A lot of horse blogs are doing a valentines’s day tribute to their horses with stories about how they came to fall in love with their equines.  Normally I’m kind of anti-valentine’s day on principle, but this year I feel like I have to take a moment to remember the day I met my best friend of 18+ years, a dog named Molly. 

All those years ago, I went to visit my aunt who worked with an aussie rescue and was keeping a young dog at her home until she could be placed.  I had no intention of getting a dog of my own at the time, but the moment I walked into her living room, this little black and tan dog with white paws and a freckled nose leapt over the side of her pen, ran over to my side and rested her head on my knee.  She was adorable and sweet and she wouldn’t leave my side the entire visit.

I was convinced she must have been trained to do that or something, but my aunt swore to me the dog had never done anything like that with anyone else before.  So what choice did I have?  I adopted her then and there and took her home.  And she spent the next 18 years by my side.

As some who visit here may know, I posted three months ago (I’ve since removed the post so as not to upset any of the parties involved) about how Molly was run over by an SUV here in my driveway and had her leg shattered.  Miraculously, she survived.  We spent the last months trying to help her heal and recover.  And it seemed to be going well.  But the process was hard on her aged body, with all the medications and heavy sedation during weekly splint changes, and during the last two weeks she began to decline.  She was sick, not interested in eating, and generally depressed.  Her vets and I did everything we could think to try to bring her back around, but nothing seemed to be working. 

On Saturday I took her to the vet to see if there was anything else that could be done for her.  Unfortunately, I had to return home without Molly.  The night before, she had begun chewing at her bandage for the first time in three months, and I knew something had to be wrong.  I had no idea how bad it was.  Apparently her leg had swelled beneath the bandage and a piece of tape securing a dressing over one of her pressure sores cut into her leg and cut off all circulation to the skin below.  A large portion of skin over her wrist had been completely destroyed, and large sections of tendon were exposed.  There was no way to close the wound with the remaining skin on either side and the doctor thought the odds of this healing were not in her favor.  So, horrible as it was, I made the difficult decision to end her suffering rather than put her through more painful--and possibly unsuccessful--healing.  It was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make. 

I always knew she was tough, but I had no idea just how brave she was.  Her perseverance through it all, and her enthusiasm for life--even under such awful circumstances--were extraordinary.  She lived a full life, loved all those around her, and fought to the very end, all while remaining her sweet, positive, upbeat self.  It may sound strange to say it, but she was my hero. 


When I think about all the other relationships, friends, acquaintances, etc. that have come and gone over the years, apart from family, none of them were ever a part of my life for so long.  And none of them have been missed the way I already miss my Molly.  She was my friend, my sidekick, my guardian and my constant companion for 18 of her nearly 19 extraordinary years.  She was truly a special dog, and she’ll never be forgotten.  This valentine’s day, my heart goes out to my best friend, Molly.

jm elliottmolly