By: Maralee McKee
Before we jump into the etiquette portion of our time together, allow me to share what’s happened in our family. Today, there’s sadness. Molly, our dog of fifteen years, was put to sleep last Saturday. Old age took her eyesight and hearing months ago. Cancer was eating away at her body day by day. It was the most difficult decision of our marriage. Our heads (and our vet) said it was the right thing, the best thing. Our hearts still have doubts: “Should we have waited longer? Another day? Another week?”
Molly’s shadow remains. It’s by my feet now as I type this column. It’s in the corner where her water bowl sat — the same bowl I instinctively reach to fill every time I pass, even though it’s no longer there. Her shadow is most acute in our kitchen, where we would indulge her with her favorite treats. She would come running from the other side of the house, her nails clicking across our wood floors, for chicken, rice, apple slices, and the one thing that set her doing somersaults — whipped cream straight from the can into her bowl. I cried yesterday while eating chicken. I had to throw the whipped cream can away the day she died.
Molly was our firstborn, our “practice child.” She had been rescued from the pound and was just eleven months old when we adopted her shortly after we were married. Part Wilshire Terrier and part Maltese, she barked too much and looked like a mess just ten minutes after leaving the groomer. We didn’t mind; her quirks were too lovable.
Her passion was catching Frisbees. Neighbors would pour out of their houses in amazement to watch her acrobatics each time we took to the green space behind our home. We taught her in an afternoon, but really she was a natural. She could jump three times higher than she should have been able to. She was faster than imaginable. She never missed.
Our little boys ask us two questions. “Is Molly in Heaven?” This one we hedge a little. “Can we get a puppy?” “Yes, but not now,” we answer. We will in time, when the emptiness becomes a place for a new little one to fill and not a substitution for the grief we need to feel.
I owe you an apology. You didn’t open this email to read about the dog we loved. If you’ve read to this point, “Thank you.” We feel this eulogy pays Molly a debt of respect. Life is precious. All life impacts the lives of others, even when it stands on four legs instead of two. If you have a pet, please hug it for Kent, Marc, Corbett, and me. It would make Molly wag her tail!