Posted on February 17 2016
How Losing My Beloved Canine Amber Turned Into The Wonderful Beginning of My Personal Journey With Forever In My Heart
Amber entered into our lives after we had lost our beloved poodle, Buster. Buster had been with the family for 15 years and the entire family was devastated when we lost him. The children had grown up with him and were taking his death harder than the rest of us.
From the first moments that we brought our 3-month-old Amber home, she knew we were her family and that she belonged here. German Shepherds always pick one person as their pack leader and Amber chose me as her leader.
The first time we left her home alone as a puppy, I was afraid that she would do some damage in the house. But when we got back home, there was Amber, lying on the couch with her stuffed animal and my t-shirt. After that day, it became a habit of Amber’s when we would leave her home alone. As soon as she saw us leave, she would run upstairs and get a piece of my clothing and she hold onto it until we came back. I think my smell comforted her when we were away.
Amber was full of the purest love. She loved people as much as people loved her. She would come to work with me on a regular basis. Our customers would come in, not to do business with us, but to say just hi and play with Amber. Three years later, our customers still talk about her beautiful spirit and what a wonderful dog she was.
Amber started to have health problems early on. She was a picky eater, had skin problems and was frequently getting hot spots. At first, the vet diagnosed her with allergies and digestive problems. Then when all those tests came back normal, the vet told us that she had Autoimmune Disease, which basically covers everything under the sun.
Since no one could figure out what was really wrong with Amber, she didn’t get any treatment and her condition continued to worsen.
At the age of just 3½, she lost the usage of her back legs. Another vet diagnosed her with Degenerative Myelopathy, a progressive disease of the spinal cord usually found in older dogs. However, when we did her genetic testing, we found that she didn’t even carry the gene for DM.
After visiting several more vets, and did even more testing, we got the same diagnosis: Autoimmune Diagnosis. To make Amber’s life easier, we bought her a doggie wheelchair. It was suppose to help her move around on her own but she hated it. Everything we tried didn’t seem to work for Amber and we began to feel hopeless and desperate.
One night when I was feeling particularly desperate, I prayed to God to help me find what was wrong with my dog. I knew for sure it was something else, not what the vet's were telling me.
The next morning, I came to work and starting to search on the Internet for myself. I don’t exactly remember what I put in the search, but the first website I stumbled upon was an article written by a vet in Ohio. In the article, the vet wrote about how over vaccinating can kill the function of a dog’s thyroid. As I read through the article, I began to cry. Every symptom the vet had listed, Amber had. All these vets we had visited and not one had tested her thyroid levels.
They all simply assumed she was too young too have thyroid problems. When I called the vet to test her thyroid level, he told me that was not what was wrong with Amber BUT that it was my choice if I wanted to waste money.
When the results finally came in, the vet didn’t even call to tell me. He was probably to embarrassed to face me. In the end, my husband had to go pick up the results. And the result? Amber had a non functioning thyroid.
When she was a puppy, she received four vaccinations at the same time and it literally killed the function of her thyroid. 3½ years and thousands of dollars later, we FINALLY found what was wrong with our dog. She was immediately put on 1200mg of supplements per day and started to improve slowly. Since she had gone for so long without treatment, a lot of the damage was non-reversible. She began to walk again, however, she needed a lot of exercise to rebuild her muscles and regain strength in her legs. To help her with exercising, we decided to get another German Shepard. That’s how Nero became a part of our life. Amber improved immensely with Nero around. He always respected and looked out for her. Nero knew that she was weak and felt that it was his job is to protect her and make sure she was okay.
We were lucky to have Amber around for 3 more years. Eventually, the neurological damage that she had previously suffered from got to her.
Amber used to sleep on the bed with me ever night. Nero never did. He usually ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor, he enjoys the cool tiles. On October 1st 2012, I went to bed with Amber as usual. Out of nowhere, Nero jumped on the bed and laid next to Amber. He stayed next to Amber the whole night much to my surprise. In the morning, we woke up to find her belly all blown up. At first, I thought it was her stomach. We immediately took her to the vet and found out that it wasn’t her stomach, her bladder was paralyzed and she could't release urine.
That was the last night she ever spent at home. Nero had known and had said his goodbyes. That night was the first and last time he has ever slept on the bed.
For many years, I wanted to design a piece of jewelry that we could sell and give back to the animal community, but could never come up with a good idea. After losing Amber, I searched for cremation jewelry and came out empty. Most of the cremation jewelry available on the market it's fashion or costume jewelry, not fine. The small percentage of the existing fine cremation jewelry are so small that it’s hard to put any ashes in and by looking at the design, you’d know exactly what it was meant for .
I decided to design a line of handmade silver pendants that were going to be a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear that has the option of either holding cremation ashes or just be a remembrance pendant to commemorate someone that has passed. That was the beginning of Forever In My Heart.
Since the main purpose of creating this line was to give back to animal community, I thought it would be a good idea to create an online store to benefit nonprofit, no-kill animal charities.
Since our launch, we have expanded our inventory from just the Remembrance line to other animal themed jewelry. We recently added a Custom Design Center that offers our customers the option of creating beautifully unique pieces to fit all their needs.
Whether the customers buys jewelry from our newly expanded inventory, from the Remembrance line or a custom designed piece, 40% of all of our profits are donated back to our charity partners.
We recently created a memorial page on our website to commemorate all of the loved ones that have been lost, whether they are human or animals, but not forgotten. It would be our way to allow his or her legacy to live on and honored by everyone that visits our site.
If you have someone that you have loved and lost, and would like us to include them on our page, please email us a picture with a short description and we will be honored to include them.