This evening, Molly went to live with God. Before the vet administered the final medication, I laid on the floor and cradled her and told her how much I loved her; how blessed I was to have her in my life and that she was a lucky girl… She was going to live with God… and Goldie and James. I tried to keep my voice light and positive.
I didn’t want to scare or alarm her, but when I said “James,” her head whipped around, and she looked me in the eyes and held my gaze. I know she understood. It took my breath away.
James found Molly at the end of our ranch road, 15 miles from town. She was emaciated, and she’d been shot in the ear with a BB gun. Who does that to a dog? Before we took her in, Molly had four foster families. I know because I called the phone number on her microchip. I spoke with her last foster family… I have nothing nice to say about them or any of her foster families.
Molly was a strong horse of a girl, part Great Dane and part black Lab. After James died, I sometimes wished he’d taken her with him because I couldn’t control her. To give you an idea of how big she was, when she stood on her hind legs, front paws on the fence around our Little House, we were eye to eye. I’m 5’ 7.” That’s a lot of strong-willed dog to manage.
Molly hung on James’s every word. He was her Prince Charming, and if he was at the ranch, he was rarely out of her sight. With just a nod of his head, she did whatever he asked. Me, on the other hand… Nothing I said had any influence with her.
The spring after James died, Molly tore the ACL in her right rear knee. I took her to a specialist, and they did surgery. For months I rehabbed Molly as she walked on a leash. The first two weeks she could only go out to use the bathroom. Gradually she could take a few more steps, then a lap around the house… still on a leash. Over the next three months, she progressed to walking halfway down our dusty ranch road; then all the way down and back; then down and back several times, eventually hiking up and down our Texas Hill Country terrain. It was during this time Molly and I bonded. She became dependent on me for everything, and I learned how to manage her like James had.
I’ve known since Christmas that Molly’s time was near and always told her how loved and valued and appreciated she was; that she’s given me strength. Even today, as Molly’s strength wained with every passing hour, she wanted to be with me… to please me. Even as I guided her to the car, and helped her into the backseat, she was strong and stalwart, but when we drove through the gate… Somehow she knew it was time. She began to let go.
As I drove the five minutes to the vet, I told her how special she was. I kept turning around to look at her as she went from standing on the backseat, looking out the window, to her head drooped, posture slouched and drool streaming from the corner of her mouth. By the time we reached the vet’s office, she couldn’t sit up. We carried her from the car on a blue canvas stretcher.
Who do you know that lives to please you like your dog does? Molly had waited for me to make this decision. She’d stayed strong until she knew she could let go. I hope she knows how loved she was and that she took my heart with her.