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