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molly-close
In happier days — she loved playing with this foam football. She’d bring it to us over and over until we got tired of throwing.

One of the worst things about being a grownup is having to do hard things.

With "little sister" Gracie napping on her back. I think she liked it.
With “little sister” Gracie napping on her back. I think she liked it.
We did one of those things today. Our beloved 14-year-old yellow Lab, Molly, had to be put to sleep. She has been part of our family, a loving and dear pet, since about 2000. Both girls grew up with her and remember her as a bouncy puppy. Watching her, knowing the pain she was in was heartbreaking for all of us.

We knew it was the right time, but it was a mere eight months ago we lost our sweet Gracie. And, even though we remain positive, with Jim still in job transition, it was almost too much for us to handle.

I struggled with guilt; I would look in her eyes, so trusting, and wonder if she knew what we were about to do. But thinking of her suffering was the difference. You cannot love someone — even a dog — and want them to suffer. And to allow her to continue in a life with no quality would have been cruel.

molly-charlie-pogo-380x380Both of the girls came over and said “Goodbye” to her, with hugs and tears and memories as they saw her for the last time.

A couple of weeks ago, we were at my sister’s house in Arkansas. Sitting in her pool, she mentioned Molly’s condition. While we knew that it was inevitable, sometimes you just know the limits of what you can bear and I told her so.

So Sara, my sister, offered to take care of it for us, to actually take her to the vet. That was today.

I’ll miss seeing her, even if the last few weeks, she’s mostly laid on a towel on the kitchen floor. I’ll miss watching her chase and retrieve the foam football and bring it back to us to do it all over again. She was calm and quiet and a sweet presence.

all-4-dogs
It’s not easy to get a photo of four dogs together. You can barely see Charlie behind the patio chair, but I promise he’s there.

This week has been extra hard; knowing what was to happen, anticipating the loss, all the while knowing it was necessary. Even knowing something is the right thing, that it’s best doesn’t make it easier to bear.

Real love is doing what’s best for someone else even when it hurts. Even when it puts you on the verge of tears and makes you pretty much cognitively impaired for the better part of two weeks.

Jim with Charlie (left) and Molly at the lake house in the summer of 2010
Jim with Charlie (left) and Molly at the lake house in the summer of 2010

Several days ago, a pastor friend of mine reminded me there is theological support for the fact that we’ll see our pets in Heaven. I find it comforting that I’ll see her again, and when I do, Gracie will probably be napping on her back.

Rest in peace, sweet girl. You were loved, you were cherished and you are missed.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. beth g sanders

    Thank you so much, Denise! You obviously share our love of the fur babies, and I appreciate hearing from folks who have been there and empathize. It means a lot. She did have a good, long, full life and was well-loved by all.

    We lost our little Gracie on Christmas Day! Certainly put a damper on our celebrations, but, we were in Jonesboro with family, and, as always, they helped lift us up. I’ll never forget my mom, who is 78 and cannot stand the cold, standing outside, freezing with us while we buried Gracie in her back yard. And my sister, today, taking this burden off our shoulders. Grieving today, but grateful.

  2. Denise

    Oh, Beth. I feel your pain. All of us animal lovers have suffered like this over and over through the years. First loss, my childhood dog Shorty. Had him from 5th grade through college. Lost him the spring I graduated, got married, and moved to Virginia. Our first “married” dog, Bubba. He died about six weeks after our first child was born. We enjoyed the plucky Cairn Terrier for 11 years. Then, just the past two Christmases we have lost first Boots, our 18-yr-old cat, followed by Beau, our 16-yr-old Jack Russell/Beagle mix. We hold our current dachshund Lucy (possibly the best dog ever – but don’t tell the other animals!) who is 10 close and dread when she begins to show her age. We’ve also mourned a pet baby groundhog, Herman, that we only had a few weeks. So, just to let you know, we empathize. Praying for your tender heart. Thankful for the way you love your animals and give them the most excellent life.

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