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Ever since I was three years old- I wanted a dog. However, my Mom was terrified of dogs, so I never had one growing up. As an adult, I wanted to make sure I had a house with a yard before I adopted a dog, so it took awhile before I was “prepared” for one.

By pure chance, I came across this 12 week old, four pound Cavachon (Bichon/Cavalier mix). When I picked her up, she snuggled into my chest, sighed deeply, and fell asleep. I was hooked. My Molly came home with me that night and might life was never the same again- it was infinitely better!
Molly and I were inseparable from the start. She slept on my bed at night- not only on my bed, but on my head. Literally, her head on top of my head. We knew each other’s thoughts and comforted each other. I comforted her when she was nervous or scared and she comforted me when I was sad or upset.

I never married, never had kids- Molly was my baby. My friend Tom said that any guy interested in me would have to understand- they come second to Molly…. Always.

Molly was incredibly smart. While she was only 16 pounds, she could open the refrigerator door, pull out the drawers (use them as stairs) and get anything she wanted off the top shelf. Molly was smarter than I was- every time I thought I had everything figured out, she one upped me. She might not have been perfect, but she was certainly perfect in my eyes.
We took two walks a day, everyday… rain or shine. One before work, and one when I got home. All of my neighbors knew her name. I was just “Molly’s Mom”. We loved our walks and playing in our big back yard. (One Halloween, a bunch of trick or treaters came by and asked if this was Molly’s house. I said yes and they yelled to their parent’s that this is where Molly lives.)

One morning, as we headed out on our walk, I noticed Molly wasn’t putting any weight on her left hind leg. She didn’t seem upset or in pain, in fact, she still wanted to go on her walk! Immediately, I picked her up and took her to the vet. Long story short, she had partially torn her CCL and I was referred to Dr Wooldridge. Dr Wooldridge and staff were oh so kind, but I was not prepared for the surgery they recommended: TPLO. I sobbed hysterically at the thought of my Molly going through it. Friends and family were quite vocal- don’t do it. She is 10 years old, how much longer does she have? It’s so expensive, etc.

Well, we did the surgery. It tore at my heart to watch her go through it and the long recovery. However, she healed brilliantly and was back to her old self – running and playing after the 16 week recovery time.
Molly was 11 when I came home from work one day and found her limping. It was her right hind leg this time. Yes, she tore that CCL. I remember being in Dr Wooldridge’s office- he took one look at us, bowed his head and said he was so sorry. He performed the TPLO on her right leg and I was confident all would go well.

The surgery went fine, however about two or three weeks later I came home from work to find Molly in major distress. She was panting, wouldn’t eat (Molly was REALLY into food). The play pen she was recovering in was filled with poop. She started vomiting. I contacted Dr. Wooldridge and he sent me to Dove Lewis. (What I didn’t know at the time, was that while I was driving there, Dr Wooldridge had called them to let them know I was on my way and emailed them all of Molly’s medical records.) They were ready for us and took good care of her. It turns out that she developed a UTI, which lead to Colitis. She used to lick per paws all the time and that led to EColi. I nearly lost her. She spent a couple days at Dove Lewis and I didn’t sleep the whole time. They called and said that if she didn’t eat in four hours, they were either going to have to insert a feeding tube or her organs were going to shut down. They suggested I come with some chicken and try feeding her. I raced to her side!

Thank God she ate, kept the food down, and I was able to bring her home! It took a long time for her system to get back to normal. I slept downstairs on the floor or couch for 13 weeks to be next to her in case she had to go out. I slept fulling clothed, just in case. We would get up at least three times in the middle of the night until her system adjusted to normal.

She got better, her leg healed and she was back to being her loving self and racing around the back yard. I was glad I ignore folks saying- “maybe it’s her time to go, you should put her down… or is she really worth all the money you are spending?” No, it was not her time to go- she was a super trooper and Yes, she was worth every dime!

Two years of blissful happiness went by when I thought I noticed her sneezing more than normal. None of my friends and family saw/heard it and neither did her vet. I took her into her vet (who is actually great!) every month for five months to get it checked. The thought was that it was allergies…… Molly showed no other signs than the slight sneezing.

One night, I awoke to find Molly not on the bed, but on the floor at the foot of the bed. There was blood on pillow case and Molly’s nose was bleeding. She started sneezing blood! Immediately I called Dove Lewis to let them know we were coming and headed on our way. When we got there, they were ready for us and took her back to do a CAT scan. They kept her overnight and called me the next day to tell me the horrible news- she has cancer. I lost it. My 13 year old baby girl Molly had cancer.

Immediately, I called Dr Wooldridge- confident the brilliant surgeon would once again fix her, save her life. Unfortunately, she had Myosarcoma in her left nasal passage- non operable. Radiation was the only possible treatment. I was told she had 3 months if I did nothing, 6-9 months if we did the palliative approach and 9-12 months if we did full radiation.

Again, friends and family challenged my decision. She is 13, how much longer does she have? It is so expensive, is it worth it? Well, my little super trooper wanted to fight the fight, so we went all in- full radiation.

In the midst of her radiation treatments, my Dad, my Hero, passed away unexpectedly. Molly and I were there to comfort and care for each other. I had my car packed as I took her to her last radiation treatment (we completed the full course) and we left from there to head up to Seattle and attended my Dad’s memorial service the next day. Yes, my Molly attended the church service with me. She quietly sat on my lap the whole time… she always loved sitting on my lap and being held.

Molly’s recovery time was long and harder than anticipated, but she did it. It was almost three years before the cancer returned and spread. We had no recourse this time….

My Molly passed away at 16- fighting cancer the whole time. She was the sweetest dog, all love, no aggression, but she fought cancer. She fought for us to stay together.

My heart still hurts from losing her three years ago. However, I am truly thankful and blessed for Dr Wooldridge, everyone at VCSS as well as Dove Lewis. It is an honor that they named the fund after my Molly. May her love, energy and spirit live on through this fund and everyone that the fund helps.

– Mary S.