Sunday, January 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by Martina
It is no great secret that I love animals and have little use for people who don't. I couldn't be friends with someone who didn't treat them kindly. In my house, pets are treated like family. They sleep on the sofa and in the beds, often under the blankets. Where we go, they go. It's just how we roll.

And when they get sick, we do everything possible to make them comfortable, because once you take a pet into your life, you are responsible for it's well being and quality of life until the end of its days. Sadly, the end of Molly's days came yesterday around 1:00 p.m. She had been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure back in July. We almost lost her then, but she she fought her way back. For a good six months, you would have never known that she was sick at all. She was back to her old self.

Then, about a week ago, she started to crash. After a harrowing week of IV drips and force feeding at the vet, we learned on Friday that she seemed to be taking a turn for the better and that we might again be able to bring her home this weekend. When we visited her that day, she had not yet started eating, but was sniffing and trying to mouth her food. She was weak, but alert and happy to see us. Things looked guardedly better. The vet even thought we might be able to bring her home.

Overnight, however, something happened and she crashed again. By morning, she was too weak to drink out of her water dish without her head falling into it. So when I called the vet yesterday, instead of what time we'd be able to bring her home, I learned that she was in the end stages of renal failure. We could take her home, but she wouldn't last more than a few days.

Suddenly the temporary 10% pay cut I'd just learned about at work didn't seem so important when faced with the idea that this little creature with whom I'd shared the last 14 years would never again cuddle up next to me in bed at night or squeak when she heard Little Richard Sing "Good Golly Miss Molly" or drape herself over the stereo speakers to listen to the opening bars of "Soave sia il vento" as she always did when the song came on. She would never again go for a ride in the car, standing on her hind legs, peering out the window like a little dog or sit staring lovingly at me while I played my violin for her. Frankly, I'd give the cut permanently, if it meant having her back whole and healthy. But, of course, death doesn't work that way. There are no bargains to be made.

Molly gave me too much over the years for me to allow her to suffer as she slowly starved to death. As long as it seemed that she could still get bettter, we continued the treatments, but making her suffer even after it was clear that she was going to die would have been cruel. She deserved more than to die painfully and smelling of the waste her kidneys could no longer process.

So, I spent a last hour with her before signing the papers to let her go to sleep. I held her bony little body in my lap and petted and hugged her as they gave her the shot. It only took a moment. She now rests in the back yard near the lilac bush where we sometimes sit and read in the summer. I'm glad it's still winter, because I couldn't sit there now without crying. I can't even type this without doing that.

Still, for all the sadness of the past week, I wouldn't trade a second with her or any of our other animals to avoid it. I am so thankful for that sunny day in Laguna Beach that I first brought her home. She was tiny, just a little silvery grey ball of fur with a pink ribbon tied around her neck. What she lacked in size, she more than made up for in inquisitiveness and sweetness. In the end, she brought so much joy to our lives. And that is something about which to be happy.


Jen said...

I'm so sorry, Martina. No matter how long and how happy her life, it's still so hard when they go.

Martina said...

Thanks, Jen. It is tough, but it was just a matter of time. I'm trying to remember that we were lucky for the extra six months we got, but it's not so easy.

Sonya said...

Oh, poor Molly! Martina, you gave her a wonderful life. What a lucky little kitty to have had you for her mum.

Martina said...

Thanks, Sonya!