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Loving Molly

I don’t understand.

I keep hearing I’m praiseworthy for rescuing Molly. Nonsense. In a way, she probably rescued me.

Henry’s death was hardly sudden or unexpected. My golden retriever had been ailing . . . but then he always had. So many surgeries, so many medicines — trips to his eye doctor and his skin doctor in a different direction and, of course, a veterinarian.

Fifty percent of ALL dogs (did I read that correctly? It used to be just retrievers) are fated to die of cancer. Henry was given two extra years his brother didn’t have.

Still . . . I wasn’t ready for an empty home, a dogless house.

Enter Molly who perhaps rescued me as well.

Would no one else have stepped forward to take this thirteen-year-old, overweight, wheezing dog with who knows how many underlying problems? It would have been a terrible mistake to let her go.

For starters, she’s the most accommodating pet I’ve probably ever had. A “polite houseguest” is one way I’ve described her. She asks for nothing except meals at a regular hour, something I’m not all that used to.

I can smilingly recall my mother looking at whatever dog we had at that time and asking “Who were you?” I don’t know where I stand on reincarnation (if it’s there, I’d like to come back as a dog, a good dog) but Molly obviously was a very well-bred gentlewoman in one of her earlier lives. Not sure I’d be as lucky as Molly though. Still, one can hope, can’t one?

Her bathroom needs are surprisingly minimal. She can let me know should I forget (she is very subtle and obviously hates to ask for anything) but getting the papers first thing, then walking her in the early afternoon and then dinnertime and again just before bed is all she wants. If we venture further she loves to explore, happy to accompany me and enjoying new-found paths. There are times when I can relax and permit her to wander. She knows the boundaries and is happy sticking to my rules.

Molly likes me — and that’s a plus. In fact I’ve never had anyone wake me with such enthusiasm. How can my day not begin with sunshine? (Once up, I admit, she does go back to sleep — not of course, do I.)

My days are golden, too, for she’s never far away. She will move between her three favorite spots: hall, bed and screen door as I settle in various spots throughout the house. (Of course, as I write this in mid-July, it would be next to impossible to dissuade her from the spot immediately before the giant fan. There is absolutely nothing stupid about Molly. So why aren’t I there beside her? Well . . .)

Molly’s an old dog. Yes, darling, so am I. But isn’t it a blessing that we each continue to grow even older? I found myself whispering a prayer that we might see snow together.

Have we not turned white? You bet. Her face shows the ravages of time with strange bumps and things I don’t understand. That’s OK. I wouldn’t welcome a closeup of my visage either.

That is not to suggest all is goodness and light. We do not live in a perfect world.

There is Gloria. Gloria, my cat who shows her affection by drawing blood. Mine, not the dog’s. Molly came with a guarantee — well, let’s just call it a promise — that she was good with cats. Nobody told Molly. Gloria grew up with Henry and Buddy (who were here first), sharing at least an amicable truce.

Whose fault is it now? I still haven’t figured that one out. Molly will happily give chase . . . for a few steps. (I figure the exercise is good for her.) Gloria can as easily begin to hiss or growl when the dog is paying no attention whatever. That gets Molly’s eye of course — but only briefly. Molly waddles off, as if disdaining to notice that little black noisy thing. I’d like to see their relationship grow better. Who knows? Takes me back to when my girls were little: “All right, Who started it?” (Heavy footsteps with the inevitable panting followed by one sharp hiss. Molly has already lost interest.)

I sit right in front of Molly to takes pictures of the “bumps” on her face. She makes it known quickly she is not one who likes her photograph snapped. I understand completely. They’re never complimentary, are they? I apologize and move away.

When Molly first came, I counted my blessings in days. Those stretched in time to weeks and now we’ve passed three months. marking her days. First it was weeks. Now it’s months.

That snowy day? We’ll see.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. “Her Reason for Being” was published in 2008 with “Love in Three Acts” following in 2014. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.

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