Two weeks ago, on August 27, my husband and I said goodbye to Molly. I adopted Molly from BREW ten years ago, two days after my college graduation. Initially, she seemed terrified of everything when. The first time I met her, she sat stock still while I petted her. At first I thought she was scared of me and wasn't enjoying it, so I stopped. When I did, she shifted ever-so-slightly and leaned about half an inch toward me. I started petting her again, and every time I stopped, she did the same thing.
Over the ten years I spent with her, Molly developed from a fearful, skittish creature into an affectionate and extremely friendly companion. She loved everyone she met, and they loved her. Friends of mine who disliked dogs before they met her were converted by her sweet disposition. No one in the world could meet her without loving her, and she wouldn't let you leave without knowing you'd made a new friend.
When you adopt a dog at 21, you often don't know what you're getting yourself into, and that was certainly true for me. I didn't know how to train a dog or what it really meant to rescue an animal, but to Molly, none of that mattered. All she wanted was someone to love her and feed her, and if I was ever sad or stressed, she would automatically curl up beside me and lick my face to try to make it better. Molly was kind, and through her example, she taught me how to love better, even in her death.
Molly was diagnosed with lymphoma in March, but even with that diagnosis she had five good months in which she was happy and mostly healthy. Her decline was swift, and we are fortunate that she didn't have to suffer much. In the last night, though, it was clear she was uncomfortable and we knew we would probably have to say goodbye in the morning. Even as she was hurting, she devoted herself to caring for us. As my husband and I talked through the difficult decision we knew we'd have to make, we were tearful. Seeing this, Molly, who was struggling to get up, pushed herself closer and nuzzled us, letting us know it would be okay. I have never met a more compassionate creature -- animal or human -- than Molly.
It feels inadequate to say that I loved her and that I miss her, because love means something different to me than it did before Molly was in my life and because the ache of her absence feels so immense and so strong. But I did love her, and I do miss her, and both of those things will always be true. Goodbye, Molly. Thank you for ten tremendous years.