Golly, Miss Molly
A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)
Our last two blogs addressed military bugle calls of Reveille and Sunset. Taps sounds the final bugle call of the day. The terminology “taps” comes from the Dutch term taptoe, which means “close the beer taps and send the troops back to camp.” The well-known tune goes by the name of “Butterfield’s Lullaby” or “Day is Done.”
Letting Go of Precious Miss Molly
Molly’s groomer picked her up one evening and called to tell us about the possibilities of new homes for her. Until a new home is found, Miss Molly stays with the groomer and her two large male dogs. As it turns out, Miss Molly dominates the boys, who willingly submit to her alpha-mom status. She also reported that Molly, a 135 pound St. Bernard/Great Pyrenees, sleeps in bed between her and her husband. With a huge backyard and two playmates, Molly runs and plays all day—something she did not get to do living with us. The groomer reports that she sometimes sits in a corner and whimpers, breaking our hearts even more.
Molly served many roles in our home: protector, friend, PTSD coach, brace and balance expert, service dog, and our canine love. Her role intervening in PTSD attacks for my Veteran made her indispensable for his disability. She even helped me with brace and balance while undergoing chemotherapy. So, to be faced with a decision about accommodating my severe asthma or William’s need for his service animal, I would have preferred to live with my condition. Unfortunately, my doctor made it clear that living with my condition would not last long, as the damage to my lungs threatens my life.
For days after giving her up, we see Molly running up the stairs, we hear her dewclaws clicking on the floor, and hear her snoring in the closet—only she isn’t here. We grieve with tears large enough to fill dry lakes. While in the kitchen, I hear sobbing from the den where my husband grips the arms on his chair. The microwave drowns out my sobs but moisture on my apron betrays my sorrow. When I serve dinner and Miss Molly no longer surfaces from naptime to sniff the menu, my Veteran and I hold hands and pray that Miss Molly finds a good home and is doing well. Before falling asleep at night after Taps, we long to hear her snoring just one more time.
The Finality of Taps
When I started the three-part series on bugle calls, I planned to talk about the relief it brings one. It tells us the day is in the past. Whatever we left behind stays behind. Taps tells us turning back events cannot happen and the time has come to let go of the day, looking forward to tomorrow.
With the loss of Miss Molly in our lives, the final bugle call becomes more final for us. Prospects of tomorrow without our lovable fur ball pains us like daggers in the heart. Taps reminds us we cannot get in the car and retrieve Molly to tell her we love her and it was all a mistake. Taps tells us that we must truly let her go.
Because this blog is Molly’s blog, it cannot continue without her. While this blogger remains committed to encouraging Veterans and their family caregivers, without the heart and stories of Miss Molly, I must also let go of the blog. This is the last blog.
Taps to Miss Molly
Although I wrote a poem when my cat died, I do not have the words to express the loss of our Miss Molly. I will end by saying:
Miss Molly we love you so much. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Thank you for your loyalty to my Veteran. For your slobbering, messes, and snoring, I’m sorry I complained. You were a blessing to our household. We will never forget how you changed our lives for the better. May God grant you a new loving home with vast fields to run and play. May he grant you a family, who needs you as much as we do. May you continue to inspire great stories and touch others as deeply as you touched us.
For Miss Molly, Taps plays.
May you rest in the Butterfield’s Lullaby.