The World To Me

In Loving Memory Of Miracle Molly
Greenville, Virginia

In 2008, a community opened its heart to a local family whose house burned to the ground. The couple, Eddie and Sandy Smith, survived but three cats perished, and their dog, Molly, almost lost her life, too.

Curled up in a heap, singed and smoking, firefighters saved the three-year-old brindled Pitbull’s life. Molly had third degree burns on her nipples and the pads of her feet. Her lungs and esophagus were also scorched.  Plus her eyes were damaged from the heat, smoke and fire.

Dubbed Miracle Molly because of her incredible survival, it was a long road back to health. But make it back she did. Molly was on hand when Eddie and Sandy welcomed a baby boy, Jesse.

With a new charge to occupy her time, the young dog rebounded. Sweet and utterly devoted to her tight knit family, for the next 8 years, Molly would enjoy all the perks of a happy family.

Molly 2015-03-13_23.27.02They took her with them to a lot of places. And when they did, it was the same story for everyone who met Molly. They instantly fell in love with her. Molly knew why she was here; it was to love, and the whole world was invited.

Sandy often said Molly made a Scooby face. She would cock her head to one side with one ear up and one down. “I swear it looked like she was getting ready to laugh,” Eddie recalled.

When it was time to go potty, Sandy would ask, “Ready to go outside?” Then they would wait. Molly would make this noise that sounded like “woo-woo,” which meant, “Yes, I am!”

The whole family would roll with laughter. Molly, with her sweet, gentle nature and goofy gestures, made even the hardest day a little easier.

Then a year ago, her vet discovered a tumor the size of an eraser.  It was located on her abdomen towards her back legs. Molly was happy and energetic. She appeared to have no pain. Because the vet thought it was a fatty tumor, it was decided not to take any invasive action.

Molly was now 9 years old, but as Eddie said, “…she is full of spunk and will still run with our other dogs all day long.”

And then all hell broke loose. Eddie’s wife, Sandy, died in February 2015, leaving her husband and child in shock. As a father and a husband, he had the impossible task of looking into the tearful eyes of his seven-year-old son. He had to try and explain why his mommy wasn’t here with them, why she would never be with them again.

Eddie’s heart was an open wound, trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of his life and move on. His mother volunteered to come and stay with Eddie and Jesse for a while, which was a huge relief.

Then Eddie noticed that Molly’s tumor had started to grow in a very big way. In a month’s time, the tumor that was the size of an eraser grew to the size of a grapefruit.

That’s when he took Molly to Natural Bridge Hospital for Animals. “My wife passed away on February 1st and things have been really hard,” Eddie told us. “I couldn’t imagine losing Molly, too.”

The staff was amazed at how cooperative Molly was. She never once complained, allowing the vet and her staff to examine her. “Molly is a sweet, happy dog,” staff member, Trisha, told us.

Truly, if sweetness could have a name, it would be Molly. It was obvious to the staff that Molly, Eddie, and his son, Jesse, were tight. They would look at each other as if to say, “You’re the world to me,” “I’m here for you. What do you want me to do?” It was an unbreakable bond you could almost feel.

Natural Bridge set a date for surgery the following week. When Eddie brought her in, the vet was incredulous. The grapefruit sized tumor had grown to the size of a cantaloupe. The tumor was hard, extremely red and warm to the touch; Molly’s leg was also swollen.

The tumor was so big that Molly had difficulty walking. She could not sit or lie down comfortably. Yet, she remained as sweet and easygoing as ever. It was time for a specialist and surgery needed to happen quickly.

That’s when Natural Bridge Hospital for Animals alerted us to the situation. With the loss of Eddie’s wife, Sandra, at such an early age, life had dealt this family a severe blow. And now, a month after her death, Molly was facing a showdown with her own mortality. Yes, we definitely wanted to help!

We weren’t the only ones that offered a helping hand. The Sam Houston Ruritan Club in Lexington heard of the family’s plight and also made a donation toward her surgery.

Natural Bridge Hospital for Animals made arrangements with Virginia Tech to have Molly admitted, with The Mosby Foundation funding her surgery. Molly’s surgery went well. When Eddie and Jesse were allowed to see her, she tried to jump up to greet them, her face a classic Scooby happy face.

What could possibly be wrong? Her family was with her and that’s all that mattered. And Molly was right, of course. When she came home, Eddie had everything set up in her own spot.  The healing touch of home allowed Molly to get stronger. She did have to wear the protective Elizabethan collar, but as you can expect, she wore it with grace.

In the meantime, the results of the biopsy came back and the news wasn’t good. Molly had mammary osteosarcoma and a suspicious spot on one of her lungs. Although the mass had been removed, her prognosis was poor. The vet was unsure if chemotherapy would be of benefit to her.

Some dogs live for a few months; others live as long as a year. Because Molly had already had so much surgery, she needed time to heal before even considering chemo. As long as her quality of life was good, that was the most important consideration.

And it was. Molly loved hanging out with Eddie’s three other dogs. Even though she wore the E-collar, she had a blast. She was with her family. Life was good.

Over Easter weekend, Eddie’s mother, returning from an errand, drove the pickup truck into their driveway.

No one really knows how it happened. Eddie said that the cone prevented Molly from clearly seeing the truck. Mrs. Smith didn’t see the dog, and Molly ran straight toward the front of it.

Mrs. Smith was in shock, especially when Molly stood up. She had blood in her mouth but otherwise appeared unharmed. Eddie grabbed her up and took Molly to the emergency vet.

During the 20-minute drive, Molly sat beside him and never once whimpered. The vet took x-rays and miraculously found no broken bones or internal bleeding. Her tooth was broken, which caused the blood. It was extracted and Eddie was instructed to follow up with their vet on Monday.

Around 6 a.m. on Monday morning, Molly was sleeping in the house. She suddenly began to have seizures and crossed the Rainbow Bridge without waking. Eddie broke down.

The dog that had survived a house fire, cancer surgery, and an automobile accident, now left her earthbound family. It wasn’t like her to make a fuss. Her one desire was to always be love.

And she was. Molly was, first and foremost, a lady whose life was dedicated to service and to love.  And a lady always knows how to leave quietly.

Eddie buried Miracle Molly in the yard. When you look out of the kitchen window, you can see the forever spot where her body is buried. Her spirit shines down on her family now, warming them, as always.

And if you close your eyes, just for a moment, you can almost hear her beckoning her family to an eternity of love of play.

*The Mosby Foundation thanks Sam Houston Ruritan Club for their generous donation. We also thank Blue Buffalo and Petco for their grant to help dog’s fight canine cancer. Without them, we could not have helped Molly and her family.