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Saying Goodbye To My Fur Baby Best Friend

Today's post will not be an easy one for me to share, but I invite you in and hope that by the end, maybe you've felt how strong the bond can be between a pet and their parent.

Sixteen years ago, I had just gotten married. Life was new and exciting as my new husband and I settled into our apartment together and began to build a life as a married couple. After a few months of marriage, we started to feel the "itch". Not the baby itch, the puppy itch! I've always been a caretaker and nurturer by nature and one of the things I was looking forward to the most was sharing in raising a puppy with my husband. 

We adopted Molly, a toy fox terrier. She was a gift from my dad and we instantly fell in love with her. How could anyone not?! Therein lies a truth that would remain for over 16 years. Every single person that met Molly, fell in love with her and she them. She grew with us. She moved from Maryland to North Carolina with us. She became our family and we treated her as such. Oh, how this baby was spoiled!

We absolutely loved including her in everything we did. We were those people. She became our entire world. 

We spoiled Molly and our second puppy Ellie for about 6 to 7 years before we had our first human baby and just as we suspected, Molly fell in love with our babies. 

When we first brought our baby boy home from the hospital, Molly was obsessed with him. She could not get close enough. We lovingly referred to her as "Mama Molly" or "Mama Hen" because she truly took on that role. When the babies would fuss or cry, Molly would let out little whimpers by their cribs until I came to the rescue. 

I know that it's common for people to say they believe THEIR dog is special and I would never debate such a sentiment. I've experienced it myself and know for sure that Molly was one of the purest, kindest, most gentle and loving animals alive. There was never a moment she showed her teeth, nor would she even know how to do so. She was love, embodied. 

Fast forward and over the coming years, I would experience some medical problems that would require quite a few surgeries. Every time I was laid up in my bed, Molly was by my side. She curled up next to me every night and slept in the crook of my underarm, as close as she could be. For 13 years we slept that way. Even when we adopted our second fur baby, Molly kept her spot next to her mama. 

The above picture was taken a couple months back when Molly was still with us. She was still getting around and had some bladder control, however, a bad eye infection was taking the last bit of her remaining eyesight. She was fully deaf and had developed significant arthritis. The weeks that followed this picture would prove to be some of the most difficult as her health continued to decline at a rapid rate.

When your dog is nearing the end of their life, you have to be ready to make that decision for them. It's not a decision that comes easily and I struggled with it for months. I knew her time was coming as she began to suffer more and more. I knew that keeping her with us was self-serving and while I never felt "ready" to let her go, I knew the time was approaching.

It was recommended by a friend to call Dr. Tillman who would come to our home and help Molly to pass on, peacefully. After my initial email to Dr. Tillman, he called me and I couldn't answer. I let the phone go to voicemail and I waited two days before I listened to his voicemail. It took me another two days to return his call. He was the kindest, most gentle man and assured me that he would take such special care of our sweet girl.

We set up the appointment and he came to visit us on August 14th, a Friday afternoon. My two boys were home from school, playing and doing things that little boys do. If you're interested in knowing how we talked to our 8 and 9 year old sons about Molly's passing, these are the two books that helped the most:

My sweet friend gifted us The Rainbow Bridge and I purchased the book by Fred Rogers. We spent some time the night before and read these books aloud. We had some really precious conversations with our boys about death and what we believe it will mean for Molly.

We explained to them that we believe we will see Molly in Heaven one day. We believe she will be there with us and we have no reason to think otherwise. When my sons heard this, their faces lit up and I could see the comfort spill over them. For my boys, knowing that they will see someone they love again in Heaven brings such an immense peace- a peace that surpasses all understanding, as the Bible says. It truly is a transforming peace and these two books helped to guide our discussions in a very sweet way. We talked about how God longs to be our comfort during times of sadness and we need to lean on Him. 

I can't go into too much detail about the passing of our girl, because to be honest, it's still very raw. I haven't personally been able to fully process that day just yet but I will say that it was peaceful and it was her time. I will also say, it was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My mom and dad came over to help out with our boys and be a support system for us. I was so thankful they could be there with us as they loved Molly as their own.

Molly gave us over 16 years of her absolute best. She poured her heart into our family and we were her entire reason for living. She gave us her everything and in her final days, I felt it was the least I could do to help take away all of her suffering and give her one final gift: freedom.

The amount of love it took for me to make the final decision to help Molly pass over the rainbow bridge is something I will never be able to explain. It's a selfless love. You see, I would choose to keep her forever. I would choose to never let her go. I would choose to continue to see her lying in her little bed. I would choose to hand feed her. I would choose to clean up her incompetence many, many times a day. I would choose to tenderly pet her with the softest touch. I would choose to put my face right in front of hers so that she could see that it was me and tell her how much I love her. If it were up to me, she would still be here.

I believe it was up to Molly this time. I believe she let me know that she was tired and worn. I do believe it's an act of love to help your beloved fur baby pass and while I wish she were still here and I miss her tremendously, I can look out into my backyard where she is buried and know that we gave one another everything we had. 

She taught me how to love our new fur baby. She taught me how to train. She taught me about the bond and depth that can exist between a human and an animal. Because of Molly, I can love more deeply and I will forever be grateful for that. 


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