It was a bright and sunny autumn day in Philadelphia. I remember that clearly for some reason. I woke up to a text from my sister asking if I wanted to adopt a dog with her. Ummm what?? We already had a pup, an adorable and SUPER smart shitzu named Mindy. I texted her back and reminded her that we technically still lived at home and had roommates (read: our parents) who may not want a second a dog. Ashley quickly texted me back and said that roommate #1 (read: my dad) was already almost on board...we would just need to work on roommate #2 (read: my mom); not that my mom was opposed to having another dog, I just don't think the thought ever crossed our minds. Where was this coming from anyways, I wondered...
...It turns out that my sister and my dad were at a car show with our beloved Mindy. The car show was sponsored by the Bucks County SPCA so there were volunteers out and about raising awareness for animal adoption. You can guess what happened next...
That same afternoon my sister texted me I found myself meeting her at the SPCA in Lahaska, PA to "visit" the rescue animals on site. A little visit couldn't hurt, right? Ha! I think we all knew right then and there that my visit meant a guaranteed adoption. And it just so happened that while all of the pups were precious, there was one who stood out to us. Her name was Ginger and she was a long, lanky shitzu mix with reddish brown fur. She had big eyes complemented by the most gorgeous, long eyelashes. Her tail was pure fluff. She was obviously going to be the newest addition to the Wilson household.
It turns out that it was easy to convince my mom that we needed another dog. Mindy was getting older and she needed company. It was as simple as that. So a few days later I was signing the paperwork for Ginger and a few days after that my dad and Ashley brought Ginger home to meet my mom and Mindy. Ginger was tentative at first. Being a rescue pup from a puppy mill, she had never played with a toy. She had never been on a walk. She had never cuddled up with a human. She had lived her life in a cage and didn't know about the outside world. The world where man's best friend is a pup. Fortunately, Mindy acclimated to having a buddy around pretty quickly and Ginger never once tried to take over as the alpha pup. My parents, Ashley, and I were smitten with her. By the end of our first week with Ginger, we learned a few things. First things first, even though Ginger had red fur, her name just didn't seem quite right. We tried a few different names, but it wasn't until I was flipping through a Harry Potter book for inspiration that we came upon Molly (cue Molly Weasley). We also learned that Molly had a heart condition, and since we didn't know her exact age (the vet's best guess was seven), we really didn't know her prognosis. That was almost eight years ago.
In the eight years we had Molly, she never once let us down. Molly was there for Mindy in her final year, keeping her company until Mindy was ready to go to puppy heaven. After Mindy passed away, Molly would quietly search the house for her first friend, completely aware that Mindy was gone forever. A few months later, after mourning the loss of Mindy, the search for a friend for Molly began. After filling out the world's LONGEST application, we successfully adopted a pure bred shitzu puppy from a small dog rescue operation. Mia was skittish, submissive, and afraid of EVERYTHING. Everything except for Molly. Her and Molly bonded instantly. They were a match made in heaven. I really think it's rare for two rescue pups to become the best of friends, but that's exactly what Mia and Molly became. Molly and Mia would snuggle up together, eat together, beg for treats together and go out together. Unfortunately, at first Mia didn't know how to play with toys or go for walks either. In time though, Mia became playful and sassy, whereas Molly remained docile and good natured. This is not to say that Molly didn't have a bold personality. She was lovable, sweet and downright hilarious. She also had the patience of a saint. Mia would pretend fight with her and Molly would simply let it be. When Paige and Avery came to visit, and later, Connor and Audrey, Molly would be apprehensive, but she would never snap or lose her cool. It took Molly quite some time to learn to snuggle and cuddle with humans. She would often overheat when sitting on the couch, so she would start panting and pretend she was trying out for the Olympic diving team and dive off the couch aimlessly. She took to doing this on the stairs, as well, so it didn't take long before we took away her stair privileges. Before Molly was rescued by the SPCA, her owners at the puppy mill removed her voicebox, which is quite possibly the most pathetic and cruel action you can take against an animal. This did not stop Molly from barking, however. Poor little Molly Moo kept right on barking when she pleased, only instead of sounding like a dog, she sounded like a duck. Seriously. When Molly barked, she quacked. And even though we hated the puppy mill for doing this to her, it just made us love her all the more.
Even though Molly never learned to play fetch and never accepted the leash as a method of transportation, Molly was the best pup she could be. She loved unconditionally and grew to adore snuggling with humans. Although Ashley and I moved out of my parent's house a few years ago, we still visited Molly and Mia all the time...I think my parents always thought I was missing them when I really needed to get my puppy fix in ;). Snuggling up with Molly after a hard day at work or when I need a fill-in snuggle buddy for all the times Brendan is overseas is most often what my heart needs most. Unfortunately, over the past few months, Molly's heart condition grew worse and old age really began to have an impact on Molly. But she never once complained. She continued to be the saint of a pup she always was. Being a stubborn pup we knew that Molly was never going to willfully give up. She'd rather stay in pain than leave us...at least that's what I firmly believe.
And so together as a family, my parents, Ashley and I decided today was the day that Molly should join Mindy in heaven. After hugs and kisses from my mom and sister, she died peacefully in my arms with my Dad by my side. We buried her next to Mindy, while Mia looked on, undoubtedly knowing that her best friend would be looking down on her from heaven.
Rest in peace, Moo. We love you SO very much.
The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close — we two — these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.