But I'm Not Dead Yet

The Story of Potato

One Potato Gone

She was so beautiful, Potato. I did not believe I would ever be the best friend of such a beautiful creature, or such a devoted, loving, cuddly, funny, athletic, perfect, puppy. But, for a minute, I was.

The minute was:







                                                         Full of love


I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep her because she wasn’t that well trained and did her best to destroy most rugs, lawns, shoes, glasses, remotes, cords, chargers, phones… 


The 6 months Potato lived with us, I felt deep devotion from her and towards her. I loved absolutely every cell of her being. But, she was tough. Even so, she was perfect.

In April of 2021, I was in more pain than I felt I was capable of surviving. I was reduced to crawling, bearing any weight was excruciating. My spine doctor, at the time, Dr. Kuppasamy, didn’t have an available appointment for two weeks. Eventually, I was able to walk in using crutches, but my right wrist and thumb need to be replaced, so I was in ridiculous pain when I got there 2 weeks later. Ridiculous pain is less than excruciating pain, just so I’m clear!

Kuppasamy didn’t have any openings for facet injections or ablations for my severe spinal stenosis for at least 2 months. I have lived in pain for most of my life, due to various conditions, but this pain did me in.

I waddled out of the doctors office in the same ridiculous pain, but now with very little hope for it to end.

I drove away looking to run my car into a bridge. I was completely, miserably, lost. In that moment, my future looked worse than my past. I didn’t find a bridge.

The only idea I had to give me any reason to live was to find a dog who could support me both physically and emotionally. I have promised my family that I will not end my life, still, that day it was so hard to keep that promise.

A service/emotional support dog was something I’d been considering for a couple of years, and now it seemed like this was the time. 

Baby Potato on the day I adopted her adorable self

I adopted a sweet, healthy, mini Golden/Berna Doodle bundle of adorable-ness from Bailey’s Ranch in Peoria, AZ. She was absolutely beautiful. She loved to cuddle on top of me and gave great little hugs. She loved water and I couldn’t wait for the day I could take her swimming. She went with me everywhere, melting hearts and making friends and keeping me alive by her sweet presence. She was always glad to see me when I cam home, which was sincerely the main reason I needed her. Our little Shitzu/Llassa Apso ran from me when I walked through the door. It was so insulting! I’ve been told I’m a tad sensitive… Potato absolutely gave me a reason to live. I had to keep her alive!

Potato was a healthy 2 month old puppy when she went to be trained as an Emotional Support dog at Dog Trainer US on Peoria, AZ. She was returned to me 3 1/2 months later with the worst case of Giardia, an intestinal parasite, my veterinarian had ever seen. A few minutes after her arrival to her forever home, while still bouncy and happy, she had explosive, bloody, diarrhea. The delivery trainer mentioned, after her explosion, that, “They noticed she had a couple of loose stools earlier that day.” However, almost every time I visited my puppy at the trainers she had diarrhea. I was told it was just her developing digestive system. I am immensely mad at myself for blindly trusting that answer. 

Two months, two Veterinarians, 5 trips to a Vet ER and thousands of dollars later, she tested negative for Giardia, but too much damage had been done by the parasites when she was so young. I kept our yard and house bleach clean, our other dog and our cat did not get infected. Giardia is highly contagious.

However, my puppy died at 10 months old because she had 3 loops in her intestines, a condition caused by parasites, which blocked her food, among other things. This was a $27,000 parasite, in more ways than just the Giardia.

The emergency veterinarians did everything they could including major surgery to repair her intestines. She barely survived this surgery. She needed another aggressive surgery that had a 50% chance of survival. If she did survive, her quality of life would not have been a quality life. Even while I held her barely alive body with tubes in both nostrils and IV’s attached to each foot, she wagged her tail and tried to give kisses. I asked the doctor to please ease her suffering as soon as frikkin’ possible, she peacefully passed away while I loudly wailed and sobbed and clung to her sweet body. My husband, equally devastated, clung to us both, while the doctors and nurses tried to stop crying in the corners.

For two weeks after this, I stayed in a dark room and tried to keep on going. I didn’t think I’d make it out. But, I have. And now it’s time to tell the story of Potato.

I’ve reached out to Dog Trainer US, where she did her live-in Emotional Support Dog training, to discuss this directly, one phone call and text were returned, my last email and messages were not. 

Be careful when choosing a trainer.

This is one of the worst things I’ve lived through and if it wasn’t for the support from Julie at Bailey’s Ranch, I just don’t know what I would’ve done. A couple of weeks after Potato died, Julie had an idea for another puppy for me.

The collar remains forever after the pet is gone

The collar is always left behind…

She replaced Potato with a mini golden doodle, Geoff. And Geoff is awesome. I am over-protecting him a little due to the trauma from losing Potato so violently. But I love him just as much.

I sincerely don’t want another person to lose their puppy this way. Sincerely, be very careful when choosing a trainer. It’s a life and death decision apparently.



The Geoff Gallery

Lord Geoffrey (GEOFF!)

the moment we first met



The best dance partner


The Little Potato Poopy



  1. Judy Rollings

    I hope your story is widely disseminated and justice is done. I am so sorry for all the suffering that you and Potato and your family endured. 🙏❤️

    • Karen Burns
      Karen Burns

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart Judy, for your thoughts and time to read and comment on the post!!!!

  2. Elois

    Dear Karen, The Lord’s creation and forming of animals TO BE OUR HELPERS is absolutely awesome. I share your grief, losing them is awful, but rejoice in Geoff, he looks like a wonderful lover and helper. love, Elois

    • Karen Burns
      Karen Burns

      Thank you Elois. I sincerely appreciate that you read this AND took the time comment with such empathy. Geoff is absolutely a lover! Love back,

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