(Prelude: I recently saw a Facebook post from someone whose beloved pet had passed. The remembrance of my own grief welled within me, and I thought this essay I wrote at the time might bring comfort to those who have suffered the loss of their loving companion.)
I listen to the rhythm of my dog Molly’s gentle breathing as she sleeps peacefully. I stroke the baby softness of her ears. I want to hug her, but I’m afraid she’ll awake and have another seizure. So I watch her slumber and tenderly hold her paws in my hands as she sighs heavily. How I want to freeze this moment in time because I know I’ll never get it back. And my heart aches because I just can’t fully grasp the fact that after eight years of unrelenting love and steadfast loyalty, she’ll be gone.
Molly was a happy yellow Labrador retriever with a unique intelligence and brightness in her eyes. She was everything that was good and pure. She was never without a silly grin and a big, firm kiss for you, along with a constant wag in her tail. I was forever under her watchful eye as she followed me wherever I went. Anything I said or did was of the utmost importance to her. She listened intently whenever I spoke to her, cocking her head sideways and trying so hard to understand what I was saying. She watched me do my daily household chores like it was the most interesting thing in the world and stood guard at the door of the bathroom when I showered. Each day she walked me to the door as I left for work and waited patiently for me watching out the window until she saw my car pull back into the driveway at night. She then bounded enthusiastically as I entered the house, covering me with doggy kisses. She had unlimited patience, always satisfied with whatever attention I could manage to give her. She was good-natured to a fault even through the shots and torment of the disease of diabetes and the seizures that ensued. Accepting her passing was hard and left me grief-stricken.
I know some people don’t understand the bond between humans and their pets. There are those folks at the opposite end of my spectrum who think nothing of mistreating animals and using them for profit, whether it be for an ugly sport like dog fighting or for over breeding or warped entertainment. I instead view them as gifts of God’s creation to be loved and enjoyed.
Before God created man on the sixth day, he filled the earth with animals of all shapes and sizes. I believe there were many purposes for this, not the least of which would be companionship on the journey. Church doctrine and theology teaches that only souls go to heaven, but the question that haunts me at this moment is, will I ever be with Molly again? Heaven is supposed to be the ultimate paradise, and I couldn’t help but think that if God filled the earth with these beautiful creatures, why not heaven as well so that we may truly live in eternal happiness surrounded by the many joys they bring to us? What would paradise be without them?
I was walking in the field behind my house the other day, missing the presence of Molly girl romping gleefully beside me, when I came upon two tiny fawns peering at me quizzically from under the brush. I thought with a chuckle how Molly would have gotten a charge out of chasing them out and down the path. I was once again seized with the heart-wrenching ache of grief. I looked up to the sky tearfully and said, “Did you see those deer, girl?” I imagined her smiling down upon me with her silly grin, tail wagging wildly.
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I believe that if I somehow warrant the kind of life that allows me entrance through those pearly gates of heaven, there will be my Molly girl, waiting patiently for me with that silly grin and big, firm kiss.