor of all my Springers
Heidi Thomas-DunnIn loving memory of Turner Dunn
Ann Dean In memory of Molly, Sadie, and Miles
Lisa Tozer
Kris SveeIn memory of Lucky, our tri-paw
Nicole Ward
Kristy Besecker
Teresa Benoit HillierIn memory of BoJangles and Spangles
Linda ProutyIn memory of my past Springers
Ellen Munson In honor of everyone who has ever loved a Springer
Sheri Leider In honor of Riley, another tri-paw who is an inspiration to all that meet him
Rene PizzoIn honor of Gail Breckle – thanks for all you do for ESRA
Christi Cooper