Thursday, June 13, 2013

Midnight Molly

In 2004 we were living in a rented house in Winthrop and decided to ask our landlord if we could get a dog.

We had a much loved black Labrador called Skye in South Africa and thought a lab would be a good dog to get... little knowing that the relatively calm Labrador breed in South Africa is a far cry from the hyperactive breed in America.

We visited a couple of people who were looking for someone to take their dogs, including one home with bungee cords all over the kitchen - strapping down the fridge and trashcan doors from their marauding dog!

Molly came over in April care of a nurse who had had her for 3 years and couldn't keep her any longer because of her travel routine.  We found out at the last minute that Molly was also an epileptic, but by then she had already found her way into our hearts.

She was very excitable, though and almost immediately became a disciplinary problem because she barked like crazy on the beach to encourage us to throw the ball....  it took a few afternoons of ignoring this to train her not to bark for the ball.

She wasn't ever affectionate - not really allowing close cuddles or faces getting too close, but she became a faithful companion of Anne's.  She was walked every day, come rain, show or shine - probably 90% of the time by Anne.

Molly had more energy than any dog I had owned.  She was completely obsessed with the ball and would chase it for hours if we let her.

Early on, we fed this craze and learned (to our regret) that she was so mad about it that she would chase it even if she injured herself.  Some of the harsh winter's days ball chasing left her with split claws a few times over the years.

She also loved being in water.  A perfect walk for Molly involved going to the beach and chasing the ball into the waves for 30min.

She was impossible to take in a car, though - her excitement left her yammering and yelping all the way and there was no training that we could use to calm that down.  

Here, early on, we thought her crazy antics in the car were cute, but it didn't take long for us to tire of this.  I think Anne was the most patient of us all with this crazy dog's antics on the way to the beach.

We took her on a camping trip once, thinking that she would ease up after a an hour of driving or so - but all the way there and back she barked and yammered in the back, unable to sit down or stand still - driving us all crazy.

For several years Molly was treated to walks on the beach fairly regularly, but as she aged and her joints started to show the strain of many hours of chasing balls the trips to the beach became less frequent as well.

Molly aged into a dignified old girl.  We always thought that she didn't know she was a dog.  I don't think I have owned a dog that so completely ignored other dogs.  In all the time we had her she interacted directly with dogs only a handful of times, befriending a couple and chastising one or two for venturing into our house without checking with her first!

Her epilepsy was something that Anne tackled by looking for a diet that was as unprocessed as possible.

Anne eventually settled on ground beef and rice which was a diet that Molly ate all the time she was with us (excepting on the rare escapes she made when she ran off into the woods and ate something that caused all sorts of upheavals 8 or so hours later!).

As Molly aged her pains grew more evident and her joints and muscles weakened to the point where she was falling down in random places and limping badly.

After many years of her constant companionship we decided this week that her quality of life had deteriorated to a point where we felt we were unable to keep her pain and discomfort from really intruding into her ability to live normally.

Today Molly moved on.

We will miss you, old girl.