I think there are “dog people,” “cat people,” and “animal people.”
Although I love animals, including the occasional cat, I’m really a “dog person.”
The first dog I remember loving was Rex, the farm dog. Rex belonged to my Granddad. He was a big black dog that was gentle with me but fierce to help around the farm herding the pigs and the cattle. All it took was the command, “Sic ‘em, Rex” and he sprung to action. Even when shouted by a 6 year old. Unfortunately, Granddad wasn’t too happy when I had Rex herding the pigs and cattle all sorts of places they weren’t supposed to be.
When Daddy took over the farming, he kept Australian Shepherds as cattle dogs. They weren’t pets but they spent their nights in town with us, riding to the farm with Daddy each morning. Pee Wee, Chubby, and Blacky Carbon (my choice of name. I’m not really creative with pet names and unfortunately, Lauren inherited the trait. The first dog we had after she was born was Bingo–yes, from the song. And that was my name-O since I sang the song to her. When we got a Black Lab a few years later, with Lauren a bit older, she got to name him. Her choice was “Black Lab.” She comes by it naturally although my Grand-dog is named Mango, so she’s gotten a bit more creative!)
Man of My Dreams is much more creative in the naming department and our family has loved–and lost a number of dogs and cats with various creative names. (He and the boys are also “cat people.” And a friend gave Lauren a cat who she named Thomasina (even though it was a boy) who I always said was the kind of cat that gives cats a bad name! Luckily, Thomasina mellowed in her old age and we became great friends–although from a distance.)
When Daddy died 4 years ago, his dog needed a home and so Patches came to live with us.
The more, the merrier. At one point, we had 3 inside dogs and 2 outside dogs and 2 outside cats. Not quite a zoo, but when you add Man of My Dreams and I and our crazy lives, there were times it seemed like it.
Today, I want to tell you about Molly, AKA The Sweetest Dog in the World who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Friday.
When Kary and I married, we had all outside pets. But I sort of missed having a house dog. I grew up with outside dogs until our Pekingese, Patches was hit by a car driven by our pastor’s daughter. In kind of a crazy coincidence, the pastor’s older son was moving and had a Pekingese that he was trying to give away. Reverend Carrier drove to Hutchinson to get the dog to heal our broken hearts and by the time he returned, it was evening. And you can’t have a new dog and just stick it outside in a strange place. So Tinky was allowed to stay inside for one night. She must have had a 6th sense that my Mom was the “indoor dog hold out” and she promptly went over and laid by my mom’s feet. Tinky never did become an outside dog.
We bought Inky, our double dapple dachshund, as a present for Kary. She was going to be a “store dog” at The Artist Corner. But she would ferociously bark at the glass door when a customer would attempt to come in so it really didn’t work and she became the family dog. I could fill dozens of blogs with her craziness but the one thing she did was have a tawdry affair with a “fast barking, traveling sales dog” as the old joke goes, leading to the unexpected addition of 4 puppies.
The kids were over joyed. Us? Not so much. As best we could figure, the father was a fluffy white part poodle. The puppies were born with a dachshund body but were balls of long curly hair! We told the kids they could keep one and they chose the one male–Fitzy. Then the runt of the litter got sick and I nursed her back to health. Molly was so tiny, she fit in the palm of my hand. She was a bundle of silver and black sweetness as she got better. And just like my Mom, I caved and we ended up with Inky and her two puppies which Man of My Dreams deemed Flockshunds (fluffy dachshunds). They were our three inside dogs and grew up with our kids and then kept us company as our nest emptied out.
A year or so ago, within a few months of each other, we lost Inky and Fitzy. It was incredibly hard. I’d nicknamed Inky, the Oneriest Dog in the World because of her antics.
Fitzy was the Nicest Dog in the World (I said Fitzy was like the only leper in the Bible who came back to say thank you to Jesus after He healed them! For example, when we’d come home and let them outside, they’d all three make a mad dash for the door, then Fitzy would always circle back, panting, tail wagging to jump up as if to say thanks. Same thing when I’d feed them–the mad dash for the dish and then Fitzy would leave chowing down to come wag his tail and let you know he appreciated the good grub. He was just so nice!)
And Molly was always, the Sweetest Dog in the World. She had her moments of oneriness, but mostly, she just wanted to be loved on and to love on you.
After always being with her mom and brother, it was hard on her being alone. We’d never been “those people” who took their dogs everywhere. Although we did hilariously take all three of them camping one time. We chased them around the campground in the dark after they dug out of their fenced enclosure. Then the next day a storm collapsed the very expensive, heavy duty, covered enclosure on them and we all ended up in our pop up camper holding the supports while getting soaked and praying we didn’t get toppled over in strong straight line winds. Good times.
But with the other two gone, and Molly alone at home so often, we began to take her. She made trips to the farm with Kary pretending to be a farm dog. She’d go with us on our Walmart runs and get her own Happy meal. (She liked both the Chicken Nuggets and the Cheeseburger–but plain, please. No onions!) She went on vacation with us and made trips to Denver. We smuggled her into a motel room when we were stuck on I 70 during a blizzard and the only hotel available didn’t accept pets. She did just fine until a big dog smuggled in by another traveler began barking and she thought she’d join in. Luckily the motel staff looked the other way!
She just didn’t do well being boarded by herself. We tried people coming to let her out and dog watchers and walkers to come in but she’d be sick by the time we got home. She just wanted us.
She was scared of storms so last summer started sharing our bed. We had truly become “those people.” And she loved it and so did we.
She got sick in late June. Diabetes. The same disease that took her mom and brother. We’d gone the insulin route with both Fitzy and Inky and it was awful. Testing their blood with no way to explain why we were hurting them. Insulin shots twice a day with no way to make it easier on them. We didn’t want the same for Sweet Molly. So we increased her exercise and bought her special food and stopped giving her the treats she loved.
And she did well. She lost some weight and we all adjusted. But it was just a stop gap measure and last Friday, our sweet Molly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
I believe all dogs go to heaven. I’ve jokingly said I’m not sure about cats because cats can be so snooty. But there are lots of people who love them and so I’m sure it wouldn’t be heaven to them, without their beloved pets.
I don’t have any great theological insight on animals in heaven except that Jesus rides a horse in Revelation. So why have a horse and not the rest of the zoo? And I can’t imagine a God that knew we’d need the example of the unconditional love of dogs to have other animals there and not our beloved pets. So that is what I believe. I wrote about my words to my dad and how I believe he is roping and riding a good horse in heaven.
You can read it here. http://kimzweygardt.com/2012/10/this-is-not-the-end/
RIP Sweet Molly. This picture was taken at Camp Bow Wow in Oklahoma City last July. She got to go to “camp” and play with other dogs while we went out to dinner with my niece and to an art exhibit. She had such a great time. I think it reminded her of the “good old days” when she had her Mom and brother to romp with. We live across the street from a park and Kary would take the three “little dogs” and the two “big dogs” and they’d all run and play. I imagine it seemed like heaven to a dog.
It was such a great experience, we thought she’d have other trips to “camp” but it wasn’t to be. But I like to think she is romping and playing in heaven with Inky and Fitzy and Katy and Beaudreaux and Dozer and all the other dogs who’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Now she can feast all she wants and she is strong and playful again. She can see and she doesn’t hurt. I have a feeling, heaven’s more fun than even Camp Bow Wow. We love you, Molly. Thank you for loving us and we’ll see you again….