Monday, November 10, 2014

Loving Molly


I was at a dinner party with a group of friends last evening and one particular couple and I were discussing the topic of our dogs. After years and years of love and devotion, they recently had to put down their fourteen year old beloved pet this past year and in exchanging stories about pets, I found myself sharing my story about Molly. They had read anecdotes and seen pictures of her on Facebook, but didn't know some of the details of my trials and tribulations with Molly, my thirteen year old basset hound and black lab mix.


I was scrolling through my blog today and I realized that I don't write about Molly much here. I did write about her back in 2010 when we went through a horrible medical experience together. One which resulted in me having to make a decision about whether to put her down, or spend $5,000 on a surgery that looked promising in some aspects, but held no promises for either of us in terms of her quality of life. A story I am happy to say, had a happy ending of a full recovery for Molly.


I was thinking this morning about that difficult time I went through with Molly and realized that I understood why, despite the fact that I talk about her all the time with my family and friends, I never write about her...

Because I don't need to.

Because a lot of the time, writing is therapeutic for me and my connection to this dog is so pure, and so untouched by the unsavory elements that normally affect personal relationships, that there is no need to process my feelings about her. There is no fighting, no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings, no family drama, no unfulfilled expectations.

Just love.

And a mean, pure love.

I never had children of my own. That's a long story in itself for another day. I saw a posting recently on Facebook, not from anyone in my family, or close friend circle luckily, in which several comments were made in response to a woman (without any children) who said that her dogs are like her children. The responses went on and on about how a dog, or any pet, is nothing like having a child and that people need to stop comparing being a pet owner with being a parent. I have read stuff like this before in articles and such, but this particular thread really got to me.


To begin with, Molly is like a child to me. Yes, I am completely sane and as a pediatric nurse, a stepmother to adult children, and a person who has a million friends with children, I do understand it is different. I understand that while my dog fulfills many of the same desires and needs that a child fulfills for a parent, it is not quite the same thing and having Molly as a pet, no matter how much I love and care for her, will never fulfill the loss I feel from not having a child.


I also understand that this dog and I have traveled through life together for ten years together and I would guess that most people in my life could never fully comprehend what we have been through together: losing half of our former family, our home, the nights we have spent alone together on the couch...

The time where I didn't think I could care for her anymore and had the phone number in my hand for a basset hound rescue...

The Christmas Eve I stayed up all night with her when she was in agony...

The nights she stayed up with me when I was in agony...

The blizzard I drove two hours in to get her to an emergency room when she became paralyzed...

The night I stayed up trying to make a decision about whether she would be better off being put down or having a surgery that I could not afford...

The moment I saw her walk towards me several days after that surgery...


These are just a few examples of the journey we have been on in the past ten years. She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love. Isn't unconditional love what being a parent is about? Some of the comments in response to that post I mentioned above stated that until you become a parent, you cannot know what that kind of love is like. I disagree. I think as a person who has never had a child of her own, yes, I do not know what it is like to raise a child. But that does not mean that I do not know how to love unconditionally and without reservation. It concerns me greatly that as a society, we judge each other on how we love. Or that we condemn each other on the love that we do have for all living creatures.


I rescued Molly from a shelter in 2004. She has been rescuing me ever since. At the age of 13, I know our time together is limited and will come to an end much sooner than I would like. She takes medication to manage her thyroid, her stomach, and the resulting arthritis pain from her 2010 surgery. She moves slower at times and is not the spry young thing she once was. However she still has a good quality of life and so we continue on. And the thought of her being gone forever scares me. But for now, I will love her. I will care for her. I will take advantage of every single day that we have left together. I will let her love me. And when the time comes, no matter how difficult it will be, I will be by her side when she is ushered to the other side.


Because that is love.




1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I do have two children, but I also had a rescue dog who was my doggie soul mate. I adopted him when he was 2 or 3 from a shelter, and I was fortunate to have him with me for a little over 11 years. I was there stroking him and telling him it was o.k. when the vet ended his pain. He knew how much I loved him. He has been gone for over a year now, and I still miss him every day.

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