Thursday, December 27, 2018


After a bath and with a new bandanna!

It's that odd week between Christmas and New Year's Day that I have come to love because it is my annual staycation.  My family hunkers down at home to enjoy our new "toys" and venturing out for daytime activities that we otherwise are too busy to do... trying new restaurants... seeing all the movies... taking care of some chores...  It's typically a pretty good time and has been so the last several years since leaving my old, stressful job.  Prior to then, this week was a week of sleep and trying to recover from utter exhaustion.

This year though... my Molly girl passed away a couple of days before Christmas.  This is the worst time of year anyway... I lost my dad, my grandma, and an aunt all the week of Christmas in prior years.  It usually does make the holidays hard because there is a remembrance of what occurred that I try to distract myself from.   But this year, Molly got sick. 

Molly on left -- their first meeting, already sisters!
Molly was our 10 year old basset hound; we have two.   Mable was adopted first as a puppy.  A year after we got her, we thought it might be nice if she had a friend and the Humane Society happened to have a special needs basset that they were having trouble adopting.  Molly was 5 at the time and suffered from Addison's Disease.  To counteract symptoms and an Addison's episode, she needed a shot once a month that cost about $120.  This meant that we were committing to a pretty hefty pet expense in addition to other normal pet expenses.  But when we met Molly, it just clicked.  Mable went up to meet her at the Humane Society to make sure that they hit it off and they did.  Mable loved Molly and Molly tolerated Mable as a puppy.  She was calm and really just seemed like she was waiting on the right family to come along.  And to be honest, we heard others who were looking at her while we were and talking about how surely she didn't need a shot that often... and I just couldn't.  I couldn't let anyone else adopt that sweet girl and not take good care of her.

We had the option of choosing another name for her but I loved Molly.  She was a Molly and that's all she had ever known so Molly she remained.  That didn't stop us from giving her other "pet" names that she also learned to respond to including -- Molls-Bolls, Ly Ly, Fatso McGee, Molly-Balls; you get the idea.  The people at the Humane Society were so happy to have gotten her a good home, they waived all fees, and nearly rushed us out the door with her.

Molly was a great dog but often a very sick dog.  Addison's is something that can cause other health issues but if treated typically doesn't shorten the lifespan.  We learned quickly that Molly was often with an ear infection.  It's pretty common in basset hounds due to their ear flaps and inability for the ear to get air.  Molly had an ear infection 80% of her life. Not untreated.  In fact, when new medicine came out, we were the first to try it.  And ear cleaning in our house was a daily event.  She hated it but she knew it had to be done. Molly was also chunky; something that bassets are also prone to but made worse because of the Prednisone she took.  Molly also had the worst allergies.  Itchy paws, goopy eyes, sneezy at times... she also took allergy meds.  Molly also came to us with really bad teeth.  We had teeth removal surgery twice.  She had 11 teeth when she passed.  It didn't stop her from eating though... my girl loved to eat.

When it was food time, she would scratch at the carpet like a bull and waive her head around motioning to the kitchen.  We called her our little bully because she was pretty demanding at times.  She liked routine.  She knew exactly when the girls would be home from school each day and would wait at the front door for them.  She loved her dog beds.  She wasn't able to get on furniture due to her weight and shorter legs than Mable but no matter because she had 5 dog beds in the house.  She also frequently used a pillow on a dog bed because she liked to have extra cushion for her head.  When we did feed her, she would stand outside of our laundry room (where the food is stored) and she would do the hound roooo-roooo at us.  It always sounded like she was saying FOOOODDD!

Molly was incredibly smart.  She hadn't been trained (other than house trained) when we got her but as we worked with her and Mable, they both learned Sit, Come, Wait, Speak, and Touch.  Molly always learned much faster than Mable and would get so frustrated when it would take Mable so many tries to get it right.... waiting on Mable meant she had to wait to do her next trick.  Wait was our favorite because she was such a foodie that when we made her wait, she did a little dance that had her backing up almost like she was telling someone to hold her back.

Molly taught Mable to be a proper dog.  Mable was initially raised by our cat, Grimm, who passed away earlier this year.  Mable didn't enjoy outside, or barking, or even eating that much until Molly came along.  Molly was the dominant one and Mable just went with it.  I'm not sure that Mable would have ever figured out the dog door without Molly to guide her.  Molly was a cuddly girl, loved to sit and be petted.  She would stretch out at your feet often hoping you might give her a little nudge with your foot when watching TV.  Molly was that dog that truly just enjoyed being at your side and hanging out -- lower energy but as loyal as they come.  She was often my visitor to my office during the day while I was working. She just liked to hang out.

So when Molly abruptly wasn't feeling well a week before Christmas we took her to the vet.  They know us there -- so much so that Molly knows to walk in and get on the scale by herself.  We have a great relationship with out vet and initially they didn't think it was that serious.  They gave her some antibiotics for her tummy and put her on a limited diet of food.  After a couple of days she wasn't any better so we took her back and they did lab work trying to see if it was something more serious.  In that time, she had been more sleepy but still able to get around and had an appetite.  That all changed in one day.  She lost her appetite, her hind legs were very shaky making it difficult to stand and she was obviously uncomfortable.  We didn't have the lab results back but didn't think we could wait so we took her to the ER.  They were very concerned about Molly and went ahead and did more labs and x-rays so we could immediate results.  They were worried about a tumor which seemed like the worst of our fears but the scan came back clear.  So they started treating her for Pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis is treatable in most dogs but there are rare occasions where it can be fatal. Unfortunately for Molly it became fatal.  She had a plasma transfusion as she was having a lot of internal bleeding and we were hoping that would help to clot the blood.  They also gave her pain meds that would help her rest, IV fluids, and more antibiotics.  The next day we went and saw her at the ER and she was almost coma like -- resting but moaning a lot too.  The vet thought that we could keep pushing antibiotics and hoping she would turn around.  At 230 AM the next day... Molly crashed.  She was brought back but too far gone to truly come back.  We made it up to the ER in time to say goodbye to her.  We were and still are devastated.  We put so much into saving our girl from the moment we met her.  And yes, we knew special needs and being 5 years old when we got her meant probable shorter time with her but we were so attached.  A lot of that was because she was special needs and it meant that we all had to care for her.   She was Mable's girl... because Mable believes everyone is on this planet to be hers.

We're all trying to adjust to the emptiness in our house and hearts right now. Mable is feeling very lost and sad but we are trying to spoil her with attention and nothing is more comforting than her loves anyway...

It's going to take some time to get over this loss. Nothing can replace our Molly-girl.