Cumberland Times-News

June 4, 2014

Requiem for one who crossed the ‘Rainbow Bridge’

Cumberland Times-News

— I guess every pet owner has a story. Pets become a member of the family, and when your pet passes it’s always difficult.

Several weeks ago my wife and I had to make a decision that we dreaded, but we knew it was inevitable. Our ailing 17-year-old Labrador retriever had collapsed and was in distress. We called Dr. Harman at Hillside Animal Hospital and made arrangements to have Molly put to sleep. Dr. Harman and his staff were caring and supportive, and we thank them for helping us through that very difficult day and through the many years during which they cared for Molly.

When Molly was 7 years old her owners had to find a new home for her. At that time my father-in-law had recently lost his wife of 63 years. A dear friend, Tiffany, persuaded my father-in-law to take Molly. Tiffany hoped that Molly would help Earl as he tried to fill the void left after the death of his wife, Helen.

Earl enjoyed Molly’s company, although she was quite a size and certainly not the lap dog that he envisioned. She stayed by his side and Molly quickly learned that Earl’s house was a good place where she was rewarded nightly with a delicious bowl of ice cream. Molly was with Earl when he died suddenly, only a few weeks after Molly had found her new home.

Our son, who had just moved back to Cumberland, offered to move into his grandparents’ house and take care of Molly until decisions were made about what to do with the 90-pound Lab.

Earl’s house was eventually sold, our son moved, and my wife and I added a new member to our family. Molly and I became inseparable, even though I did cut down on the ice cream treats.

As I sit here thinking about her, I can picture her playing in a stream in the springtime and watching me as I hooked a rainbow trout. She would keep her eye on me and bark with disapproval until the fish was finally placed safely back in the water.

In the summer, she loved the campfire. I can see her circling the fire ring, trying to bite the embers that danced through the air.

She would follow me into the woods in the fall, sniffing the fallen leaves as I searched for the perfect spot for the upcoming whitetail season.

Winter was her time to chase those magically disappearing snowballs. The puzzled look on her face made me laugh as she tried to find each one.

During the last two years, Molly slowed down considerably; she could no longer join me if I left the house. She never left my side when I was home. She pawed my hand each morning after I was finished with my coffee and newspaper. No matter how depressing the news of the day, Molly always made things seem better. She never judged, never complained, was always there for me with her big, adoring eyes. I often teased my wife: “Why don’t you look at me like that?” For those who believe and love their pets, she has now crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” to suffer no more and to wait for the day when we will be reunited.

So, Molly, thanks for all the wonderful memories. Our son wrote a song about Molly, titled “Man’s Best Friend.” It’s hard for me to listen to the words now. But, Molly, you truly were my best friend.

Ron Miller