Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Dog Mollie

Our Dog Mollie
Edited from the memory page for Home to (Kathleen Cooney D.V.M. and Associates)

Mollie was the ultimate Bassett hound from nose to tail. In her lifetime of 14 years her vigorous tail pounding (or wagging), nose-glued-to-the-ground sniffing, rock-n-roll back scratching, melodic 'opera' howling, house shaking snoring, 'friendly' cat stalking (Oh, just to get a sniff..)and first rate trash-can-dumping, she disarmed (and charmed) everyone with her big brown eyes and sincere expressions of apology for any clean up that had to be undertaken.

She spent her doggie life not with just one family but as a loyal companion for two families. She joined our son's family when he was first married and Mollie came along as an attachment. Her sweet comforting presence during several moves and the addition of three more companions, now 6 yr. old Kyran and 4 yr.old twins Chase and Avery was patient and always entertaining.

Mollie lived with me and John off and on during this time and then for good about 5 years ago. She was one of several pets we inherited from our kids temporarily for one good reason or another. It always seemed that one of our pack of family animals needed a place to bunk for a while. Mollie always fit in, entertained us and sometimes drove us crazy with her tendencies to find the open gate, garage door or distracted person so she could get out. She always seemed to figure out how to find her way into the neighborhood to visit friends and to follow any and all the tantalizing scents that were abundant.

The last few years she had lots of help in that we were blessed not only with our son's three but three more,6 grandchildren within 5 years. Our daughter added another set of twins, Cory and Tyler plus the youngest, Amber, who arrived 2 years ago. Mollie was always the best ‘baby sitter’ around, letting babies and toddlers sit on her and crawl over her. Since she was a very large dog with very short legs they couldn’t push her around very easily. She always knew her own mind.

The most consistent way of getting her to come home after she slipped out any available door was to yell treat! And she would come running, her short legs propelling her forward and her ears flapping in the breeze, a big grin on her face. She had lots of dog and cat friends including her buddy, Corondo (Siamese cat) that she knew the longest and dog ‘cousins’ Magic, Bailey and Annie as well as a cadre of cats including Dante, Romeo, Calla and Lily, and most recently Taffy and Cookie.

She had an unpretentious personality and made herself at home anywhere she was. But she had her moments. One time when she went on a trip with her my son's family she was caught standing on the dining table gobbling up the salad, a tossed salad!! We heard her howl every day before dinner. She seldom barked but when she did it sounded like it originated out of a cave. It was deep and resonant, enough to discourage any intruder.

In those years we had our black lab/cocker spaniel, Magic. So when Mollie and our daughter’s Vizsla Bailey visited we joked that we were having another ‘3-Dog Night’. Soon Annie, another Vizsla, was added to our daughter’s family. No more ‘3-Dog Nights’.

After my husband, John and I retired we moved to a horse property. Mollie loved it. When she slipped out the gate that anyone could have left slightly unlatched she got to stop traffic on the road in front of the house during rush hour. She needed to check out the road kill and often visited her boyfriend Buddy, a boy Basset who lived across the road. Buddy’s family finally just put Mollie inside the fence with him until we came and got her.

Mollie’s health was pretty stable through most of the time we had her. She did suffer from arthritis and pretty early she developed fluid filled sists that occasionally needed to be checked out and drained or removed. About a year ago one of them became abscessed. We put her on antibiotics and she got better. We learned that she also had developed a heart murmur.

Then she had another episode and we thought we might lose her. We tried another round of antibiotics and put her on pain pills. She bounced back for a while. During this time I tried to clean and doctor the abscess as gently as I could. But it would not heal. I even put a large ‘bandage’ on it (on her rump)pretty much every day. But soon when I got the bandages out she would see me coming and she would tremble and crawl under the nearest table. She also started to hide in a walk in closet or in a bathroom.

She still howled for her food even though she began to leave most of it in her dish. As most of you dog lovers know the time to let a beloved animal go is very hard. But for a while when I was caring for her it seemed she was still happy being a dog. I realize now that her most recent escape into the neighborhood included a visit to Buddy across the road and may well have been a good-bye visit.

My goal for her was that she would just have a good time. Other family members had said their good byes. But I held on, I just wanted her to know we loved her and we wanted her with us for as long as she could manage it.

At this point I called in well known veterinarian Kathleen Cooney who came out to evaluate her. She agreed to do in home euthanasia if and when we wanted her to. I was so grateful for Kathleen’s help during this time. Soon Mollie did let me know that she was ready. Kathleen's compassionate help meant everything to us. Mollie went peacefully while lying in front of our fireplace. I read a good bye note that her first ‘mom’ had written and John and I cried as we listened to 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'. Her first family had made the decision to donate her to C.S.U. They felt it was a fitting way for Mollie to give so that other dogs could live healthier lives.

When our young grand kids have asked, “Where’s Mollie,” we have told them that she had been very sick and had died but that she was in heaven, a place that we couldn’t see but a place where she could run like she used to, where she could play with her cat and dog friends and where she would wait for her humans, a place filled with love. And that was enough.

But she had wiggled her way deeply into my heart as I accompanied her on her way to the Rainbow Bridge.

Thank you, Kathleen, for giving me the chance to share just a little about this very ordinary but very special and beloved member of our families.

October 13, 2009 Pam (Grammie Pammie), Anjie and Jamie, Kyran, Chase and Avery Wolf; Jennifer and Miles, Cory, Tyler and Amber Thorland; Pam and John Wolf; Buddy, Bailey, Annie, Denali, Lily, Cookie and Taffy
P.S. After she died John left the gate to our back yard open in her honor.

1 comment:

  1. This one brought tears to my eyes, Pam. I haven't had a dog in a long time, but I still remember how hard it was to give a beloved dog up after getting so attached. Maybe that's why I still resist getting another pet now.