DSC_0254As I posted a couple days ago, my dog Molly was hit by a car in McLean, Virginia this week. She has been in intensive care as we tried every possible medical intervention to save her, but this afternoon we had to put down Molly. My two older sons, Leslie, and I held Molly as she was euthanized. I want to thank so many on this blog for reaching out in the last couple of days and I thought you should know. The whole family is devastated. Molly was the center of gravity for our family and I cannot express the terrible sadness that I feel in losing Molly.

In the last 24-hours, the Hope Center found far greater internal injuries to Molly, who was unable to eat and today was unable to stand. She could not breathe on her own and we found punctures in organs that were previously missed due to the severe bruising internally. Her red blood count was falling and she needed oxygen to breathe. Finally, the staff at Hope called us this morning and said that additional surgeries or interventions would not likely succeed and that we were prolonging Molly’s pain.

IMG_0327I have had four dogs, but I must admit Molly was my favorite. We were inseparable and would take long walks every day together. Molly always had to be touching a family member — often putting her head on your foot or her paw on your lap. I called her my “prom queen” because she would pester you until you acknowledged that she was the most beautiful thing in the room . . . and she was. I have never seen a more perfect dog. She was loving, loyal, and friendly to everyone. There is such a hole left by her departure and it is difficult to image how we got along three years ago before she arrived.

Thanks again everyone for your kinds words and thoughts.



107 thoughts on “FAREWELL MOLLY TURLEY

  1. I am sorry for your loss… Just be glad you had the treasure of pleasure she brought your family…

  2. My sympathies on your loss. I consider the delivering of my animals from suffering to be among my most heroic and saddest moments. So sorry for you and your family.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of Molly’s death. She seemed like a truly great dog. Very sad news. PS I really enjoy your posts All the best, Frank Hackmann

    Sent from my iPad

  4. So very sad. I’ve been thinking about your sweet Molly this morning… I’m very sorry. My condolences to all of you. How lucky she was to have been a part of such a loving family.

  5. My heart goes out to you and all the Turley family. We have Salukis. In their younger days they would jump our 6ft fence and hit the road running. They would run until their paws were bloody. These days we still have to make sure they never make it out the front door. Our 13 year old smiles at us like she is human. So sorry for your loss.

  6. I am so very sorry for your loss. My dog had to be put down when I was nine years old and I still can’t talk about it.

    My sincerest sympathies to everyone in Molly’s family.

  7. Jonathan,

    It’s heartbreaking to lose a beloved pet. I know how difficult it is to make the decision to put an animal one loves to sleep. I’m sure Molly had a wonderful and happy life with you and your family.

  8. Dear Prof. Turley,

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My family recently went though the same in January 2013 and we miss our little guy each and everyday. I wish there were words to help with the pain, but all anyone of us have left is their memory and the knowledge of their love.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. My sympathies to you and your family, Professor. There could be no more difficult decision than the one to let a beloved pet leave.

  10. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Molly. I am sure she loved being part of your family. I am glad you-all had your time together.

    My very Best Wishes to you and your family,

  11. Professor,
    I was shocked to read that Molly had passed away. I know your heartache as we had to put our first lab down right in our family room as his injuries on top of his arthritis issues were just too great. It is never an easy decision, but Molly is in a better place without pain! Take care.

  12. My sincerest condolences to you and your family at the passing of Molly. I recall the great kindness shown by you and your family when I had to euthanize my beloved pet Gabriel and I am as saddened by your loss now as I was by my own then. It is tough to lose a family member no matter how many legs they walk on. And to junctionshamus’ Will Rogers quote, I will simply add some Robert Louis Stevenson. “You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”

  13. Gene – Thanks for providing the source, certainly was not surprising to see it was Rogers.

    For some reassuring quotes about dogs (and cats too, much to my chagrin): http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/dogs

    Professor – my personal condolences on the passing of your “fur-child”.

    As for the SUV driver, there is a special place in Hell reserved for those who would drive away from a situation like that.

  14. So very sorry to hear the news Professor. All Dogs Go To Heaven… and sometimes they come back to you. Different color, different breed, but the same spirit..


  15. Jonathan,

    I had hoped that the outcome for Molly would be different. My condolences to the entire Turley family on their loss of a beloved friend and family member. It is a hard, hard loss.

  16. Mr. Turley, All my sympathies. What I have found in very similar circumstances is that while the loss of a family dog is tough on the parent, it’s even more difficult to see your kids so sad. That really tears @ a parent’s heart. We all would rather take the pain our kids suffer than see it hurt them. However, kids are resilient. One of the qualities they have that is better than adults.

  17. I am sorry for your and your family’s loss. I know how painful it would be for my family to lose our beloved dog.

  18. This is so sad. I am truly sorry for your loss. I have no wife and no children so my old cat was really my only friend. He died at 20 but still a tough loss. Hopefully your family can give you some support.

  19. My sincerest and most heart-felt condolences.There is nothing in this world that has the depth and special significance of the human-companion animal bond. Molly loved and accepted you and your family unconditionally. This can hardly be said of most humans. Unlike most humans, she was always there for you. Please think about all the great times you had with her, her silly antics, and sweet personality. Write her letters expressing your thoughts about her. Take all your wonderful pictures of her and create a montage. Don’t let the accident be what you remember most. I empathize with your devastating loss.

  20. We are all touched by your devotion to a beloved member of your family and it certainly says much about your family and the love you would give in doing everything possible to give Molly the gift of Life, whatever it might have been.

    It is also honourable how you all, despite the pain your family would see, chose in the end the best course for Molly to let her pass to her relief of what happened.

    Take whatever time you need to attend to your and your family’s needs, everything else can wait, others can take care of everything else.

  21. Darren, Yes, it was so loving and unselfish of JT and family to let her go when there was only pain and suffering in her “future.” Thanks for pointing that out.

  22. Professor, this appeared on my facebook page yesterday, I’d like to share it with you.
    Losing a loving and devoted pet is a difficult experience, this is a story someone shared..

    Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we co
    uld write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

    Dear God,

    Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
    I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

    Love, Meredith

    We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

    Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

    Dear Meredith,

    Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

    Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

    Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

    Love, God

  23. My two 15-year-old dogs died, in 2012. The loss is still so painful; but it must be much worse, with a younger dog like Molly. She looked so sweet and happy. Please know that many people are praying for you and for your family. Sending warm thoughts your way. . .

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss. Molly will always be in your hearts.

    I’ve had to euthanize two loving pets when it was obvious that the vet could do no more. Sam and Sunny are with me still, as is Pokey.

  25. Very bad news and please accept our condolences from Richmond. Suzanne and I have a Molly of our own and “devastated” would be our description too were we in the same situation.

    “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”

    ~Milan Kundera

    Anyone who thinks these creatures mere chattel never lived along side one.

  26. I am so sad to read your story. Remember that you will always be connected to Molly in spirit. Hope you will eventually decide to add another canine friend to your family, as it will aid your healing.

  27. The Power of the Dog

    THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
    From men and women to fill our day;
    And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
    Why do we always arrange for more?
    Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

    Buy a pup and your money will buy
    Love unflinching that cannot lie–
    Perfect passion and worship fed
    By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
    Nevertheless it is hardly fair
    To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

    When the fourteen years which Nature permits
    Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
    And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
    To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
    Then you will find–it’s your own affair–
    But…you’ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

    When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
    When the spirit that answered your every mood
    Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
    You will discover how much you care,
    And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

    We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
    When it comes to burying Christian clay.
    Our loves are not given, but only lent,
    At compound interest of cent per cent.
    Though it is not always the case, I believe,
    That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
    For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
    A short-time loan is as bad as a long–
    So why in Heaven (before we are there)
    Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

    Rudyard Kipling

  28. So sorry for your loss. When you feel better you might want to think of some kind of memorial, like planting a flowering bush or a stone placque or just releasing some balloons. Kind of a closure………….

  29. Oh Jonathan. What a wonderful girl she was. I will surely miss being tackled and french kissed by her at your front door. The memory of her makes me smile. What a horrible loss. We are so sorry and so sad for you.

  30. Sounds like a fine, fine, pooch. I’m sorry she went so young. My best wishes to the whole family, Molly’s pack.

  31. This is sad to read, but as others have indicated, you had the responsibility to do the right thing for Molly, and perhaps there is some small comfort in knowing that you did.

  32. A sad occasion for all the Turley family that Molly has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Sending condolences and healing wishes across the miles as you grieve for her. May she have Godspeed on her journey to forever…

  33. Opus the Purr-colator wishes to express her sincere condolences to the family of a canine she will never get to meet

  34. I am so sorry to hear about Molly, she was a lovely dog and your postings and pictures let us share her a bit. Thank you and I will miss her too. My condolences to your whole family, ‘specialy Benjamin.

  35. Time may blur your memories and words may still your feelings, but you’ll remember that girl, and feel a muted sorrow.

    I know how it feels and I still miss someone too.

  36. I am so sad to hear this news, I loved hearing your Molly stories. Anyone can see by her picture that she was much loved. So sorry for your loss…

  37. Dear Professor Turley,

    I am so very sorry to hear of Molly’s death. That she lived and was loved by your family speaks for itself. She’s now crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Give thanks for the time you had with her. Her memories will remain forever and be carried in all your hearts.

  38. There was never so dear creatures, who loved, was devoted to, and protected me so jealously as my two pups. May they rest in a most deserved peace in eternity, as I wish for your dear Molly, Professor.

  39. Dear Professor Turley and Family,

    Today was the first I’d read about your dear Molly as I too, am so sorry for your sudden loss. Especially in the middle photo, she looks just like the Tibetan terrier female we found in rescue 10 years ago and who, only two days ago, reached age 14. Plus, since we were duly enthralled by her delightful nature, it wasn’t long before we found our second TT, that time with a male who is now 8 and together, they are canine wonder-full.

    In other words, I can relate to your unique love for Molly because this sweet breed is so loyal, so affectionate and so intuitive in response to their human stewards. As a result, do continue to hug your family and assure them, as well as yourself, that ‘she knew’ how you all adored her like none other and gave her the best earthly life possible. We all become more human or compassionate when we are sure to love with every ounce of our devotion in real time…as well as carry on with eternally precious memories in our hearts…for all time. May you each take loving and tender care with your shared experience of grief and healing at this most difficult time.

  40. The Avatar is my old friend, Oro Lee, a golden retriever who walked on 10 years ago after 14 years of good and faith full compaionship. I use his picture here as a reminder to play nice. I still miss him.

    I have no words that can possibly ease the pain of the Turley family. i just hurt with them.

  41. Professor Turley,

    My condolences to you and your family, but especially to you. I have had this exact experience with my children, and, as far as I am concerned, nothing hurts a father more than watching his children grieve.



  42. I’m a follower and have had Molly and your family in my thoughts. I’m deeply saddened to learn of Molly’s passing and continue to hold your family in my heart.

    My beloved Dalmatian was killed in ’07 by veterinary malpractice, and I know too well the pain and profound sense of grief that accompanies the loss of an animal family member. When it occurs under such sudden tragic events, there is added dimension to that pain. Thank you for sharing your story with us and please know that so many people understand the immense and utterly unique place a dog has in a human’s life. Allow yourself all the grieving space and time you require. The death of an animal friend is crushing and there is no such thing as ‘just a dog’. I long for my spotted girl and our incredible hilarious loving relationship still. I so relate to your description of Molly as the center of gravity for your family.

    I know too well the painful journey to making the decision that you had to make for Molly. My beloved dog also died in my arms, which is exactly where she wanted to be as her beautiful spirit was liberated from her ailing body.

    I know Molly will always walk with you. I’ve found some measure of comfort in the words below and I hope you do as well, in some small way:

    “The shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed.”

    RIP Molly Turley

  43. My sincere condolences to all the Turley family. Please take comfort knowing you did the most unselfish thing in letting her go. She is free now and awaits you at the rainbow bridge. Hugs especially to Benjamin.

  44. Dogs and cats are not just dogs or cats, they are persons with fur and four legs. When they go the loss is every bit as bad as when a human friend or family member dies.

    On behalf of the Moulton pack, Rexx (german shepard cross), Carl (human) and Yin Deng Huar (mother in law also human) condolences.

    Rexx is actually my first dog, bought by my late wife in June 2000 and she took about two weeks only to make me a confirmed dog person who pats strange dogs tied up outside shopping centres and comments “nice dog” when I see one being walked. She is getting old now and I am dreading the time when she will be gone. Big dogs last about 10 years so Rexx is already on borrowed time. The fourth member of my family Hu Zi (cat) died from cancer of the tongue cancer earlier this year but I am sure he would send his condolences as well.

  45. I am so sorry, for you and your whole family. I know Molly had a really wonderful life, with lots of people who love her dearly. Her spirit lives on with all of you.

  46. I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Molly. As a long time pet owner, it is the hardest thing to endure. Dog lovers are probably very aware of the story of Marley, book and movie. Here are the last words Owen Wilson says about Marley:

    “A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?’

    Also, I would like to add words from Irving Townsend:

    “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle…”

    My heart goes out to you and your lovely family. Here is a website that has been very helpful to me when I have experienced the loss of a pet:


    My condolences to everyone in your family.

  47. I can’t imagine anybody leaving Ben-a 13 year old boy-out on the street like that. I recently lost a dog to cancer, so I understand how bad it is. But rest assured it will get better.

  48. My sincerest condolences Mr. Turley, I once had four dogs also and it was devastating every time I had to put one down. Dogs have truly been my best friends and usually preferable to me than most people.

  49. As a person who has lived with canine partners my entire life, I know the devastation and pain that goes with losing a dog no matter what the circumstances. That said, I suspect Molly had a great life with you and your family. Take Care,

  50. I’m so sorry Professor. All of your long time readers have seen how much you and your family love Molly.

  51. That just breaks my heart. We love our dogs so much: they’re part of the family. It can be such a painful loss whenever one is lost: they are so much more than mere “pets.” Our best wishes & sympathies go out to the entire Turley clan.

  52. If dogs don’t go to heaven I don’t want to go there either, I want to go where dogs go!, Will Rogers

    Same for me Prof Turley, I feel strongly about it.

  53. Yes, it is grievous to bear. Saying ‘yes’ to life means learning to accept loss as a necessary part of our journey. Life is suffering but it is also joy. She brought you much of that. You were blessed. She would be pleased if you would spread the joy and the love which she brought to you.

  54. A donation has been made to Columbus Dog Connection in Molly’s honor. CDC takes dogs who have worn out their welcome at the local shelter and are to be put down. They foster these dogs and find them homes. CDC also help improve conditions at county shelters in the poorer parts of the State.

  55. Saddest day of my life was putting down my long-time (16yrs) Beagle friend, but he needed to be freed from his suffering more than i needed him to stay with me. i’ll never forget him and have since gotten another, different breed dog to guide me – and i love him too (and i’m sure my heart will break again). We’re only here for a short while – surround yourself and your family with these precious biological love instructors while you can.

    My condolences and hope for your recovery with another beautiful creature.

  56. My wife and I know only to too well the heartbreak of losing a beloved pet. I hope this dogs “Last will and testament” helps in some way…

    “Before humans die they write their last will and testament. They give their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If with my paws I could do the same, this what I’d ask . . .

    To a poor and lonely stray, I give my happy home,
    my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys,
    the lap, which I loved so much,
    the tender, loving touch,
    the hand that stroked my fur and sweet voice which called my name.
    I will to the sad, scared shelter pet,
    the place I had in my human’s loving heart of which there seemed no bounds.
    So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a pet again,
    for the loss and pain are more than I stand.”
    Instead, go find an unloved pet– one whose life has held no joy or hope,
    and give MY place to HIM.
    This is the only thing that I can give.
    The love I left behind.
    This is my inheritance!
    My Will and My Last Testament.”

    Author Unknown

  57. JT,

    My sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of Molly.

    David B.,

    Your story brought tears to my eyes, thank you and your daughter.

    We that have loved and lost our beloved companions know the deep ache of losing the gift of devotion and pure love. Molly is so beautiful. Rest well dear heart.

  58. I sent my Phoenix, 14 year old rescue dog (she rescued me) on up ahead of me over 2 years ago. I still miss her dearly, even though I’ve gotten two other rescue dogs and love them just as much as I loved her. I mourn with you and your family and all those who loved Molly. Here is a poem that is comforting to me.

    Vein of Gold ….by e.allen

    And in thine eyes a glimmer of hope
    That resurrects the damp from these pale days
    Mixing with the crushed powder of a previously saturated heart
    Wrung out and dry from the possibilities of hope
    The destitution of despair
    And as too does a rosebud in winter
    Dream of spring bloom
    We fall at the feet of what we cannot change
    The seasons of love, of hurt, of pain, of joy
    Move through us like wind through barley
    Allowing the noise of life abound
    And you say you want to fly
    Fly away with me
    But why would you
    When I will never leave
    But remain forever in your heart
    As a vein of gold

  59. I am particularly concerned about the trauma to your son, who may feel some responsibility as well as the loss, and outraged that the driver would leave a boy and his injured dog without seeking help for them or, at least, contacting the parents and waiting for them to arrive.

    I, too, have lost dearly loved dogs and when it is sudden and a young dog it is particularly painful. You never forget but it helps to have another dog in the family.

  60. Professor Turley,
    I am so sorry for your loss…dogs have a special place in an owner’s heart for the unconditional love they never cease to bestow on a family. Prof. Molly was not only a well loved Turley family member but a scholar as well, specially versed in the field of animal liability to which I am eternal grateful for her instruction.

  61. Prof. Turley,
    I’m so sorry to learn of Molly’s death. The decision to end the life of a family pet is excruciating. Thank you for sharing Molly with us. She was a beautiful dog.

  62. My sincerest, heartfelt condolences on you loss of Molly. I know the pain of losing a furry, loving member of the family

  63. Condolences to you and yours in your loss. May your happy memories sustain you through the grieving process. Molly was truly a lovely, lovely lady!

    Sympathy and Hugs to your entire family.

  64. Professor Turley, my truly heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved dog, Molly. Dogs are wonderful creatures who show us all the meaning of joy and unconditional love.

    Molly was a beautiful dog. I’m glad that her people were able to be with her and comfort her at the end. I know she loved you all to her last breath, just as I I know she will be missed and remembered by you and your family always.

    I also want to say thanks to any number of the commenters here at your blog. I’m a fifty-two year old man but even so, several of the comments and stories told in them moved me to tears. After reading them, I had to go out and spend some extra time with my own dogs today, and that was good, and I am thankful that I could.

  65. So sorry for you and your family’s loss. Though it would seem she had a most excellent life, until just recently. I had to kill (“euthanize” but that’s what it is,) my cat after 16 years several years ago. The worst thing ever, simultaneously right and good. So sad to this day but the totality of her life puts it in perspective, not lessening the sting but adding depth. They only live so long, and much longer than in the proverbial Wild. I still feel bad for leaving my childhood dog at the vet over a weekend after a severe illness to die alone in a cage on a Sunday. I will never do that to another animal ever, if I can help it.

    However, if there is a heaven it will have dogs! It must. If not I’m not going. Like my favorite Twilight Zone. RIP Molly – Thanks for sharing her here.

    (Twilight Zone, Season 3 Episode 19 from 1962, “The Hunt”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ipDvK1BElU

  66. We lost our 12 year-old chocolate lab—also a Molly—to cancer a few weeks ago. I know the sorrow you and the family are feeling. Condolences to you.

  67. Practicing love and kindness with animals says a lot about who we are as aspiring humans, I think.

    May you and your family have a gentle adjustment, Professor, and many good memories.

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