This story of Mollie #120 first appeared in a 2006 EGRR newsletter. Our Mollie went to the Bridge on December 18, 2014. Her age was estimated to be about 16. After enduring all sorts of problems in her life, from heartworm disease, cancer, a severed Achilles tendon, and vestibular disease, Mollie always bounced back. We can honestly say her cause of death was “old age.”
I’m Mollie and I am so proud of myself. I just passed my Canine Good Citizen test. I have a beautiful certificate with my name on it, and a new silver tag on my collar. I am a very special dog now, but just two short years ago, I was a frightened, sick, smelly girl, living in the shelter in West Palm Beach.
I waited there for my family to come get me, but they never showed up. It was so scary with all the dogs around me barking, because I don’t like loud noises. I didn’t have a lot of strength, and was having trouble breathing. I also had a lump on my side and I didn’t know what it was. My blond fur felt very yucky because it was covered with tar and motor oil, and I knew I didn’t smell great. I heard someone say that I would have to be “put to sleep” because I was heartworm positive. I didn’t know what any of that meant, but I didn’t like the sound of it. It sounded even worse than the other dogs barking, so I just went to sleep in the corner of my cage thinking that maybe that was what they wanted.
Suddenly, someone opened my cage, put a leash on me, and took me out of the noisy kennel. Two nice ladies, wearing tags that said “Everglades Golden Retriever Rescue”, were waiting outside the kennel. I remember one of they saying “She’s gorgeous!” when I first came out. They signed some papers, and off we went. I didn’t feel gorgeous because of my yucky fur and bad smell, but I was glad to get into the van with the ladies. They kept the window open during the whole trip to the vet because of my smell,
Wow, did it feel good to get into the bath tub. Now that I was clean, no one minded if I gave kisses. (I am great at giving kisses.) Dr. Butzer removed the lump on my side and started my heartworm treatment. It made me feel horrible! Finally, when I was feeling a little better, someone from EGRR came to take my picture for the website. I must have looked pretty now, because there were lots of calls from people who wanted to meet me. After 5 days, I went home with the lady who thought I was gorgeous. She was going to be my “foster mom”. It was nice to be in a house with people again. I was afraid of the other Golden in the house, but he just ignored me. My foster mom told me that a family was going to come to see me, and would probably adopt me. That sounded good, but then we found out that my lump was a malignant tumor.
Who would want a dog with cancer? Maybe they would take me back to that horrible shelter. I thought I would rather be “put to sleep” than to go back there. Well, I soon found out that my foster mom and dad really loved me and they wanted me no matter what was wrong with me. There would be no more scary shelter for me! My foster parents saw me through all of my recovery from heartworm, and then a second surgery on my mast cell tumor, to get “clean margins”. EGRR paid for all my treatments and medical bills, and saved my life.
Once my medical problems were gone, Mom, who was now my “forever” Mom, worked with me on my confidence, teaching me that the world was not such a scary place. After a while, I stopped growling at garage doors and white vans. I learned that other dogs, like my brother, would not hurt me. I went to obedience school and learned commands, so I could understand what people expected of me. I also took time out to do my favorite things — playing ball, taking long walks, and swimming. Now it is my turn to give something back to the world.
I have been training to be a therapy dog! On Monday afternoons, I go with Mom to the library, where the children read to me. I never laugh at them when they make mistakes, so they just keep reading until they become better readers and stop making mistakes. On Tuesday mornings I go with Dad to visit people in a nursing home. It makes me feel good to see the people smile when I come into the room. I wag my tail which is how I smile back at them and I give my famous kisses too. By the time you read this, I will probably have my certification; now that I have my CGC, I just need 3 supervised visits. I also do EGRR home visits with Mom, helping her decide if the people we visit would be good parents to a Golden like me.
The final part of my story is a special message for all of you out there – please be sure to keep your dogs on Heartworm prevention. There are several kinds, so ask your vet what is best for you and your dog. Heartworm disease is so easy to prevent, but very difficult and dangerous to cure. You will save your dogs the horrible feeling of going through the treatment that I had to endure. I never want to go feel that way again, but I know I won’t have to, because I take my Interceptor every month.