Molly, We’ll Meet You at the Bridge

Molly2Since September, Molly, has been battling back from arthritis throughout her body – most severe in her hips – with our vet’s medication therapy including the miracle drug: prednisone. Over the past four months she became energized and did not exhibit any sign of pain when she walked or chased after her younger yellow lab “brother”, Jackson.

She didn’t exhibit any sign of pain as she would place both of her paws on top of the counter to surf for people food. Or sit by your side during a meal with the saddest eyes probably thinking, “You’re not going to eat all that, are you?”

Since Molly entered our family, she loved us deeply. Always was the first one at the door to welcome each of us home. At times forcing Jackson behind her; we were her family before he entered the picture. No question, she had to greet us first.

When our children came home for Christmas besides having to contend with her unruly “brother”, Molly had her paws full with canine guests: our daughter’s Alaskan malamute, Rory, and our son’s year and a half year old, black Lab mix, Jake.

Usually whenever another dog – except for Jackson who knows no boundaries – enters Molly’s domain, she would let it be known that this was her house and, more importantly, we were her family. And, another thing, don’t mess with my toys. Or my food.

This Christmas was different. I noticed she was somewhat lethargic and instead of charging at the four-pawed intruders, she would prefer to cower in a corner, distancing herself from any sort of confrontation.

Over the past week and a half, Molly spent more time plopped on the floor and less time at her favorite dining room window, the one on the right side, barking away any visitor: human, animal or a falling leaf.

On Sunday, although I managed to feed her medication to her (stuffing her pills in slices of a Twinkie with a peanut butter coating), she had little appetite for her own food. Yesterday, she stopped eating completely as I frantically attempted to entice her with people food.

After a day of observing her trying to lift herself from the floor only to have her hind legs collapse under her unable to provide any support, I knew it was time to make THE call.

A few hours later, Molly was lying on a blanket in Dr. Mary St. Amand’s veterinary office. Mary confirmed what we knew was best in our minds yet were unwilling to accept in our hearts: a life without our Molly girl.

She was sedated. We said our goodbyes, gave her final hugs and kisses and then Mary administered the euthanizing injection.

Minutes had passed before I was able to ask Mary if Molly had passed. She said she was now in heaven.

While my wife and son were in tears, I felt like the man in the Spiriva COPD commercial where an elephant was sitting on his chest making it extremely difficult for him to breathe.

Leaving the room, I glanced back at Molly asleep on the floor as the door closed.

We then returned to her home without her.

This morning though the 5:30AM routine was on schedule for Jackson: outside “bathroom-time” followed by breakfast. It was far from routine for me: I stooped down to pick up Molly’s bowl and placed it next to Jackson’s for a cupful of kibble…I removed the Tuesday pill container from her weekly medication holder…I placed both dogs’ leashes on the couch to hook them up before our morning walk.

Previously, one dog started to bark, the other would join in, oftentimes not having a clue as to why the other dog would be barking. Didn’t matter. Jackson probably reasoned, if it’s important enough for Molly to be barking at it, I’m in. And vice versa.

This morning when the newspaper delivery person tossed our paper onto the driveway at 5:50AM, the sound drove Jackson into a frenzied howl. The silence from the family’s guardian no longer manning the right side dining room window was heart shattering.

Molly, you’ve left a forever hole in our family’s heart.

See you at the Rainbow Bridge.

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