After surgery for bladder stones, Molly finds her perfect home
Five-year-old Molly found herself at the Kentucky Humane Society when her owners had to move.
When she walked through the Admissions door, it was clear to the staff that the yellow Labrador retriever was in distress. She panted and paced frantically. She even tried to jump out a window during her behavior assessment.
Then the KHS staff noticed that she squatted frequently to urinate, and there was blood in her urine. Veterinary assistant Bobbie Eason felt bladder stones through Molly's abdomen and alerted KHS' veterinarian, Dr. Shawn Williams.
Dr. Williams decided to operate immediately. She removed more than two dozen bladder stones—some an inch in diameter. Using money from Fund a Need, a special donor-supported fund used for medical and behavior rehabilitation, KHS had the stones tested: they were struvite stones. These stones are created when dogs have a specific type of bladder infection. To prevent infection and future stones, Molly would need to be on a prescription diet for the rest of her life.
"Poor Molly had probably been in terrible pain for months, if not longer," says Susan Oppel, operations director. "But as uncomfortable and as nervous as she was, she would still sit and shake hands and show us her tricks."
Molly's behavior improved a bit once she was no longer in constant pain. But she was still anxious and often barked frantically. Many potential adopters visited Molly, but they turned away after learning about her expensive diet regimen and seeing how nervous she was.
Then Molly was featured as a Pet of the Week in the "Neighborhood" section of the Courier-Journal. She caught the eye of Phyllis McMurry Tate.
Phyllis and her husband, John, had had two yellow Labrador retrievers, both adopted from shelters. Their last one had passed away recently, and Barney, their rescued five-year-old English shepherd, was lonely.
"It just wasn't the same without a yellow Lab around the house," says Phyllis.
Phyllis found herself thinking about Molly. Then her friends started calling to ask if she had seen Molly's photo in the paper.
Phyllis knew she had to meet this dog. She drove to the Springhurst Feeders Supply. By the time she arrived, Molly had been brought back to the KHS Main Campus so the staff could better monitor her special needs.
"Steedly Drive is a long way from my home in Shelby County," says Phyllis. But the next day she drove to South Louisville. She met Molly and talked to the adoptions staff about Molly's nervousness and health issues.
"I think I have good instincts about dogs," says Phyllis. "I had this feeling that Molly was upset with all the change in her life. I felt that if she could just get into a home, she would be fine."
Phyllis decided to take the chance that her instincts were right. She talked with an adoptions counselor about Molly and about her home: Molly would live on a 75 acre horse farm. She would have Barney to play with—not to mention many other rescued pets, including a dozen horses, three burros, goats and many barn cats. Phyllis was experienced with dogs and understood that Molly would need to be on a special diet for the rest of her life. Phyllis signed the adoption paperwork, and the two headed home.
"As soon as Molly was in the truck, she settled down. It was like she took in a deep breath. She just looked out the window for the whole ride and relaxed," says Phyllis.
Finally in a home again, Molly calmed down. Gradually her nervousness subsided, and she no longer paced.
Today Molly loves playing tug-of-war with Barney and chasing after balls. She doesn't bother the barn cats and is learning how to act around the horses. She very rarely barks these days, and she enjoys her special diet food. At night, Molly and Barney sleep in their own beds next to Phyllis and John.
Phyllis describes Molly as a "Velcro dog" who doesn't leave her side.
"We're very lucky to have her," says Phyllis. "I always tell people when they are looking for pets, visit a shelter. They are so many wonderful animals in need of homes. And they are so grateful to be given a second chance."