Thursday, August 03, 2006

Molly

To say "she was more than just a pet" is to stamp a tired, overused cliche on a dog who was anything but ordinary. But she was.

It was twelve years ago this summer that we traveled to the pet store to get a new dog. Our miniature schnauzer had died of old age a while back, but she had been my dad's dog since before he married my mom. So this would be our first family dog. I don't remember how we decided that we wanted a cocker spaniel, but at the store, we were greeted by three adorable blond cocker puppies.

She was the runt of the litter--tiny next to her chubby sister and brother. I fell in love. She was undeniably the cutest of the three puppies, and I guess since I was the more vocal and bossy older child, my vote won out. We went home that afternoon with a new puppy, who I decided right away just looked like a Molly. It fit.

She cried when we left her in her room at night. She "piddled" every time she got excited; we got used to telling guests, "Don't talk to her! Just ignore her until she settles down"--because if they stooped to scratch her floppy ears or tell her hello, we'd be rushing to the kitchen for a paper towel.

Thankfully she grew out of that phase...eventually. But she still had a thousand endearing quirks. This dog had more personality than any dog I've ever met, no contest. She could sing--I kid you not. Any time my family started singing "Happy Birthday," she would start singing along with us. I have no idea why that song was a trigger, but it definitely was. Simply saying, "Sing! Can you sing?" would do it too, as well as various other words that were significant to her, in good or bad ways: "puppy hotel" (bad), "bath" (bad), "Eukanuba" (her dog food--good, I think, unless this was her way of protesting being fed the same thing three times a day for twelve years).

We often remarked that we needed to videotape her and send it to Iams--surely we'd get some sort of million-dollar endorsement deal for this brilliant dog who would not respond to "Do you want some Puppy Chow?" but would howl excitedly when asked, "Do you want some Eukanuba?" I kid you not.

If she was in the mood to sing, you could carry on a conversation with her. Dad would come home and ask, "Molly, what did they do to you today?" She'd howl. "Sissy did that?" he'd respond. "Isn't that sad! Why didn't you bite her?" Molly would howl some more. I'd argue, "You're telling stories." She would howl in protest. Her singing/"talking" was at various volumes and pitches, sometimes short, sometimes long. Hilarious. I swear I am not making this up. I so wish I had it on videotape.

She had a decent repertoire of tricks, including "dancing" (turning in a circle on her hind legs), and balancing a dog treat on her nose, then flipping it up and catching it in her mouth. She also knew how to spell popcorn. We resorted to spelling it, as you would in front of a little kid, because the mere mention of her favorite treat would send her into a frenzy. If someone said it, she wouldn't rest until they got up and made some. But eventually she figured out that "p-o-p-c-o-r-n" meant the same thing, and upon hearing the string of letters, she would run to the cupboard where we kept the precious food. Then she'd pace in front of the microwave while it popped, whining if it seemed to take too long. She would jump in the air to catch kernels we threw to her, and would inhale a pile of it off the floor like a vacuum cleaner, so fast there's no way she tasted it.

I've seen a lot of cocker spaniels, and a lot of pictures of cocker spaniels. It is no stretch to say Molly was the most adorable. I know that sounds ridiculously biased, but I really believe it's true. She had the most expressive eyes and enormous floppy, curly ears. I'd post a picture to back up my claim, but the only ones I have are from last week. In them she looks old, sad, worn out.

Molly was playful, full of energy, loyal through and through. She didn't really play favorites; she loved our whole family. After I moved out, it always made me smile to see how excited she would get every time I came home. She didn't have much of a tail to wag (it had been cropped before we got her) so she'd wiggle her whole backside; she'd run in circles, crying, until I'd sit down and she could jump up in my lap.

She won't be there to greet me the next time I go home. My parents had to do the unbelievably difficult and have her put to sleep on Tuesday. I realized earlier this year that all of a sudden she seemed to be getting old, but somehow I didn't really believe it. I'm really going to miss my dog.

6 comments:

Tonia said...

oh ame...it's crazy how hard it is too say goodbye to an animal. The snouzer was definately the meadow ave. dog from the early years but I remember when you got molly..and the "just ignore her" moments! haha!! Those were the days when i would come "home" for weeks at a time! Love ya girl, thanks for the gift. You are truly more than i could ask for in a friend!

michelle mccallum said...

I'm so sorry to hear that, Amy. Dogs really do become a part of the family. I hope you are all doing ok- I know my family had a really hard time when our dogs passed away a few years ago.

Todd & Micah said...

It's never easy losing a family member. Sounds like she was a great dog.

cousin Sarah =) said...

I'm sorry Amy! It's sad to lose a pet. =( God be with you. :-)

kate chinlund said...

"It's so tough to lose a pet" is such an understatement. It's awful, horrible, traumatic and heartbreaking. I am so sorry to hear about Molly, she sounds completely endearing. Take comfort in your most recent post, I'm sure she's singing for Jesus right now and just waiting for you :)

Jules said...

Oh Amy, I am so sorry! Molly was a GREAT dog. I've never seen a dog with such a love for p-o-p-c-o-r-n! I'll miss her greeting me at your parents door. :(