Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Personal Note



The Chrontendo Blog is rarely updated nowadays. I think most people check Twitter or Youtube for updates instead. It's been a difficult week for me. We lost our dog Molly on Saturday, and I felt the need to say more about it than I could in a series of Tweets.

Molly was not a young dog; she was 13. However, the suddenness of her passing was shocking. Prior to last weekend she appeared to be in excellent shape. The Friday before last we noticed her walking a little stiffly and acting lethargic. We also found a swelling in her ear, which concerned us. I thought she may have been bitten by a spider or was suffering from an infection. We took her to the vet on Sunday, where we learned the swelling in the ear was not serious or uncommon by itself. However the doctor wanted to run some blood tests to find out what was causing her lack of energy.



On Tuesday we got the results of the blood tests, which showed Molly had a low red blood cell count. The doctor suggested that an ultrasound be done to look for abnormalities in her organs. I took her in for the ultrasound on Wednesday, and at this point, I was not terribly worried. I'd had anemia myself at one point and it just required me to take iron supplements.

Wednesday afternoon the doctor called me back with bad news. Molly's ultrasound showed cancerous tumors on her liver and spleen. The low red cell count was due to internal blood loss. There was nothing that could be done to save her. I asked the vet how much time she had, and he replied that she might not even last through the night. Probably a week at most. Molly seemed tired but comfortable on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday, she was showing signs of distress, so we took her into the vet to be put to sleep.  Again -- the thing that shocked us the most was how sudden this all happened. Molly hadn't been displaying any signs of bad health and was in remarkably good shape for her age.  She was stronger and more energetic than our other dog, Gigi, who is also 13, and we always assumed that Molly would outlive Gigi. I am still having difficulty processing the fact that Molly is no longer with us.



Her death hit both of us pretty hard. This was the first time in our adult lives that either of us had to deal with the loss of a dog. We got Gigi a few years after we bought our house and Molly followed a little later. After all these years of having Molly here with us, it's hard to wake up and realize she's no longer with us. We've had pet cats die since we've been living together, and while I don't mean to diminish the loss cat owners feel, having a dog die was much more difficult.

Molly really was one of the greatest dogs I have ever known. She almost certainly saved two people's lives. My mother found her in an animal shelter, two days before she was scheduled to be killed. She was around 6 months old and appeared to have been abused. She was terrified of me at first; in fact she was terrified of any man. If I approached her with my hand in the air, she would cringe. It required a lot of work and patience, but eventually Molly became a fearless, devoted and loving dog. She was incredibly protective. I don't doubt for a minute that would have given her life to protect me or my wife from harm.



My mother would not be alive today if weren't for Molly. Around a decade ago, Molly began sniffing at my mother's chest obsessively and making whimpering or growling noises. She did this consistently until my mother got concerned and went to her doctor for a checkup. Testing revealed she had stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer had spread enough that my mother's doctor didn't give her good odds of surviving.  She made it through surgery and chemotherapy, but if she had found out about the cancer later, it would have been too late. Incredibly, Molly detected breast cancer in another woman a couple years later, who, again, was able to get treatment in time.

I worry a lot about Gigi, and how she'll handle Molly no longer being here.  Gigi is pretty old herself and I know she misses Molly. There are times when she appears to be walking around the house looking for her. Sometimes I instinctively glance at a dog bed to see if Molly is lying down in it. I've gotten so accustomed to seeing her every day it's hard to accept she's gone. She gave so much of herself to us, I feel like I've betrayed her by not being able to save her. I know we'll eventually accept Molly's death, but for the moment, we are missing her greatly.



My apologies for this depressing post, and thanks for hearing me out.  I'll update the blog again shortly when Chrontendo Episode 51 is ready, which should be in the near future.


22 comments:

gary sargent said...

My condolences, its awful sad to lose such a sweet furry friend. RIP Molly

Hugo Ojeda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear this... I lost my dog I had had through my teenage in a very similar way about a month ago (even sounds like the same type of cancer).
It's certainly not easy, but I guess it's a part of life. I hope you are able to reflect on all the good times you had with Molly and get through this difficult period.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose a dog, especially when it's sudden. My condolences to you and your wife.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. You're right that the loss of a dog hurts more. Just remember that Molly had a better life because of you.

Skymaster T said...

I wish humans were a lot more like dogs. They really are little angels sent to help us. Godspeed, Molly.

fuxter said...

So sorry for your loss.

ShaneWM said...

Sorry for your loss, in my house the dog is a part of the family. So losing a dog is like losing a family member.

Remember that love you shared is always with you.

James Moore said...

My condolences. I am very saddened to hear of your loss.

Unknown said...

Very sorry to hear about the loss of Molly. Sounds like a wonderful dog.

Hugo Ojeda said...

Sorry for your loss Dr. Sparkle.. I went thru the same a few years back with my 15 years old dog.. i know how you feel.. hope you and your wife process this lost soon.. regards..

justin ismond said...

My condolences for your loss, I definitely feel like pets are integral members of the family. Hope you and your wife are doing ok.

Alanna Evans said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Molly lived a treasured life and will be with you in memory forever... It's not much of a comfort now, but hopefully some day, will be. My thoughts are with you.

Matthew Farnum said...

Condolences, sincerely.

And for the record, I actually still check here for updates. heh.

Anonymous said...

Strongest possible condolences. Our own dog was hit by a car just before Halloween last October, it still hits me pretty hard from time to time.

Matt Turner said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Doc. We're here for you. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Unknown said...

I'm very sorry to read about your loss. Losing a pup is, for me, just like losing a member of your family. Thank you for trusting us enough to share your pain with us.

Nate Lawrence said...

I know I'm behind the times, Dr. S., but wanted to say I was so sorry to hear of you losing your faithful pup, Molly.

How well I know that grief from sudden loss is always difficult.

May your future days differ from your emotional experiences as you wrote this post as much as Molly's experience of men differed after having learned to trust you differed from experience prior to meeting you.

My heart goes out to you and your wife and your other pets as you all heal from your loss.
I'll be hoping that there's someone in your lives who will be there for all of you as you were there for Molly when she needed you.

gutzsant said...

I'm sorry for your loss Dr. Sparkle. It's been almost a week since the same thing happened to us with our beloved 16 year-old dog, who quickly became sick in the stomach and our vet wasn't in the city. It didn't seem like a big problem at the beginning. Our dog had a heart condition and partially calcified lungs, so I quickly grew concerned when the problem made him threw up several times. I took him to another vet, who told me that, while it appeared to be an infection, the main issue was the dehydration caused by it, which in turn was stressing his weak heart. She put him on an intravenous saline solution to address his dehydration, but she warned me that the real problem was going to be his weak heart combined with his weak lungs so we should avoid any situation that might stress him. He seemed to be on the path of recovery, but unfortunately he puked once again and no long after his heart stopped beating. In less that 24 hours, we lost him from what seemed at the beginning to be a mild stomach ache. It was very depressing and sad for us because we didn't even have the time to prepare. It's definitively a different experience when you are an adult who can fully grasp the nuances of losing a beloved pet that you can't as a child. You really grow to appreciate all those details that made you aware that you had a pet, both the bad and the good, and the time that you were able to be with your pet. I can only say I'm very sorry for your loss and remember the joyful memories that you had with your beloved dog. I'm sure your dog also had a wonderful time with you.

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