My Mollydog was MY first real pet. I had pets as a kid, but she was the first pet that was all mine.
I had graduated college and taken a teaching job in coastal North Carolina so I got myself a Carteret County Beagle. She was perfect. She was 2 at the time. When I went to pick her up, she was in a set of 3 cages with one of her brothers on either side. The brotherdog on the left was barking his head off. He was not my dog because I don't do loud. The brotherdog on the right was running as hard as he could from the back of the cage and crashing into the door, then shaking it off, running to the back and doing it all over again. Not my dog because I don't do dumb. Mollydog sat right in the middle, looking at both of them like they were stupid. Quiet. Calm. Judgmental. Annoyed. That was my dog! She was a real scaredy dog. Seriously....it was a good month before she would come out from behind the sofa when I was standing/ walking. Her food only disappeared while I was sleeping. It got better the longer I had her, but she was always a giant chicken dog. It is part of what made Mollydog Molly.
At the time I got Mollydog, I lived on a dead end road in Newport, NC and I planned to teach high school for 30 years. My plans changed and I went back to NCSU to get a master's degree. I lived in an apartment with two other people. Mollydog had to get used to apartment living and I had to get used to leash walking. I was on assistantship with another part time job so she didn't get as much attention. I took a teaching job a year later and Molly came with me to Greensboro. I bought a townhouse and Molly had to learn to navigate steps... lots of steps. She loved the school greenhouses on Saturdays and the fact that she got to go on car rides with me that didn't end at the vet's office. They were good times. Not the way I pictured her doggy life when I got her, but she adapted to whatever was going on in my life.
Summer of 2009 a vet visit revealed Mollydog was in congestive heart failure. She was easily out of breath and lethargic and so we put her on a couple pills a day and she seemed much better. We made one last car rainy trip home to NC together for a long Christmas 2009 break (with Mollydog jumping every time the windshield wipers moved). It was great! She hung out in the backyard and got long rubs from my dad. He loved Mollydog more than I did.... which is saying a lot! He knew it was most likely the end, too, so Mollydog got spoiled even more than usual...a new bed and forget table scraps - dad was "accidentally" dropping whole pieces of meat off the grill.
Early February of last year I was babysitting for one of my professors when Mollydog let me know it was time for her to go. She stopped eating (which was a huge red flag for my fearless eater) and she didn't want to go for walks. She just laid on her bed and looked at me with big sad eyes. We went to the vet and I said goodbye. I couldn't tell the girls I was babysitting (because even if they wouldn't fall apart, I would) so I told them Mollydog had to stay at the vet (which was true) and I loaded up all of her things (bowl, bed, leash, food, etc.) for donating to the Mid-Missouri animal shelter and my friend took care of the donating for me. I just couldn't do it.
It was a Godsend that I was babysitting at my professor's house because that meant I wasn't sleeping in my own bed for those first few nights. You see - Mollydog could be quiet as a church mouse during the day. She didn't bark (maybe 3 times in the 10 years she was around). You hardly knew she was around except that she followed you from room to room so she could be wherever you were. That is, until she went to sleep and then she snored like a freight train. I used to hate it. She slept under my bed. I would call her name to wake her up and then try to race her back to sleep. But, when she was gone, I suddenly missed the snoring.
Honestly, while sleeping without my Mollydog was difficult, the hardest part of whole ordeal was calling my dad to tell him Mollydog was gone. We cried sad tears together and recounted all of the qualities that made Mollydog so great and remembered our favorite Mollydog stories. I couldn't leave her behind in Missouri so I had her cremated and when I went home this summer, my dad and I buried her ashes under the crape myrtle in my parents back yard.
The perfect resting place for the most perfect dog I will ever own.