Today has been a spectacularly craptastic day.
Our 15-year-old dog, Mollie, died this morning.
She died on our deck.
With me sitting next to her in my pajamas, crying.
Mollie was our sweet and sassy and spunky border collie/golden retriever mix. She was the first baby Kevin and I had - we adopted her a few months before our wedding in 2002. She was part of a litter that had been abandoned in a box on the side of the road.
She was a smart dog, a kind dog, a sassy dog. And she lived her life believing it was her job to herd everyone and everything that ever walked past our backyard. She barked at everything. And everyone. But always with a wagging tail and never out of anger.
Mollie was also really freaking cute. No. She was pretty. A damn pretty dog. We didn't know it when we adopted her but she had super long hair (she was just a fuzzball as a baby pup). We soon realized that we'd have to get her groomed (see pic above) unless we wanted her to look like a lion.
As a puppy she learned to sit, speak (no problem learning that), shake, and roll over. As a senior dog she could still speak. Loudly.
Last year after one of her grooming sessions we noticed a large tumor on her front leg. She didn't seem bothered by it - she was still chasing Jake (our other dog) around the yard, acting like a dog that was much younger than 14 years old.
Earlier this spring we visited the vet for her vaccinations so we could board the dogs when we went on vacation. The vet looked at the tumor, said it was cancer, and agreed with us that Mollie was too old to do any sort of surgery.
So we agreed to just let things happen. We would watch her for any change in behavior, eating habits, etc. And if and when those changes happened we'd take action.
I've worked at home for six years. And in those six years Mollie was my constant companion, my shadow. She'd wait for me at the bottom of the steps each morning...waiting to "go to work" in my home office. She'd spend the day sleeping behind my chair, following me to the kitchen when it was time for more coffee or for lunch.
She was my furry co-worker.
And my office is much lonelier today.
Last week I started to notice that Mollie seemed a bit "off." One night she stood in front of me, just staring, almost as if to say "hey, I'm not doing so great." The other animals in the house - Jake the dog, and Quinn and Teddy the cats - each seemed to know something wasn't quite right either. They all spent one day last week in my office, surrounding Mollie.
On Monday of this week she refused to eat in the morning - which was so NOT like Mollie. She spent her 15 years eating like it was her full-time job. So we sort of knew something was going on.
Tuesday she had many, many accidents in the house. We called the vet. They said it could be the end.
Yesterday we took her to the vet to see what they thought might be going on. Unfortunately we got stuck with the one doctor we don't like and she was very cold and uncaring. We chose to treat what we thought might be wrong and we chose to bring Mollie home.
I'm glad we made that decision. If she had died this morning at the vet, alone in a cage, I'm not sure I could forgive myself.
As it was, she came home last night and got to hang out in the kitchen (her second favorite room in the house). She slept in the family room all night, next to the couch where I was sleeping. I heard her coughing several times during the night - but that was normal for her.
This morning she woke up at 5:45 a.m. and stumbled out to the backyard where she collapsed. I scooped her up from the yard and placed her on the deck next to me and rubbed her back, telling her it was OK to go. In less than 10 minutes she was gone.
I don't know if she was in pain when she died. I hope she wasn't, even though she seemed to struggle at the very end. I hope that she was aware that I was right there with her.
Mollie was the first member of our family 15 years ago and our house feels emptier today without her. While I still love our other fur babies - Jake, Quinn, and Teddy - I will freely admit that I loved Mollie just a little more. Her death is harder even than my beloved Daisy the Cat.
We love you Mollie. Thanks for being our good girl for 15 years. We hope you've found Daisy and Greta and Lucy and Dakota and Warren up there on the Rainbow Bridge and that you're running and barking and letting them know you're the boss.
We miss you.