Pam and I got the bad news yesterday that Molly has a rather advanced malignant carcinoma. We were told to keep her comfortable as long as we can, but that at some point very soon, we will have to make the decision to put her down.
I have thought of little else since. For the most part, Molly has been able to keep her condition from us, showing few outward signs of distress. In hindsight it does explain some things. We just thought that her refusal to climb stairs, and her occasional bathroom accidents were just because she was getting old. Now we know just how sick she has been. Despite the cancer, she still eats well, still wags her tail with delight at the slightest morsel of attention she gets from us, still looks at us with those wet brown eyes full of love and loyalty. It’s hard to believe that she is dying.
So, we will watch her carefully, and cherish each day she has left. Thirteen years ago on Christmas Eve, I laid on the floor at Gayton Animal Hospital and held my first Golden Retriever, Murphy, as the vet put him to sleep. He had been with us 14 years. It was one of the saddest moments of my life. Molly will be different. I don’t know that I have ever loved an animal more than I love Molly. Although in 11 years she has never once uttered a word to me, we have communicated in a thousand other ways. She has a powerful intuition about all of us, she senses when we are upset, knows when something isn’t right and instinctively comes to our rescue with a nudge of her cold wet nose, or with a ball in her mouth. It’s the sort of presence that can’t be replaced.
God knows how hard our lives can be on this earth, he knows that there will be periods of depression and hopelessness for all of us. So, he allows us the privilege of a dog. When we experience their unconditional love and devotion we are reminded that things will get better. When I look at Molly I sincerely hope to become half as good a man as she thinks I am.