Together

by John I Nash

TOGETHER

Some 14 years ago, my wife received a call from my sister in law Elaine; she was requesting that we take the last remaining female YORKIE from a recent litter. It seemed no one wanted this little dog. We were hesitant since we already had 2 other dogs one of which had the same parents as the YORKIE we were considering. That night after a long discussion, we meaning my wife decided to take the dog. This was a big decision for us as I had recreantly had open heart surgery and was not particularly doing well. My wife thought another YORKIE in the house would cheer things up. Arrangements were made to have the puppy delivered to us by my younger brother and his wife who would be passing through Georgia on their way to Florida. A couple of weeks went by and the pup arrived. Scared and a little dehydrated from the long trip the puppy was glad to hit some grass and the water pail, I picked her up and looked into her tiny face and like a frog snatching a fly a little pink tongue came out so fast that I could not react in time before it licked my nose. She would become to be known for this trait, I called her the fastest little tongue in the south. There was something about this little dog that immediately stole my heart. My wife decided to give her the name of Molly B, after the famous unsinkable Molly Brown, it quickly was changed to Molly Beautiful. Molly was instantaneously accepted by my old Golden retriever Mickey and little Maggie May our little miniature YORKIE. Time went on and Molly became one with us, we would put Molly and Maggie in baby carriers; the kind wore on your chest, this enabled us to take them everywhere we went. It soon became evident that Molly was not going to be the average size YORKIE she seemed to explode in size height and girth, She was still the most loveable dog I had ever seen, she accepted everyone and everyone was greeted in the same fashion, that little pink tongue would flash out and you were immediately deep throated. My eldest son Dennis who was living with us at the time became very attached to the little dog and she would swoon over him, she would emulate his every move. If Dennis was sitting on the couch and quickly moved his head to the right or left she would do the same with her little head, if he picked up his hand she would lift her paw, if he leaned back on the couch she would sit up on her hind legs and do the same. When Dennis moved out to be on his own, it took her weeks to recover. When Dennis came home for a visit she could not contain her joy, she would jump up and down bark and rub against his legs like a cat. In the absence of Dennis Molly attached herself to Iris. If Iris left the house, Molly would somehow know when Iris would be home, within ½ hour of her arrival, she would sit up and station herself at front of the door and not move a muscle until Iris opened the door then she would insist on being picked up and hugged. Molly's motherly instincts kicked in and she became little Maggie's foster mother even though Maggie was older than her, Molly B would guard over her and wash her as though Maggie was her puppy.

On the evening news, my wife heard a story about a YORKIE that was brutally abused by five boys who had hung the dog in a tree by its collar and set its rear on fire, the dog survived and they were asking for volunteers to take the dog. Iris immediately put our names in for consideration, but we were told they had given the dog to someone else. Three months latter we received a mysterious call from some rescue operation asking if were still willing to take the dog, of course we said yes and I drove 50 miles to pick up the animal. When I arrived at the designated location prior to seeing the dog they asked for a $300.00 donation which I agreed to pay. I knew that if I did not come home with that dog, as far as Iris would be concerned my name would be mud. Then they brought the dog out, it was not a YORKIE at all it was a Yorkiepoo. His condition was terrible, he was blonde white with a strange pigment that was produced by an attempt to bleach his hair white and his whole rear was burned and scarred. It was raining at the time and for some reason this transaction was taking place in a parking lot and the dog was obviously very cold, wet and shaking uncontrollably. They told me the dog had been at four previous foster homes and all had returned him, but they didn't know why. I took the dog and put him in the cab of my Pickup turned the heat up as far as it would go and we headed for home. The dog curled up on the floor of the cab and just stared at me all the way home, he was a mangled mess. When we arrived home I picked up the dog and he instantly went stiff and bent his head down, he was reacting as though I was going to hit him. I put him down on the hall floor and he just laid there. I called out to Iris and said "come see your new "YORKIE", she came to the hall and all in one breath said "what a poor dog, that's not a YORKIE, let's get fellow cleaned up". It took a couple of hours to clean the dog up and as we washed him, his true color could be seen, he was in fact a dark blond. All the time we were cleaning him Molly looked on with great curiosity. We dried him and put him on the ground and he walked over to a corner curled into a ball and laid there. Molly attempted to walk over to him, but a low growl stopped her in her tracks. It was menacing growl that meant business, so I picked Molly up and put her into another room. I decided to give the dog time to adjust to his new surroundings and just let him alone. When I went to check on him there was Molly lying in front of him licking his eyes. Somehow she had gotten out of the other room and gone to him. To this day no other dog can come close to JACKS, his new name, without a major conflict. Jacks presented us with major challenges in his rehabilitation but needless to say we overcame them all and he is still with us. Molly seemed to adopt all the dogs in the house even Mickey my Golden, she mothered them all. In spite of his size Jacks became the alpha dog of the house pack and he watched over them all with a protective aloof attitude. Molly and him became un-separate-able they would lie together as though they were joined at the hip. Things settled down as all the dogs found there place in the pecking order of the house. As life went on we found out that Molly was not a well dog we took her to the family Vet many times for every ailment you could think of, but she just brushed it off and kept going. My Golden Retriever Mickey was my side kick and my best friend. I had many dogs in my life, but to me there was no other dog like my friend Mickey. There came a time when Mickey became very old and sick and when he could no longer walk, I knew it was that time. I had sworn that I would never put him down, and I would let him die a natural death, but the terrible pain that he was in changed my mind. When the day came and I injected him myself, and a piece of me died that day. I wish I had not done it, and would never do it again. Some people would say it is the humane thing to do, let's just say we agree to disagree. After Mickey died, I went into a very deep depression and my health deteriorated at a very rapid pace. I was hospitalized several times. Everyone including my doctors could not bring me out of the dark hole that I was in. One night I was sitting in the in the living room by myself with no lights on just sitting there feeling sorry for myself and missing Mickey when I felt something push into my side and then something push into my other side, I reached over and turned on the light and there was Molly looking up at me waging her short stubby tail and Jacks was on the other side with his head in my lap. It was like they were saying we are here for you. Everything that I had kept welled up in side me came out all at once and I cried that deep down painful sorrowful type of crying that comes from the soul and when I dried my eyes and looked down they both looked up at me and it was if they said "good, now it is time for you to let go and love us" After that night Molly and Jacks would do all the things that Mickey and I used to do, they filled the hole in my heart. Life slowly returned back to normal and my health started to improve. Molly was a constant in my life, and at all times she stayed very close to me and Jacks stayed closer yet to her, we were leaning on each other to survive. Molly was always cheerful and ready to play, Maggie and her started to fetch golf balls, while Jacks kept a watchful eye on us all. I still missed Mickey quite a lot, but at least I had Molly, Jacks and little Maggie. I still missed Mickey and on occasion I would attempt to sneak a smell of his collar, on one of those occasions, Iris came into the bedroom and caught me doing it, she never said a word but gave me that all knowing look of hers and walked out of the room. A couple of weeks later Iris presented me with a female Golden Retriever Puppy, her name would be Abby. The dog was the most terrible puppy I had ever seen and that's no lie she tore up everything and what she did not tear up she peed on. One time while Molly was asleep Abby peed on her, Molly would have none of that type behavior, and she jumped on that pup and bit her right on the nose! Molly took over Abby's training from that day on, she soon had Abby behaving and she eventually became a darn good dog. For some unknown reason I would not let Abby into my heart. In my way of thinking, I just plain did not like that dog, the truth was I kept comparing her to Mickey; I would just look at her from the corner of my eye, and chastise myself for not giving the dog a fair chance. Since Molly was infect training Abby, I was the proud owner of a Golden Retriever that thought it was a YORKIE! Abby would crawl on the floor to be at the same height as Molly and would follow Molly under the coffee table, it was OK, until Abby would decide to stand up under that table, I will let your imagination fill in the rest of the picture.

One Saturday I received a phone call from Iris asking permission to bring home another YORKIE she found at one of the pet rescue organizations that had been holding pet adoptions at a local pet store. I don't even know why she bothered to call; I guess it was just a courtesy call to let me know she was coming home with another dog. I thought about posting signs at all the local pet stores and shelters with Iris's picture on it saying she was not allowed in, but figured they would not cooperate in banning one of their best customers. When Iris gets in the rescue mode there is no talking to or reasoning with her, I have learned to accept this. Iris came home and of course she had the dog with her LIZZY was her name and she was very old with long black and gray hair. She was frightened and hurting, story goes that they thought she had come from a puppy mill and that she had been bread until she became too old to have any more puppies then they just brought her to the pound to be killed and that is where the rescue people found her. Her suffering was all too apparent she had thirty one small tumors on her body and one large one just under her right lung. At her old age, she had also recently undergone a completely unnecessary spading that had become infected. I only wish we had gotten to her sooner to prevent it. I immediately took her to the Vet who told me the best thing I could do was to put her down. I cannot tell you the anger that welled up inside me when I heard that. I insisted that they do everything possible to save the dog and I asked that old Doc Johnson be called in right away. When Johnson arrived he examined LIZZY took some X-rays and we went into the lab to look at them together, I had been sick so many times that a friend of mine had taught me to read X-Rays and EKG's and I was pretty good at it and Doc. Johnson knew it. When I saw the X-Ray my heart sank the large tumor had wrapped itself around part of her heart and Lung. The doc said "do you really want to take this on Jack?" I said "I don't know but let me study this for a while. I stayed in that dark room for a long time, staring at the impossible. I knew she would die but I was determined to give her at least some time. In my mind this would make up for what I had done to Mickey. When I came out of that room the plan was etched in stone. We would go for broke, first we would stop the infection and build up her strength, second we would remove all the small tumors, she would not die with them on her, third we would increase the antibiotics and build up her strength again fourth we would take her home and hope that she would have some quality of life. Lizzy was at the Vets for about a month I visited her every day, the plan went like clockwork. Eleven thousand dollars latter I took her home and let Molly do her magic. When she first came into the house I put her on some pillows and Molly jumped right up to her and started licking her, Jacks just sniffed at her jumped off the couch and gave me that what you have done look. LIZZY responded to all the love we gave her, it was like she was making up for lost time but she never barked then one night she started to play with Molly and then she finally barked in joy and we all celebrated. I wish I could tell you everything went fine but truth is LIZZY endured 3 more trips to the vet and each time it was a life or death situation. I remember kneeling down next to my bed and praying to God "Please God let LIZZY just have ONE year of happiness, she deserves at least a year" I won't tell you all the other things I promised to do if that request was granted, but when I looked down there was Molly sitting by my knees with her little head bowed as if she was praying too. I can tell you that LIZZY passed away in my arms exactly at 12 Midnight One year for the night Molly and I prayed.

After LIZZY passed away things were pretty somber for a while, but Iris and I were comforted by the fact that we knew we did everything humanly possible for her, she had died knowing we cared for and loved her. For a while Molly would lie in LIZZY'S bed and sleep there,it went on for about a year. Jacks would sleep next to the bed.

The following year my son and his fiancé gave me another Golden Retriever puppy. We named him Bailey, I never saw a dog fit in so well we all loved him and Molly was crazy about him. His arrival had a strange effect on me and my relationship with Abby all of a sudden it was like someone pulled up a curtain on my heart and let ABBY enter, I don't know why it just happened that way. All seemed right with the world, but never let your guard down. I became Ill again and shortly after I came out of the hospital, Molly became Ill, she was now over twelve years old. I took her to the vet Old doc Johnson had retired and I was dealing with another Vet. He had taken care of Molly before and I trusted him. He looked Molly over and said he could find nothing wrong with her. As the days went by she seemed to deteriorate at a very rapid pace.

Rather than take her back to the same Vet I decided we needed a second opinion, on the recommendation of a friend I took her to Well Pet Humane in Chamblee Ga. On the day we went Molly seemed to perk up and she pranced next to me as we walked to the van, she loved to ride in the car and took her usual place in my arms looking out the window. In my mind the ride to the Vet took hours but in reality it took less than 45 Min. When we arrived I sat in the parking lot for about a half an hour, filled with dread. I finally made my way to the door, I can't tell you how many times I felt like swooping Molly up and just driving back home, but in this situation what you don't know will hurt you.

Little Molly looked up at me giving me the courage to go through that door; we went over to the reception desk and checked in. Molly followed me to the bench, I sat down and she jumped up and sat next to me. It was very early in the morning so we were the only ones there; the receptionist must have felt my fear and came over and sat next to us, did not say a word and just petted Molly. She did not have to say anything her actions put us all at ease. When they came to get Molly I panicked stood up and said we would come back another day. As I went for the door I called for Molly to follow but she just sat there looking at me. The receptionist said "I think Molly wants to stay, maybe we should do this now". The Vet tech said "come on Molly" and she followed the tech to the exam room.

The exam took over 2 hours, dogs came and went but, Molly was still in there. By the mere fact that she was in the exam room for so long, I knew the news would not be good. When I was finally called into the Doctors office, the situation was as bad as it can get. Molly had cancer and not only that, I was told that she had a defect in her heart that was probably there since birth. My first reaction was disbelief, how could this be, Molly went to the vet on a regular basis and none of this was found, how could this have been missed? The doctor assured me they were correct in their diagnoses, I felt like someone kicked me in the gut and had to excuse myself to go to the rest room, I was sick to my stomach and so distraught that I punched the wall.

When I went back to the doctor's office, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I was angry at everyone and everything. I asked the doctor how bad the cancer was, and she told me that it was advanced. I asked if anything could be done, she hesitated and said Molly could be given chemo therapy but it was a long shot and would cost a lot of money, at that point I exploded. "Money, it is always about money what is it about you people and money, you are all greedy you don't care about her, all you want is money" at that moment the vet tech came in with Molly, I grabbed Molly and pulled her close to me and sat down, for the first time in my life I did not know what to do. Molly turned her head around and hit me with that little tongue right in the mouth, I started spitting. The Vet Tech said Molly did that to everyone in the office and we all started laughing then the Doctor went over to Molly, bent down to look in her eyes and before she knew it she too was deep throated, We laughed even harder, The Vet came over to me, she put her hand on my shoulder and said that she was not my enemy and we would all get through this together. She explained that her organization was nonprofit and that their primary concern was for the animals, not money. We laid out a plan of treatment and I was also referred to St. Francis Animal Hospital in Duluth Ga. They would do the Chemo.

On the drive home I wondered how I was going to tell Iris, unlike the drive to the vet the ride back home seemed to end before it started. I got out of the car and Molly followed wagging her little tail like nothing was wrong. That night a black vale fell over the house, Iris sobbed, all the dogs were unusually quiet. I did not know how to make it better. Molly was in bed with Iris, I sat up with Jacks. The pain came suddenly and without warning, my chest felt like it was in a vice. I managed to get to the bathroom and chewed four aspirin, I could not immediately find the nitro, and after about twenty minutes the pain started to subside. Finally finding the nitro I put one under my tongue. I thought this could not be happening, not now, not when I was needed the most, I quietly sat up that whole night, afraid to go to sleep. In the morning, without saying a thing to Iris I call my doctor who fortunately for me was my best friend, he had me come to his office and then wanted me to go to the Hospital, I told him the situation with Molly Doctor had been a very close to both Iris and I and knew how we loved our animals and he had helped me With Mickey and we in turn helped him with his dog Rosie. He said that my current problem was in all probability brought on by the stress of the situation with Molly. I agreed to get some test and he agreed not to tell Iris.

I made the appointment With St. Francis Animal hospital that same day. I remembered what the Vet had said "We will get through this together" In the upcoming months, I would repeat it to myself hundreds of times.

To say that our first visit to St. Francis was an eye opener would be a mild understatement. I was anxious to get things moving, so our appointment was as early as I could make it. Molly always knew when we were going for a "ride" and she followed me to the car in her usual gleeful way, tail wagging head up prancing to the car she jumped up and missed, she backed up and just stood there wondering what happened, that would be the first of many signs that she was weakening. I picked her up and placed her in the seat and together we went to face whatever lied ahead. Forty minutes later we arrived at St. Francis it was an impressive place with large glass doors and two reception desks, cold looking but it gave you a sense of confidence. We were early, I presented Molly to the receptionist, she asked us to take a seat, I went to pick up Molly but to my relief she jumped up on the seat by herself. There we sat together alone but we had each other. They soon came to get Molly and she followed the Vet Tech stopped and looked over her shoulder at me, I will never forget that look. While they were giving Molly her preliminary check up to see if she would be able to take the Chemo, I talked to the office manager to arrange a payment schedule. The treatment would be given over ten weeks with a break at the fifth week two visits per week. Approximate cost a thousand per week plus medication, between ten and twelve thousand in all. We were short of funds due to all the money we had spent on Lizzy, so I sold my Jeep and a tractor. That gave me just enough money for the Chemo treatments.

They brought Molly out, now the only question I had for the Doctor was, would she able to handle the Chemo? The Doctor told me that due to her heart defect it would be touch and go, but she felt it was the best chance Molly would have. She cautioned me not to have too much hope but if we could not beat the cancer they felt that the treatment would at least extend Molly's life. The ride home was great and for the first time in weeks I felt confident and good, we even stopped at a burger joint to get Molly and I a well deserved burger.

On the day of her first treatment Molly and I drove together to St. Francis, when we arrived she and I walked up to those big glass doors and went in filled with nothing but hope. We went to the receptionist who asked us to take a seat; Molly jumped up onto the bench and sat looking up at me. As we quietly waited I nervously petted her. When they came to get her she refused to be carried, I told the tech just put her on the floor and call her name and she will follow you. The tech put her down called her name, Molly looked at me and I gave her a nod and she followed the technician down the hall. After some time they brought her back the tech was holding her, she had a white bandage around her leg and her little head was hanging, she seemed wiped out. The tech said that she was the bravest little dog she had ever seen and she did not even whimper when the put the IV needle in her. I carried her to the car and she felt very hot. On the way home she became violently Ill. It took her 2 days to recover from the treatment.

On the day of our next appointment I called for her to come she walked down the walk to the drive way and when I opened the door of the van instead of jumping into the car she just looked at it and then at me. I picked her up and placed her into the seat next to me, she crawled into my lap. When we arrived at St. Francis she jumped out of the van and headed to the glass doors. I opened the doors and she went right in with no hesitation. I picked her up, put her on the bench and she curled up next to me. They came to get her and again she walked with them down the hall. When they brought her back it was not as bad as the first time but you could tell she had been through an ordeal. This sequence of events repeated themselves three more times never once did she show any hesitation or fear. There was no doubt that she seemed to be getting weaker, when I questioned the Veterinarian about it, she told me it was to be expected.

On our fifth visit to the hospital she still wanted to walk rather than be carried, when they brought her back to me the Vet. Was with them and she said that Molly's body was having a hard time with the chemo. She said that before we would resume the treatment in two weeks they would give her a complete examination and evaluation. I was glad for the break and I know Molly would be to.

In the next week Molly seemed to gain a little strength and she tried to be her old self again, but she was way to week to do anything more than walk and wag that little tail. She stayed very close to me all the time it was like she became my shadow. That night together with Molly lying at my side, I offered up another prayer," God I don't know why you are doing this, but if you have to take Molly please do not let her suffer any more and take her quickly without pain." I picked Molly up and we went to bed with her sleeping next to me.

The next day Saturday Molly came into the kitchen went to her spot under the Kitchen Island. We ate breakfast. I went to Molly she looked at me with those loving eyes, I petted her and went out to the back yard, I wasn't out there more than a minute when I heard my wife scream for me. I ran into the house and Iris just pointed to Molly, she had passed away. I could barely contain Grief; I picked her up and held her close to me. I thought I would never see that little face and wagging tail again, but I was wrong. Love never dies, in my mind I see Molly every day, and we will always be together.

Rate this submission

Plot:
Dialogue:
Characters:
Wording:

You must be logged in to rate submissions