Just a thought… The risk of love is loss and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love. [Hilary Stanton Zunin]
In the life of every pet parent, there come dark days. Our last sad day was in the summer of 2015 just a few months after we’d lost Lauren. Pepper’s condition deteriorated due to age and, at 17-and-a-half, we had to take him on his last car ride to the vet. He was such a good dog and we knew that when his life was no longer fun for him, it was time to let him go.
This past week, we turned a corner and are seeing our future with Molly. She usually runs like a puppy when we get home every day, tearing off in circles and diving for a toy to bring to us. But the other morning when we got up, Molly was staggering as though drunk. I thought she’d had a stroke. I alerted Rob, we got dressed and took her immediately to her vet, just a few kilometres away.
As we approached the clinic, that familiar heavy tightness had overtaken my chest. What was this visit going to mean?
Several blood tests and a thorough examination later, we learned that our almost-14-year-old had not suffered a stroke (thankfully), but seemed to be experiencing crystals in her inner ear that were throwing off her balance, her vision, her depth perception and any number of other functions. This vestibular neuritis is not too uncommon in older dogs and (if indeed this is what she has) it will dissipate within a few weeks. Until then, she staggers and tilts her head in a state of confusion, although it is getting better by the day.
We did get other news, though, that won’t bring such a happy ending: Molly’s living with kidney disease and we have learned that this will probably be the cause of her (hopefully gradual) demise over the next while, perhaps even years. It’s hard to imagine even writing these words when she is so puppy-like in her behaviour and appearance!
Now we come to the time in our lives where decisions have to be made about her care while we’re away. When Pepper was becoming an elderly pup, we were with him almost all year round (or took him with us on trips to Ottawa) as I was still working full-time. But over the next several months, our travel plans are laid out and some of those include leaving Molly at home.
We’re so fortunate to have friends coming into our home to take care of Molly while we’re away, those times we can’t take her with us. But we know there might be hard decisions to make when we’re away, too. It’s an awful thing to ask of people, but we trust them as devoted pet parents who have adopted and rescued dogs and love them dearly.
As much as we adore Molly, we know that the circle of life has a beginning and an ending. We were always meant to make her life as happy as she has made ours and we know that that includes providing an end for it that comes when she is ready.
That time – we hope – is a long way off. For now, we just continue to love every day we have with our miss Molly Malone and we remember to be grateful for everything: every beginning and every middle and even every end.
Have a gentle day. Tomorrow, a few ways we’ve found to laugh over our situation with our sweet girl.