In the fall of 2002, our beloved border collie/sheltie mix, Lady, passed away peacefully in the kennel while we were vacationing in New Hampshire. It didn't take long before we began looking for another dog, as the emptiness in the house was hard to handle.
At that time, Joel was only 10 months old, so we needed a gentle breed. Golden Retrievers fit the bill, so we began our search. Weeks upon weeks we searched online for a dog and went to adoption days through local rescues. No dog was "it" for us. Then, on December 28th, I visited the site of a Golden rescue and saw the description for Molly (Ginger, then). It was mom and dad's anniversary, so I had to wait for them to get back from their dinner date, but as soon as mom read it, we were both certain she'd be perfect. Mom called the fosters immediately and set up a time to visit right after church the next day. Right away, we knew she was the one. The kindest, gentlest dog I'd ever met. She was so good with Joel, too, which was a necessity. We found out that after we called, they had gotten several other phone calls. They wanted to keep her, but knew they had to give her up, and they told us we couldn't have been more perfect for her.
Molly had a rough beginning. Up until her rescue, she was tied up in the backyard all the time, she was flea and tic infested, and didn't know how to play. We had to teach her how to fetch, we had to prove to her we'd feed her and she didn't have to be protective of her food, we showed her that the broom was nothing to be afraid of-- we weren't going to hit her with it. In a short amount of time, she began showing her true Golden personality, and this is what we fell in love with over the years.
She was a sweetheart from the time we got her until her death. She was a trampoline for Joel when he was still a baby, and put up with so much roughness from him, never hurting him. Even this past week, when we knew she was sick and dying, she remained sweet, only grunting if we accidentally pet her where it hurt. I've never seen a more loving or forgiving dog.
I think some people may think my sorrow and tears are too excessive, but anyone that has ever known Molly, knows I didn't just lost a dog, but a friend and companion. She was there when I first started driving, got my license, graduated high school, began college, graduated from community college, went to Mexico and Russia. She was there when I came back from two summers away at camp and when I got my first job. So many "big" things in my life happened when she was here.
Even to the end, I feel like she was staying alive just for us, because she loved us so much. But, because, in return, we loved her so much, we had to put her out of her pain. This past week has perhaps been the most painful in my life. Watching her suffer was so hard. Just over a week ago she was perfectly normal and healthy, and the next thing we know she's diagnosed with cancer and just given a few days to live. She would look like she was going to die, and then she'd look like she might get better.
I am thankful we were able to spoil her during her final days. She got eggs, hot dogs, and chicken (some of her favorite foods), she got to roam the park, she got a long car ride, she had friends visit her, and it snowed on her last day. I can't help but know that that was not only God's blessing to us, but to her. While it wasn't the ideal way to start the new year, I'm glad we had one last Christmas with her healthy. I'm glad she didn't pass while my mom was on vacation. And I'm glad my brothers and I are on break from school so that we could maximize our time with her during her final days.
My dad is not an animal person, and would never let on that he loved Molly. However, last night, he even shed a few tears. If that's not evidence enough of the kind of dog she is, I don't what is. He never cries over dying animals!
The past week has been hard, but I imagine the coming days without her presence will be even harder. Her absence in my room at night while I sleep, no one by the door to greet me when I get home, no cute face looking out the window when I come downstairs in the morning, no clicking of nails on the floor to greet visitors at the door, no bark when a squirrel runs by the back door, no one to eat dropped food while cooking, no lapping of water from her bowl when I let her in from outside, all remind me of the painful emptiness. They remind me she's gone.
I am so thankful for the 8 years we had with Molly. I don't think we'll ever find as good of a dog as she.
Miss you, baby girl! You're always loved and never forgotten.