Molly’s & Teddy’s Stories ~ Paula & Craig Taylor, Victoria
Tails of love and loss (but mostly love)
In 2008 we were blessed with two furry additions to our family. Molly in October and Teddy in December. The human parents of these then six- and five-year old bundles of madness and mayhem made the courageous and heart-wrenching decisions to rehome their precious Dales and we became the new leads in their canine happily-ever-after story.
Molly is a dancing, prancing Nancy with a big bark behind closed gates and a shivering, shuddering, Shirley at cameras, loud noises, storms, fireworks or the thwack of a cricket ball against the metal fence across the road.
Teddy is big, laid back, fearless and a true boof-head. Content to lie around in the sun all day but quick as a flash to see off any feline daring to come within range or fruitlessly hunt for the red fox that slips in and out of sight on our morning walks.
We had never had two dogs to love at once but we came to realise our love was not shared between the two, but rather doubled.
I so enjoy watching the two of them frolic and play their biteyface games; both equally assuming the role of dog-botherer but most ending with Molly ramping up the volume and snappy-shouting to let Ted know he has pushed her too far. Always the gentleman, Ted is happy to desist but I swear he gives me a wink when he saunters off!
In and out of the Valley of Tears
In September 2011 we were woken by Teddy for the morning walk which was uncommon as Molly usually came in at the first sleepy chirp of a bird, trying periodically over the next hour to encourage us to finally agree it was indeed time to get up. Molly was not herself, but she wagged her tail none the less and agreed to the walk. It soon became clear that she was in serious trouble and an emergency trip to the vet revealed she had a severe case of pancreatitis. Things were very grave for several days and I sat cradling her head at the vet hospital where she spent four long days in intensive care. I cried myself to sleep every night.
Happily she made a full recovery and a change of diet (for both her and Teddy) made for two happy and healthy black & tans.
In July this year our extended family went on a long-anticipated five day holiday. The plan was for the first five adults, three children and four dogs to arrive at a rambling property in Eildon for the first two nights followed by an additional five adults who were to periodically turn up over the ensuing three days.
I drove my sister, Molly and Teddy up on the morning of the first day in convoy with my niece and her three children and Tilly the Spoodle. Their husbands were to join us in the afternoon with Jazz the Malamute.
When we arrived a couple of plumbers were there fixing a leak under the house, making quite a racket. We weren’t too thrilled by that but decided to not let it spoil our holiday and proceeded to explore the property and anticipate the glorious sunny days ahead. We were joined by two local dogs more than happy to show us around. I noticed Molly out of the corner of my eye looking slightly wary amongst the new surroundings but by the time we got the house open, found our rooms and put the kettle on, I realised she was missing.
She didn’t come back that night. She didn’t come back the next night. She was a scaredy-dog in unfamiliar territory and I feared the worst. I cried myself to sleep every night, cuddled up to Teddy as Craig was not due to arrive till after work on the Saturday.
We enlisted the help of the wonderful Eildon locals who activated the country town grapevine; advice from the local Police Sergeant about putting an announcement on the community radio station and the good old fashioned community notice board in the centre of town. We found our girl after lunch on the third day. She had been seen by a by a group of dirt bike riders about three kilometres down the road we were staying on. Five kilometres in the opposite direction of where she had been sighted on the first day. She was a tired, sore, forlorn creature when we found her but my heart and the floodgates burst as this time I cried tears of joy!
Tired and grateful we returned home, noticing Teddy had developed a limp on his left rear leg. It looked nasty, as though the spongy inside was pushing its way out of a split on his pad. A trip to the vet revealed it was infected from, we all assumed, being pierced by sharp stick or rock while on our Eildon adventure. X-rays, antibiotics and several vet bills seemed to have done the trick and his pad appeared to have returned to normal.
At the beginning of September I noticed the pink spongy protrusion again. The vet we saw on this visit was the owner of the practice. He thought a possible explanation could be that some vegetation may have been caught up in the pad that could not be seen in the initial x-ray. He suggested another x-ray and exploratory surgery to be certain. It turned out Teddy had an inoperable soft tissue sarcoma in his pad. The bad news (there was more?) was that this type of tumour does not respond to the usual cancer treatments; the good news (yes please!) was that these sarcomas rarely spread to other parts of the body (oh thank goodness)…and there was a “curative” treatment ─ amputation. I cried myself to sleep again.
After digesting the information and sleeping (sobbing) on it, we decided we would go ahead straight away. We took him in on the morning of day two after the initial news and I walked out in tears.
I took a week off work to nurse him. I thought I would have to hold him up while he learned to go to the toilet, but that was not necessary. I wondered if he would know his leg was missing, but he just seems to be getting on with it.
Now he is no longer on painkillers which included sedatives, he is 90% back to his old self. We take him on longer walks each day (currently 15 mins – though Molly gets to go the extra mile much to his consternation!) It’s been 18 days since his operation. The stitches come out on Monday (a little longer than usual as unfortunately the vet himself has been unwell) and as I type this Teddy is stirring for his dinner, seemingly oblivious to his status as a tripod!
The ledger: we almost lost Molly to pancreatitis; we actually lost her for three miserable days; Teddy lost a leg; we lost a lot of sleep and several zeros from our bank account! Yet love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. These two entertaining, eccentric, energetic, and enchanting creatures with seven fluffy legs have enriched our lives beyond measure. We are blessed to have shared their history for the past four years and look forward to their unfolding stories.
Paula & Craig Taylor
October 28, 2012
November 10, 2012
It was a beautiful day several Sundays ago. Teddy and Molly received a visit from Jane Walker and Jan Roberson with a card and home baked doggy treats after they had heard of Teddy’s leggy-loss. Prior to that Sue Forrester had phoned to pass on her love, concerns and wisdom. We were overwhelmed by the sense of care and community expressed by these wonderful women.
The following Wednesday I returned from work to be greeted by Teddy bounding down the driveway, while Molly ~ unusually ~ stood at the top of the driveway. As soon as I got closer I recognised the unmistakable signs of another attack of pancreatitis. I rushed her immediately to the vet where she spent the night and following day on drips and antibiotics. We don’t know what triggered the attack, but it was not as severe as the first one as we caught it early. Nevertheless it was terribly distressing for her, not to mention us.
The ledger will always remained balanced however as…all you need is love.
July 3 2013
I’m writing to let you know we lost our big boy Teddy last month.
He began suffering intermittent seizures earlier in the year. We suspected a brain tumour but were unwilling to allow the vet to make any invasive investigations. We just didn’t want to put him through it after last year. We knew we would make the tough decision when the time was right.
After returning from his walk on the morning of June 6 he was unable to use his remaining back leg. Cecily and I took him to the vets that afternoon who confirmed the paralysis originated from somewhere high up in his brain stem. We brought him home for our good-byes, and Craig and Callum took him back to the vets that night for the final time.
Molly grows younger by the day and continues to bring us great joy. Our sadness is mitigated by her antics and we were delighted to have had Teddy as part of our family.
From AireNet in response ….
Thank you with all our hearts for giving Teddy and Molly the home they so richly deserve, and for giving Teddy the loving gift of final release from suffering. We know too that Teddy’s earlier family, while devastated too with the news of his death, are also grateful to you for the loving and dedicated care you always give to your Airedales.
From the subject you know that we have said our last goodbyes to our dear girl Molly. It happened on September 3 and I’ve waited till now to let you know, thinking it would be easier to do with some distance, but I am weeping as I type.
Although 12 years old she had been her usual bright, happy, quirky self, but we noticed she was mildly incontinent. The vet treated her for a bladder infection however over the ensuing days we noticed her tummy had begun to distend. I took her to the vet in the afternoon who instigated some further investigation and gave her a painkilling injection with instructions to come back that night for an additional one. By the time I came home from work she was terribly distressed and in a lot of pain. Craig and I had spoken several months earlier about not wanting to prolong her life with medical intervention when the time came as we had done with Teddy. I rang the vet to say we would bring her in as planned, but would not be bringing her home.
We absolutely adored our Molly Mop with her happy dancing feet and her chortled greeting every time we came home. She had a wonderful life with us and our lives were immeasurably enriched by having her as part of our family.
Craig and Callum took her to the vet for last time as they did with Teddy. Cecily and her husband Josh arrived for a planned two week visit a couple of days after we farewelled our girl, along with their two one year old German Short Haired Pointers which somewhat mitigated our initial sense of loss. However as today’s tears attest, the grief remains.
We know we will be dog owners again somewhere in the future, but for now we are content to spend time with our memories of Molly the Magnificent and Courageous Teddy Tripod.
Thanks so much for bringing them into our lives.
Love Paula x