My heart is broken. My dog Molly has passed away.

I cannot begin to explain the loss that is Molly. She was just a few weeks shy of her 13th birthday. She lived the most amazing, cared for, caring life a Cavalier King Charles could dream. My Molly had the deepest, most soulful eyes you have ever seen on any creature or finest work of art. Everyone who met her loved her. Even dog haters could not resist this dog, because Molly might actually have been love herself.

From the time she was a puppy, you knew Molly was one of a kind. She pretty much fit in the palm of my hand when we got her. And oh, was she finicky. We hand-fed her for years, but doing so was a pleasure. She was clearly using meal time as extra attention time, but she was so darling you never complained.

When she grew past her puppyhood, Molly began to emanate a zen-like calm that never broke. There was a constant aura around her that said: "You are with this dog, everything is A-OK. Enjoy the moment." Many of my friends would joke about wanting to take her home or steal her. At one point we called her the Molly Lama.

Life was so perfect with Molly. She was the most trustworthy, loyal, loving dog on Earth. I'd joke about leaving my daughter with her like Nana in Peter Pan. Around the time she was nine, she fell ill with a mystery ailment. No one knew exactly what it was--some kind of swallowing disorder that caused her to lose weight rapidly. My poor baby was wasting away before my eyes. I spent days driving back and forth to the fantastic animal hospital at U.C. Davis where they collected a ton of data but were just as baffled as all the local specialists. She had lesions or ulcers lining her throat and a regurgitation reflex happening as she attempted to swallow, causing stomach acid to inflame the sores. Molly had dropped from 17 to 11 lbs in 2 weeks.

I can clearly remember the night, coming back from another run out to Davis and back with her, begging the universe to give me whatever she had and to let her get better. Miraculously, she did. The doctors at Davis were then able to determine what was going on but we agreed to not treat her until it recurred, because she would have to live on drugs for the rest of her life.

She continued being herself. She joined me on road trips and camping trips. She slept a bit more, but still wrestled nightly with her "Molly dolly" -- a doll she loved so fiercely I bought a dozen so she'd never be without (I need to find one around here later and put it away.) A few months ago another mystery ailment sprung up and she'd been getting progressively worse. I saw her last night before leaving her with my ex-wife. She passed away around 3am this morning.

I spent the morning wishing I could cry. I couldn't find tears. I kept thinking about what a wonderful life that dog had. She spent most of it sleeping on the beach. I had declined to view her remains, but ended up planning my errands today to take me very close to our veterinarian's office, so I decided to stop by. Molly was curled up in our dog Calliope's old dog bed, with a towel over her. When I touched her, she was still warm. She looked so happy and peaceful, I almost expected her to get up but the light was gone from her eyes.

I figured out how to cry. It was OK because I was with Molly. She could make it all OK one last time.

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  1. Family animals are family, period. The loss is felt no less keenly than if they were human. The worst part of having a loving pet, is that barring the inevitable, they will predecease you. Knowing this never eases the pain.
    I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

  2. My kitty Snickers just died on October 25th. I got her as a rescue back in 1999, and she was born in either early 1996 or early 1997.

    I keep getting told that it's going to get better, and I'm sure it will, but it hasn't yet.

    I'll be getting two kitties from our local kill shelter in the next few days. I'm pretty sure that's what she would want in her little cat way, and I figure it's the least I can do.

  3. I truly feel your pain, the lady in my avatar for so many years now, my Bebita for almost 15 years, we had to put her to sleep this Monday, the sense of loss is overwhelming.
    She is survived by her birth brother and two rescue brothers. We are taking comfort in each other, but I am struggling to find out how to live without the apple in my eye.

    Bebita. April 12, 1999 - November 25, 2013.

  4. My mantra for such times:

    We don't have them long enough.
    But they have us all their lives.
    That's not a bad thing.

  5. My condolences on Molly's passing.

    I know that our pets having such short lives in comparison to ours is one of the hardest things to accept. When I lost my dog Ernie, I was heartbroken, but I came to a realization:

    Take the span of the average human life, and subtract away all of the time we spend going to school, going to work, doing chores, doing all of the things that we have to do just to get through life. Leave behind only the happiness; walks in the park, days in the sun, time spent with loved ones. What you find is that the best parts of our lives add up to a dog's life.

    It's not that our pets lead short lives; they just skip over the mundane parts and live the best parts in fast forward... and we get to be there for all of it.

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