Thank you, Molly

IMG_4507 M eyes webIMG_1323 M flowers webIMG_1135 M modem webSaid goodbye and thank you for 18.5 years to sweet Molly on December 5, 2014.

She was a delightful dickens, a dignified lady and a rescue-rescue. A friend’s daughter saved a pregnant kitten some boys threw into a canal. Molly (and her litter mate MacKenzie) were among the seven kittens.

Molly was always tiny, made a game of everything, inspected everything and “helped” every worker here, including the man from the cable company who insisted on meeting her when he came to reclaim the modem that died after she coughed up a fur ball right into the ventilation holes!

She came when called, loved to snuggle under covers and in the basket of clothes fresh from the dryer, was a fan of salmon and feta cheese and enjoyed batting plastic bags and pawing through the pages of magazines.

She was gentle when playing with foster kids, loved hanging with my Mom (and sharing her Doritos) and purred loudest when getting belly kisses. So glad to have had her in my life. She left her paw prints on my heart.

Rocky – a loving, loyal family member

We welcomed Rocky into our lives December of 2001. He was just six weeks old at the time and small enough to fit into a shoebox (we know this from experience). Since then, Rocky has become a beloved family member. One of the activities Rocky likes best is going for walks through Hines or Maybury. He knows a walk is coming when my mom puts her tennis shoes on, my dad gets his windbreaker jacket out, or when someone asks him where his leash is. While my sister, Olivia, and I were visiting our other sister, Hannah, in France over Christmas, we even tried talking to our puppy via Skype by asking him if he wanted to go for a walk. To our amusement, his ears perked up and his head turned into that confused look. It’s a riot when he gets excited because his whole body moves as his huge tail wags back and forth.

When Rocky sleeps, he tends to snore. At first, we thought it was a passing phase. Now, I think it’s almost like one of those sound machines. We don’t know how we lived without one! I’m not sure everyone would agree — sorry Grandma! Rocky also has various spots where he rests. One of my favorite spots he chose is in the kitchen in the little nook where the stool is supposed to go. When he sits there, it usually means he’s hungry. I figured this out by watching him cram his huge body into the small cave then breathe out a sigh of annoyance. Finally, he starts whining until someone notices. Maybe it’s his dog scale; checking to see if he still fits, then rewards himself with more food if he does. Speaking of food, he has been on a diet of green beans the past couple months because he is a bit overweight. He seems to be enjoying the bland taste. I have even seen more of a jump in his step since he took the challenge. The other day my mom went all out and got him organic green beans!

While I was taking a spring course at CMU, my mom, Rocky and I met up in Lansing for a picnic one Saturday. After we ate, we decided to let Rocky go without a leash. It’s impossible to get rid of him because he’s constantly looking back to make sure we are following him. If we’re not, he charges back toward us. So as we walked along the river, Rocky decided that he was thirsty. The water looked quite dirty and we knew what he was about to do, so we shouted to him in protest but he ignored our plea. Unbeknownst to Rocky, the river was deep. As he stepped into what he thought was shallow water, his body kept going forward and he fell in head first. It was pretty funny to watch him in disbelief trying to get out.

We named him Rocky but he has acquired numerous names over the years. David, Puppum, Rockum and Daidy are some of the more popular ones. He answers to them all. I even have a specific whistle to get his attention when he’s distracted.

It has been loads of fun taking care of Rocky. His loving personality and loyal tendencies put a special spot in the heart of those who meet him. He is often waiting on the porch with his red bandana around his neck and a baseball by his side when we come home, always so excited to see us. We feel blessed to have been given such a great dog.

— Gracie Booth

Remembering MacKenzie

MacKenzie was purring, her eyes were expectant and her little tail straight up when I peered into the pet carrier to meet her and her littermate, Molly. They were 12 weeks old, born June 12, 1996, and were so tiny a Tupperware sandwich container served as their litter box on their flight from Florida. (Neither one of them has ever weighed more than 9 pounds.)

My friend saw their mother being tossed into a canal by teen boys. She plucked out the cat, brought her to a vet and was told the six-month old cat was pregnant. MacKenzie and Molly were among the seven kittens in the litter.

MacKenzie was a sweetheart. At night she loved burrowing under the covers nestling into my right armpit, purring as I fell asleep. For 14 years, she was my appreciative shadow.

I heard her hiss only once. She and Molly were still little fluff balls when I accidentally stepped on one of their tails. I took off my shoes and a few moments later they were both standing at the back of the high heels hissing.

MacKenzie was a sensitive sort. She veered clear of anything with a strong fragrance – from oranges to hair spray. She spent 28 days at the vets after being spayed, allergic first to the stitches and then staples before finally healing.

And then there was the fiddle. I couldn’t expect anyone else to enjoy it when I didn’t much enjoy the sound myself. While Molly would run and hide, MacKenzie sat and cried every time I played. Then she’d throw up and go downstairs. (A real confidence booster!) At a checkup, the vet diagnosed stress-induced vomiting and asked when she threw up. “Every time I play the fiddle,” I said, cringing. MacKenzie stayed there for two days on IVs. I returned home and put my violin and brand-new pernambuco bow away.

She was beautiful on the inside as well as out with her warm brown patches offset by dabbles of orange and white stripes.

Her favorite hiding place was under the living room couch but she’d dash out when she heard it was time for a “blessing,” which always ended with a kiss on the forehead. She also delighted in a massage from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail and in having her belly kissed.

Among the other things MacKenzie loved were her bed at the wall window where she could watch birds, sitting in the kitchen window, naps in the sun, drinking from a cup, being brushed — and me! She’d sit on the back of the couch and head butt me every once in a while or pat me on the shoulder. No matter where or when I worked in the garden, I could look up and see her sweet face watching from one of the windows.

MacKenzie loved to play in water and would sit and wait until someone turned on the bathroom sink so she could drink it flowing from the tap. She’d wait for the shower door to slide open so she could jump in and lap up any dripping water. When she’d hear the furnace humidifier click on, she’d run down the basement to play in the water as it drained into the laundry tub.

She’d sit in watch every evening and greet me at the door, walking in a figure-8 pattern, tail held high, waiting to be petted. Then she’d run off ready for her favorite game – hide-and-seek.

I’d been out of town for nearly two weeks this fall and on the first night home, she crawled under the covers, snuggled up and let out a most-grateful and long-awaited sigh.

Four days later, on Sept. 30, a mass caused labored breathing. An X-ray showed it was either an enlarged heart or a cancerous mass. The vet said either one would have a complicated surgery, painful recovery and a grave prognosis. MacKenzie purred as she snuggled into the crook of my arm. Peacefully she left. I knew she was gone as the purring waned.

— Marylynn G. Hewitt