Happy Friday everyone. I apologize in advance for bringing the mood down, but I just I couldn’t write about sports this week.
By the time the vet finally arrived at our house on Monday morning at 11 AM, it felt like a relief. My dog Molly had decided to stop eating meals as of Friday at dinner time. We knew her health was failing and she was declining quickly, but when a yellow labrador refuses to eat you know it’s over. Of course, we weren’t ready to give up just yet. We tried a can of chicken. We went and bought special canned wet dog food. She was nearly tempted to eat it, but ultimately her instincts kicked in and she refused to eat. On Sunday, the weakness from not eating set in and I was carrying this overweight yellow lab up and down the deck stairs and into the house. When the vet arrived at our house, all that was left was to cry and hold Molly as a sedative kicked in and that wagging that tail of hers slowed and ultimately stopped.
I apologize for the sadness porn, but I think it’s something that most of us can relate to. It’s not my first time either, because we did this a few years back with my cat, but this felt different. For us, Molly and her cousin Jezebel helped define our family. Molly was going to be 13 years old in June. Her companion Jezebel will turn 13 in January. For more than the last decade — both before the kids arrived and for a great deal of time after they arrived — we’ve been a two-dog family. It felt like a part of who we were, at least until we lost our girl Molly this week.
My boys are nine and six, and while they’re sad, they’ve done remarkably well dealing with the loss. In some ways, they’re doing better than I am. They’ve rallied around our other dog helping us pick out some treats and toys to give her as if a pig’s ear would help negate the loss of her hetero lifemate of 12 years. I honestly don’t think Molly and Jezebel had been separated for more than 15-minute periods in their entire lives. You know, about the amount of time it takes to give each one a bath? The kids are understandably sad and dealing with one of their first up-close interactions with death and loss. But they’re still figuring out their identities, and the tumult of that process is more normal for them.
Time will heal the hurt, but I don’t know that we’re going to wade back into the dog life anytime soon. All I can think of is that I lost one 13-year-old and have one. I don’t know that I can ever do this again, and while it’s been amazing to have these two wonderful animals as a part of the family — together — for more than a decade, the idea of losing them both in a similar window of time is almost too much to take.
Still, despite all the negativity, I can’t help but look at pictures like the one I put for the header and know that it’s all been worth it. Even all the gut-wrenching final four days can’t erase all the amazing times and all these dogs taught me about myself. The way they gently sniffed the baby carriers when we brought our kids home from the hospital. The way they’d wait outside for me to get back from my runs. The way they’d walk around the yard with my toddlers without ever knocking them over. Dogs are the best and that’s why losing them is the absolute worst.