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Remembering Molly

Ten years ago, I brought this furry bundle of joy home from my local animal shelter.  I’d fallen in love with her from the moment I’d seen her.

She’d been found living on the street and couldn’t have been more than seven weeks old.  She was tiny and simply adorable.

Molly was a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.  From the moment she tore into the house, she decided that she wanted to be the boss.  Aubie took issue with that, while Pele cowed behind Aubie.  Molly instantly took to her new big brother and hounded him relentlessly.  The first night with her in the house was quite the experience, and I wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

She was pretty sick those first few weeks with some serious intestinal parasite issues.  The vet who cared for her told me not to hold out for much . . . that she probably wouldn’t make it.

What nobody knew at the time was that Molly had a stubborn streak that was a mile long.

We took her to a soccer tournament in Virginia because she was too little and too sick to board.  She was so small that she crawled under the seats separating the front and back sections of the car.  Rooster took such good care of her during the games so that we could watch Chicky play.

Molly proved the vet wrong and survived those first few, antibiotic-laden weeks.

She actually did more than survive; she thrived.

I’m pretty sure there was more than her attitude and the medicine at work.

She was experiencing the power of love, and she gave as good as she received.

Molly didn’t like a lot of people; it took her a number of visits with someone to accept the person.

She immediately loved us, though, and was a loyal and protective companion.

She and Pele had tons of fun in those early years . . . back when Pele had ruined me, and I was letting the dogs get on the couches.  Mind you, Pele had just come into my home six months prior, so he hadn’t taken long to rewrite the rules that had been firmly in place for Aubie . . . typical second-child syndrome, you know.

Molly and Pele used to fly from one couch to another during play time.  They chased each other hard and fast.  This play continued even after they were banned from the furniture.  Every time Molly got a bath, her playful streak would come out, and she and Pele would go nuts.

From the get-go, we suspected that Molly had some cat DNA in her because she imitated some feline mannerisms.

For instance, she used to walk on the back of the couches when she and Pele would play,  She also liked to rub against people’s legs when they walked through the house.  That’s something she never stopped doing, and with her thick, white fur, dark pants and dresses were not safe while Molly was around.  She also rubbed up against the sides and back of the couches.  I later grew to suspect skin allergies were the cause of this, but who knows.

After Aubie passed away, Molly immediately took ownership of the Alpha position, and she quickly let the other dogs know it.  Pele often got in trouble for getting into stuff when her short, sharp bark alerted me.  I used to watch as he would throw her dirty looks when I was reprimanding him.  They were siblings in every sense of the word.  She did the same thing to Gambit when he would go to the neighbor’s fence to smash his head through to try to get to their dogs.  Molly was the enforcer.

Notice that I didn’t say that she was the rule follower.

Not only was Molly sassy, but she was smart.  Wicket smart.

Molly and Pele were best buddies and got into some trouble together.  We firmly believe that she and Pele were the fur baby equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde.  Molly was the brains, and Pele was the muscle.

Molly loved to run . . . out of the house and around the neighborhood.  You could watch the two of them communicate silently, with just a look.  It was in that moment that they would bolt for the laundry room door . . . the one that led to the garage.  Pele would jump on the door handle, pulling it down as he landed, and the two of them would run out of the garage to freedom.  We started keeping a key in the lock because of this.  She knew when that door was unlocked, and shenanigans would ensue.

Molly hated thunder but, as the Mr. discovered one day, loved to play in the rain.  She got out of the house when it was storming, ran to the pond across the street, and looked back at the Mr. as he tried desperately to get her in.  Despite the loud booming, that dog was only coming back when she was ready.  Remember that stubborn streak I mentioned?  Yeah, it wasn’t so good during these kinds of instances.

Molly’s need for speed, coupled with her intelligence, led to one of the funniest escape antics I’ve ever seen.

Here’s how she looked from the other side of the fence . . .

To be sure, Molly kept us on our toes!

She eventually mellowed out as all dogs are wont to do as they age.

She began getting gray hair in her ears, although her face maintained its puppy appearance.  Her wide girth often had us singing, “I like big butts, and I cannot lie.”

Ha!

In the last few months, Molly had begun coughing.  We figured it was from the tree bark that she was constantly chewing out back as limbs always littered the yard thanks to the storms that Florida is famous for.  When I took her to the vet for her yearly checkup in April, I was given a couple of antibiotics for a small red spot on her gums and told that her coughing was most likely allergies.  This made sense given how she’d spent years rubbing against the couches in what I suspect was her attempt to scratch her back.

In early June, Molly threw up a few times, and one night, she pooped in the house.  Her appetite was also beginning to wane.  I decided I needed to run her in to see what was up.

The first concern was her weight loss.

The vet put her on acid reflux medicine, and a round of (very expensive) blood tests was ordered up.  The doctor was looking for liver and kidney issues; however, everything came back clean.  The vet warned me that she couldn’t rule out cancer, especially for a ten year old dog like Molly.  There wasn’t much more she could tell me without sending me to a specialist who could do more invasive and very expensive tests.

So, I gave Molly her meds and tried everything in the world to get her to eat.  For awhile, she seemed to be getting better, but when the Mr. and I left for his surgery, she refused to eat for the dog sitter.

I’m so very glad that we were able to come home, sans surgery (see previous post), because Molly’s health started taking a turn for the worse.

Her eating was spotty, and she just didn’t seem to be herself.  We chalked that up to lack of food = lack of energy.  She was still drinking.

When you don’t feel good, the water comes to you.

I tried feeding her pureed pumpkin and even baby carrot food.  This dog was not living to eat but eating to live . . . albeit unwillingly.

I bought a couple of tubes of high calorie gel and used a syringe to feed it to her.  She despised it.  I was hoping to trigger her hunger mechanism or at least keep her going until whatever she was fighting passed.

It didn’t work, and by yesterday afternoon, she wasn’t tolerating the mix of Pedialyte/water that we were giving her.  She couldn’t keep anything down, and she was having trouble walking outside to potty.

It was awful, y’all.  To watch my big, strong girl lay, confused as she worked so hard to make it to her bed was gut wrenching.

We planned on taking her to the vet this morning if things didn’t improve.  We had a lot of people praying for her, and we were praying too.

The Mr. just didn’t want to make the decision about putting her to sleep.  Doing that with Aubie had nearly done him in with the second guessing.  He just couldn’t do that with Molly, and I couldn’t blame him.

Unfortunately, by 8pm, she was really struggling.  She just couldn’t get comfortable for long periods of time.

I asked the Lord to take her gently, but alas, that wasn’t the road He led us to travel.

I got the Mr. up at midnight, fearing that she was about to go.  He sat with us for two hours, and we spoke words of love into her soul.

We told her how much we loved her . . . what a wonderful dog she had been . . . how much we would miss her . . . that it was okay to let go.

She was stubborn though, and she would not give up.  By that time, she could only lift her head, and she repeatedly looked back at the Mr. to make sure he was still there.

The Mr. went back to bed around 2am; he had to go to work in the morning.  I grabbed my yoga mat, a pillow, and a blanket, and I nestled close to her with my arm around her neck.  She was at eye level with me.

I dozed off for about 45 minutes, and when I woke up, she was still taking ragged breaths.  It was obvious that she was not registering anything though; she seemed to be in a catatonic stage.

I sat with her another hour before things suddenly changed.  I yelled for the Mr., and he came running out of the bedroom.

Y’all, it wasn’t long before she took her final breaths.  It was the hardest thing I have ever watched, but I was determined to be with her to the end.  I think that she became aware of us at that point.  I hope we brought her comfort in her last moments.

And then, at 5:15am, she was gone.

I can’t type this without crying, but I need to process it, and this is the only way I know how.

The loss I felt in the moment she let go was devastating.  Although I am glad that her suffering is over, and y’all, she really, really struggled, I immediately grieved her absence.

This furry baby had been a part of my life for ten years.

That’s a long time.

She and I had a strong bond that was forged from understanding.  She was a unique blend of cray-cray that I totally identified with.  She was anti-social, and I can be that way too.  She used to hide under the bed when she got scared, and there are a lot of times when I retreat to my home to get away from things.

Brokenness met brokenness, and love bloomed.

That was my Molly.

I think that’s why we took such good selfies together.  I’m often teased for the stuff I post on social media, but I am so thankful for all of the pictures I have.  They paint a picture of my life with Molly, our closeness, and how empty of a space her passing has left.

I’m grieving hard, y’all.  This pill is a bitter one to swallow.

Yesterday morning, I woke up, and most things were right with the world.  Today, mine is turned upside down.

I am so grateful that we had Sunday, which was her last good day.  She got outside and enjoyed the sun (and selfies).

I trust God through all of this, as I see His hand of mercy through the events that led to today.  It’s not a coincidence that the last vet to treat her wound up being the first one who saw her and gave her such low chances of surviving her initial health crisis.  She even remembered Molly after all those years.  God had brought us full circle.

Still, my heart is shattered.

So, if you see me, and I seem sad, please understand why.

I need time to adjust.

I don’t know how long it will take me to get used to only seeing two dogs at the door when I come in . . . not hearing her shrill bark when I pull into the garage after work . . . not having her soulful eyes stare back at me when I lean in for a hug.

She used to do this thing where she would put her front paws on your shoulders when you reached down to pet her.  She was the only one of our dogs who could sit back on her haunches.

Gosh, but I’m really going to miss that.

I am praying that God allows our pets to be in heaven.  I want to be reunited with my sweet girl one day.

For now, I’ll let myself feel the hurt of mourning, and I won’t apologize for it.

I know that time will dull the sharpness of the pain, but for now, it’s razor sharp and is cutting through every fiber of my body.

I thank the Lord for leading me to her that fateful summer day ten years ago.  I pray that I was as faithful a servant to her as she was to me.

And to you, Mama Girl, I thank you for always trusting me, even when you didn’t understand.  They say that a dog is man’s best friend.  Well, girlfriend, you certainly earned that title.

I’ll never forget you, and I’ll always love you.

Love,

Mama

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3 Responses

  1. I sat at my kitchen island and wept for you – so very sorry for your loss!! It hurts so much – I know!!

  2. {{{Hugs}}} I am crying for you, too. I am so, so very sorry. Our furbabies take a huge part of our hearts with them when they cross over the Bridge. We’re never the same. I am praying for your hurting heart.

  3. I put off reading this because I knew it was going to be hard & dang it if I’m not sitting at work with tears streaming down my face.
    It’s NEVER NEVER NEVER easy…
    But man, what a wonderful life she had FULL of love & JOY.
    What a blessing you were to her … what a blessing she was to you.
    Praying for you as your house is missing a big part of it right now.

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