Good-Bye Molly Girl
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Good-Bye Molly Girl
Dear sweet Molly,
Eight years ago I adopted you, a long haired dachshund/terrier mix, from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. You were a funny-looking little girl. Long in the body like a dachshund, with the face of a terrier and the hair and coloring of a schnauzer. No one seemed to notice you as they walked past your cage oohing and ahing at the other orphans in there. Puppies seem to be what people prefer, not some middle-aged lady like yourself. You looked worried and frightened, the very picture of anxiety.
I stopped and poked my finger through the wire door and you looked at me with those concerned eyebrows only you know how to display. I didn't take you home that day but thought about you the remainder of the week. It was days before I got back, but with a sigh of relief I found you still there, my soon-to-be Molly Girl. (To enlarge the photo of Molly Girl, click on the photo or link)
The endless time we spent together over the years became a significant part of my life. You were a source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of joy and fun. You trusted in me. I gave you all the gentleness and warmth in me. Our bond was strong; our bond was tight.
Sure, we had our ups and down with your emergencies from cancer surgery to bladder stone removal in the loving care of our long-term vet Dr. McLemore at the Gateway Animal Hospital in St. Petersburg. But he always fixed the wrongs, didn't he Molly, just like he did for Sam and Frankie when they went through their traumas. (To enlarge the photo of Molly Girl, click on the photo or link)
You were the best snuggler, girl. Snuggling you was the only time I ever felt your body truly relax. Tension was your middle name but our hugs always took all that away. I would say to you "Molly kisses!" or "Give me a kiss, Molly!" and you would gently and, oh, so lightly lick my face just once. Your tongue felt like a feather brushing ever so blessingly. Molly knew what it was to mother and be mothered.
The years passed, and you became an old girl. I would call you "my little old lady." You became crabby with your sister Frankie and would snap at her if she came near your bowl or treats. You loved Frankie really, but you were just being expressive. We understood then, as we do today. You meant well. Frankie lets you go for those times and knows you really cared. She misses you, Molly, as I do. (To enlarge the photo of Molly Girl, click on the photo or link)
About nine months ago, we saw signs of you losing control of your bladder. You would wet in the house, something you had never done before. We forgave you each time, Molly, and reassured you it was okay. Then your back legs started to go. You would walk some at first and then drag just one leg behind you, not stopping. Soon it was the other back leg dragging. The last several months you lived in diapers because you couldn't get your back legs going at all except on carpet.
You'd sit up on your butt and crawl with just your two front legs, dragging the rest of your little body behind you. You didn't seem to mind. You weren't in pain, so we managed for the past several months that way. It was like you were your own wheelchair.
The last months of your life I worked from home with you at my side always there watching my every move and me watching yours. If I left the room you would worry and cry. I could rarely go off to the kitchen or leave the house without you crying. Therefore, often I'd stay at your side. "All is well Molly" I would tell you. "Mommy is here."
Yesterday, you came down with a severe bladder and kidney infection which caused you to bleed internally. You stayed very still. You'd stopped eating and finally drinking. I took you to one vet and he treated you with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication, but no improvement so last night we drove with you to a world-class clinic, the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Emergency Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most up-to-date animal hospitals in the country, with close to a hundred veterinarians working out of there at any given time. We knew for sure they could diagnose your situation in a definitive manner.
Your doctor's name was Manuel Boller. He's from Zürich, Switzerland. There was also a wonderful vet tech assisting him. I don't recall her name, but what I do remember is she seemed to have enough love in her heart for all the animals in the world. We felt reassured we had found the best facility for our little girl.
After four hours of examination, the doctor concluded you looked uncertain with a likelihood of an ever-deteriorating condition due to kidney failure, likely caused by the bladder infection which had traveled up to your kidneys and possibly other organs. You were found to have high blood pressure and a heart murmur. Whatever was compromising your nervous system had caused such damage you'd lost not only use of your back legs but insensitivity to your own functions. What with your age, the odds did not look good for complete recovery or restoration of your health. Most alarming was dehydration and the internal bleeding. Your limbs that once trotted around the house following my every step had, in the rear, lost their muscle, feeling and usefulness. Your kidneys could have failed independently, which is common in old girls like you, Molly, but all that had yet to be determined. Right now you were facing a fight for life. Dr Boller, whose credibility for me approached 100% in terms of intelligence, heartfulness and sensitivity, thoroughly examined you and concluded you only had a chance of partial success. Chances were unsure whether you could even be where you were only two days ago.
Based on all the facts, it was time to come to one of the hardest decisions in my life, and that was to say good-bye. After eight years with you, Molly Girl, I can say you never looked more peaceful than when your moment came. I believe the doctors had presented the situation thoroughly and fairly, and the conclusion was the odds were against you. The momentum for this began 48 hours ago, but the upside was you did not appear to be in pain. The inescapable conclusion was ever-diminishing quality of life. My little girl's health was failing precipitously at this point.
We held each other close during the final moments of your life. I was there with you, my little girl, so you wouldn't be anxious, afraid or alone. "Mommy's here now," I told you. "I love you, little girl." You looked up at me with your same trusting eyes of eight years, but this time I didn't see those 'concerned eyebrows' anymore. I held you snug at the very end, with your cheek next to mine, your head buried deep into my neck so your eyes were out of view of the syringe. "I love you, Molly. It's going to be all right."
I heard you take your last breath as you left this world in my loving arms. You slipped peacefully and without pain. I felt our bodies merge at that moment as if they became spiritually one. I was with you, Molly. I kissed your face and closed your eyes and within a few seconds your body became lifeless and you were gone.
It had not been an easy decision, but finally I knew that I had to help you this one last time. I wanted us to escape, and escape we did. In my heart, we got to run.
I feel so sad that I will never hold you again and get to stroke your soft and silky coat, but I know in my heart that my "little old lady" is finally at peace.
Good-bye, Molly Girl. You will live forever in my heart.
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