It’s been four weeks since Molly died. I miss her every single day.
This is the text message I sent to my family and some friends who knew what was going on last Tuesday. I couldn’t bear to say more. My heart was broken, my best friend was gone. She’s gone, my Molly.
I still think I see her in the house. Out of the corner of my eye, sitting on her spot on the couch, waiting by my feet in the kitchen, hoping for a dropped carrot or piece of cucumber. The sound of the side door unlocking makes my chest hurt. This was the sound of letting Molly out in the morning. I had to choke back sobs last week when I dropped a bowl of chopped cauliflower on the floor. No one would be there to to pick up my dropped messes in the kitchen again.
I’ve been meaning to share this website with all of you pet-owners out there:
I used them last year to buy Frontline and Heartguard for Molly. The company is in New Zealand, so shipping takes a while (about three weeks in my case), and they only accept Paypal, but that’s not really an issue. It’s worth the wait. The prices are amazing, far better than PetMeds, and about half the price of my local vet. For example, Sunday I bought six months of Frontline for Molly for $92. Pet Products on the Web’s price is $49 with free shipping. Kind of wish I planned ahead but Molly’s already collecting ticks and we needed Frontline ASAP.
Last night was not fun. It’s never a good time at the emergency vet’s at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night.
The three of us spent the entire weekend outside, working on the deck, cleaning up the yard. Molly was in pup heaven, frolicking outdoors all day, sleeping soundly at night. Then last night around 7:30, I noticed that Molly was awfully fidgety and scratching at her eyes a lot. Our house is always dim and I couldn’t see anything bothering her, but I felt something on her eyebrow so I brought her into the bathroom where the light is brighter and noticed immediately that her poor puppy face was completely swollen. It wasn’t something on her eyebrow that I felt, it was her eyebrow, all puffy and big. Her eyelids were swollen into tiny slits, her lips and nose were so swollen, she looked terrible. I called the emergency vet and asked if there was something at home I could give her, rather than go to the emergency clinic where I know the fee is double after-hours. She told me that they might be able to prescribe Benadryl, but then again maybe she’d need a steroid shot and so she booked be an appointment at 10pm. From 7:30 to 10 I watched her and poked her to make sure she was breathing. The swelling got worse about a half hour after I got off the phone with the vet, but then I put cold cloths on her face and she settled down and fell asleep and the swelling seemed to level out.
At this point I should mention that I cannot stand to look at someone who is swollen. In an emergency, if you gave me the choice of looking after the person who was missing and arm and bleeding all over, or the person who was having an allergic reaction and swelling like a balloon, I’d choose the bleeder. I get faint looking at a swollen face (or arm, or leg…) I can’t explain it, but it’s rather annoying. Particularly with a husband who is allergic to bee stings, and now a dog who may be as well.
That reminds me that at this point in the evening, I had no clue why Molly was swollen. Did she eat something? Did she get stung or bitten? I was trying desperately to remember what was she was doing before we cam in for the evening, but she has free run of the yard. I don’t always know what she’s doing or what she’s getting into. I was terrified.
So 10pm rolled around and we were at the emergency vet’s. They were very nice, and sadly, they were very busy that night. A dog in the back was yelping and screaming, that wasn’t good to hear and didn’t help my trying to tell molly that everything would be fine. The doctor checked her over and diagnosed her as very sweet and extremely cute and probably suffering from a bee sting. She got a shot of Benadryl and a steroid and we went home where Molly flopped on the couch and snored, and I felt relieved knowing that she was mostly OK, still looking swollen and sad, but able to breathe, at least.
I wanted to take a picture of her mid-swell, but due to the afore mentioned swelling aversion, and the fact that my heart broke into pieces whenever she looked at me through swollen lids, I just couldn’t. Take my word for it – it was both terrible and sad. This morning she’s much better. Barely swollen but still groggy from the Benadryl. Thank goodness my pup is OK.
So what did I learn from the horrible experience? Well, 1.) bees are out in March – who would expect that? 2.) when fearing for the life of your beloved pup, an emergency office visit fee of $95 will sound quite reasonable, 3.) the same Benadryl you take, yourself, can be given to your dog (21-lb Molly gets 25mg every 12 hours), and 4.) Molly really is the best dog ever. She kissed the lady who took her temperature, she kissed the lady who took her in the back to have a shot, and she played (swollen-faced and all) with the ladies at the desk as I payed the bill. She’s so sweet. If I were her, I would have definitely taken someone’s hand off at some point last night.
Well it seems that Miss Kitty and I have come to a bit of an agreement. She agrees not to wake me up howling at 3am every morning, and I agree not to trow things at her. She goes off like clockwork each morning at 3am (and Luke tells me she wakes him up each afternoon at 3pm, weird…) but now that it’s cold outside, she only THINKS she wants to go out. She howls, I stumble out of bed and over to the door where I stand and wait for Miss Fickle to tiptoe over in the general area of the door, I open it and then see her shrink back at the cold air coming from outside, then run the other way back into the house and into hiding. Fine. I go back to bed and even though she knows she doesn’t want to go out, she howls to wake me up and try it again. The other night I was just sick of this crap, instead of getting out of bed, I threw a book at her. Don’t worry, it was a paperback, and it was dark so I’m almost sure I missed. She was quiet the rest of the night, and this morning when I woke up and saw her curled up on the couch by the wood stove, I realized that she didn’t wake me up last night either. How nice. Let’s hope this pattern continues. Maybe I’ll stop disliking her so much. Maybe.
I was talking to my friend Melissa yesterday and the subject of my cat came up. I know some of you are looking confused right now saying, wait a minute! You have a cat? You’ve never mentioned having a cat. Yes, sort of, I have a cat. Although she’s more of a squatter than a pet. She lives in my house and eats the food I buy. I clean up after her, allow her to sleep in my couch, and I let her in and out twenty-seven times a day (at least). But she will not allow me to treat her like a pet. She keeps to herself, she only wants human contact on rare occasions, and will only truly act like a pet when other people come over. Then she puts on the show. She wants to snuggle and sleep in your lap. She wants to be pet and played with. She’s friendly, she’s cute. She’s totally faking it to make me look bad.
The cat, her name is Star, but we generally call her The Cat, or in Luke’s case That F&%*ing Cat. The name Star was given to her by Luke’s mom because the white markings on her face and her white whiskers make the five points of a star. The reason that Luke’s mom named her, is that she used to be Luke’s mom’s cat. Shortly before we were married, we bought our first house in Andover from Luke’s mom and she moved to a condo in Manchester. Because she was getting a new place with new furniture, and also because Star was used to going outside in Andover and Luke’s mom was concerned about her going out in Manchester, we got a free cat with the purchase of our new home. Joy. I liked cats and she was cute, although demanding and vindictive. She needed to be played with constantly or she’d turn into a cranky evil kitty. She would get up on the windowsill, lock eyes with me, and then whap whatever decoration I had on the windowsill to the ground as if to say, “Ha! Take that!” Still, she was quiet and generally low-maintenance. We never had mouse trouble and she never liked us enough to bring home the rodents she was killing, so all was well.
And the came Molly and my world exploded. I fell so completely in love with Molly that I honestly could not remember why I used to like cats. I had cats growing up that I adored. Cats who acted like cats, not spoiled teenagers, like Star. Even trying to think about those cats, I couldn’t remember what it was about them that was so great in comparison to a dog. It was like Molly caused that part of my brain that appreciated cats to completely disappear. It’s not like I hate cats, I just prefer dogs now. Which makes living with Star even more challenging.
When we moved to our new house several years ago, I wondered if Star would get confused. You have to understand the geography of where we moved – basically we moved an acre behind our old house, and three acres to the left. You can see our old house from our new house and I was secretly hoping that Star would prefer the old house and choose to move in with the new owners. She certainly doesn’t act as if she enjoys our company, so why would she want to move with us when given the option? But darn it, she moved with us to the new house and as far as I know, never even tried to bunk with the owners of our old house.
Star and Molly get along great. Star puts up with Molly when she wants to play and they sleep together and share a water bowl. They’ll run up to each other in the yard, Molly will sniff Star while Star rubs her body against Molly. It’s very cute. When we take Molly for a walk to the river or over to the neighbors house, Star will inevitably follow us at a respectable distance so as not to appear to care. She does have some redeeming personality traits. Some things that make me smile, but generally she bugs the crap out of me.
She hasn’t set her clock to Daylight Savings Time yet, so lately she wakes me up with a horrible echoing howl in the doorway of my bedroom at 2am. It used to be 3am, I’m not kidding. Daylight Savings screws everyone up. I blindly stumble out of be to let her out, usually saying “and don’t come back!” and then I’ll go back to bed. At 7am she’s at the door waiting to come in for oh, about 90 seconds, and then she’s back at the door howling to go out again. In the hour between waking up and leaving for work, I generally let her out three times. In one hour. And she howls when you make her wait three seconds. She’s very impatient, it irritates me.
In the summer when we leave the windows open, she will sit outside our bedroom window and howl to let us know that she wants to come in. That’s lovely. The other night when I was painting my studio pink, she climbed up on the bench we have outside the window and pounded on the screen with her tiny paws. I almost fell off the chair I was on, she scared me half to death. This is the situation I was talking to Melissa about and Melissa suggested that if Molly did something like this, I’d think she was so smart for communicating her needs with me. This may be true, but Molly wouldn’t do that to me. She may insist on sitting on my lap while I knit, she may drag brush out of the woods and run around with it, only to leave it on the lawn, the very same brush I just dragged off the lawn and into the woods, but she would never wake me up to go outside in the middle of the night. Molly may drop smelly toys on my head to wake me up in the morning, but she does it after the alarm goes off. She wouldn’t whine and howl, she wouldn’t drive me up the friggin wall because she keeps to my schedule and she likes me! Molly acts as if she generally enjoys my company. Star acts as if I am an underachieving staff member. I know that this is how cats are, everyone tells me that, but if that’s how they are, why do people have cats? Wouldn’t you rather be appreciated than disdained? Seriously.
Whenever people come over and Star puts on the Good Kitty act, everyone says what a nice cat she is and Luke and I always try to get them to take her home. Luke is serious, I’m only half serious. I truly wish she wasn’t living with us because she’s 97% annoying and 3% cute and that is not working in her favor, but I will not be the one to cause her to stop living with us. I won’t give her away or take her to the pound. I won’t tie steak to her and send her out to find coyotes and fisher cats, although I threaten to all the time. What I want is for her to choose to move away. I want her to just pack up and go, find a place with people she isn’t disgusted with. A staff that will meet her needs, but unfortunately she seems hell bent on living her live to spite us. And the best part? She’s only 10. My parents have cats that are 17. Friends of ours just had a cat die who was 22. I don’t know if I can take the howling for another ten years. Can cats be de-meowed? We tried installing a cat door at our old house but she was afraid of it, and also, considering that we’re in the woods now, we would rather not find wild animals sneaking into our house in the middle of the night. Maybe I’ll just learn to sleep with ear plugs.
So yes, The Cat is smart. She’s smart in a calculating, selfish way, but if Molly went banging on my window screen in the middle of the night, she would not be my favorite anymore either. Let’s hope that never happens cause I need her warm puppy heater to keep the bed warm at night. After all, The Cat hates me too much to sleep in bed with me.