Almost six years ago we welcomed a dog into our lives. The moment I saw her picture I wanted her. She looked exactly like my dog I grew up with. Infertility was something we were just starting to talk about. We were past the six month point in which I should have become pregnant and it had not yet. My husband was on nights so I was alone in the evenings. We had initially planned to have a baby then a dog. I pleaded with DH to let me get this dog and he kept telling me we had agreed to have a baby then a dog. I remember asking him "What if there isn't a baby? Who knows how long it will be?" I needed something to love and a dog was what I could achieve. He gave in.
We had been told she would be a perfect running dog. She was good on a leash and that she knew basic commands. She was house broken and a sweetheart. She had been treated for worms but that was done with. She was good with cats. Her match couldn't have been more perfect. Her name had been Callie when she arrived at the foster home but her foster family thought she would be more adoptable with the name Molly.
We met our sweet Molly at her foster home as she was a rescue. When I met her in person she didn't look like my childhood dog, but she was sweet and did I really expect a twin? She didn't know her name was Molly or Callie. Into the car she went. We thought we would get to know her by taking her for a hike since she was "good on a leash." She was a mess. She was pulling us so hard we could hardly keep up. She was wrapping herself around trees and well was generally not good on a leash. The hike ended about 100 yards up the trail when she got into an altercation with a Westie that was off leash. In her defense the dog was a pain in the you know what and the owner had the nerve to tell us we should control our dog (who was on a leash at least). We brought her home feeling a little discouraged but excited. The cat.... was not impressed. The cat stopped eating and was throwing up from the stress of the new addition. The vet informed us that our 9 month old puppy was likely at least two years old. Our new dog "who was good on a leash" kept growling at our new neighbors and I was ready to send her packing. The rescue guilted us into trying just a little longer.
The cat eventually agreed the dog could stay. The neighbors she was growling at turned out to be dealing drugs. The obedience training and a harness at least allowed us to get to the point where she could walk on a leash if there were limited distractions. Although she passed obedience classes her final test she played dead when she was tested on the sitting command and she sat when she was to perform her "play dead" trick. If she was with an older dog she could even go off leash. She had a knack for escaping the backyard and running away. We got calls from the grocery store pharmacy down the street saying she had made it into the store. We got calls from the golf course one mid summer afternoon saying she was swimming in the pond. We got calls from the high school up the street that she was playing with the students in between exams.
She was excitable and cowardly all in one. When the fire alarm when off all 55 pounds of her would run into our room and hide under the nightstand next to our bed. Since she was taller than it she would lift it up off of the floor. We joked that we would never sleep thru a fire alarm with the racket she made with the nightstand. She loved to play soccer in the basement and chase balls. She unfortunately was a jumper and had no body awareness so sometimes knocked poor babygirl over.
When Baby Girl arrived life changed for our Molly. She wasn't the center of attention and her play time became more solitary. Molly loved Baby Girl but Baby Girl loved the cat Chester and well Chester loved no one. Molly was much calmer with Baby Girl then anyone else. When Molly was napping Baby Girl would cover her with a blanket and pat her. Molly calmly allowed Baby Girl to plaster her with stickers. Molly would patiently allow Baby Girl to feed her dinner gently taking one kibble at a time and resisting overwhelming the toddler and just eating out of the bowl which she could easily have done. This winter Baby Girl started throwing snow balls and balls for Molly. They were starting to see the mutual benefit of being friends.
Thru all of this Molly has always had gastrointestinal issues. Since we got her it wasn't uncommon to be awoken in the early morning hours to her throwing up her dinner from the night before. Each time we would go to the vet they would alter her diet but nothing seemed to make it go away. The symptoms would come and go stress seemed to make it worse. Stress for Molly was a small change in schedule. If we fed her less at night and more in the morning that seemed to help as well. NO table food which was hard with a toddler was mandatory. Over the last six months we found it harder and harder to control. It got to the point where no matter what we did she threw up every morning without fail. We took her to the vet again last week and they told us that she was in early stages of kidney failure. Not to worry to change her diet again and this would make the vomiting go away and keep her healthy. The change in diet was a disaster- she threw it up but that night she was up more than once. By Friday she wasn't eating. Again not out of the ordinary especially since we had changed her food and it was making her sick. It wasn't unusual when she had a stress to go a day or two without eating. Friday night I was home alone with Baby Girl and DH was at work. Molly started throwing up water. I texted DH at work saying it didn't look good. Baby Girl cried hysterically and I tried to calm both of them telling them both that it was going to be OK. At one point I asked Molly what was wrong and Baby Girl said "I think she is afraid to throw up." Baby Girl talked to my parents on the phone while I got Molly settled in the kitchen and her kennel cleaned up. Saturday morning she was keeping water down again but not eating. Sunday morning she was drinking and keeping some of it down. By Sunday night she wasn't interested in eating or drinking. Monday back to the vet. A new answer a new prognosis a new plan for recovery which included a night at the emergency vet. She was diagnosed with adrenal Gland insufficiency and they started her on treatment. We told Baby Girl the dog went to the hospital and the doctors would make her better. By 6 PM we were given devastating news. She had an infection in her abdomen and that surgery would be required.
We broke the news to Baby Girl that Mollys heart wasn't beating and her lungs were not breathing anymore. That she was old and had lived a good life. We told Baby Girl that Molly wouldn't be coming home because she had died (at that point this was not true but would be soon). Lily looked at DH and told him to "Go get her!" We again explained that Mollys heart was not beating and her lungs were not breathing. We reminded her of my Grandmothers funeral and how she was at peace. We got Baby Girl ready for bed with me quietly crying most of the routine. When it came time for me to sing to Baby Girl I struggled to sing between the tears. Baby Girl asked what was wrong and I told her I was crying because I was sad. It was finally at that point that BAby Girl said "I'm sad too." After our hugs and kisses and reassurances that it was OK to be sad Baby Girl went to sleep and DH left to be there with Molly at her final moment. He assured me that she knew he was there. She took a final last breath and was gone. The dog that challenged us at her arrival had grown into a dog that was quirky and loved.
Its now been three weeks. The hall where Mollys kennel was feels empty and huge. When we drop food on the floor no one comes running. Baby Girl occasionally will randomly start to cry "I miss my doggy." or "I want my doggy" and we have the conversation all over. The other day she was in the hall talking to no one I could see about Molly. I asked her about it and she told me "I'm just telling Santa that Molly died." I miss my companion at night when DH is working. We agreed that there will be another dog at some point either when DH goes back to patrol or when our second child is 2-3 whichever happens first. I wont do a rescue again because the unknown of her history made getting her medical care and behaviors taken care of challenging.