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Now I Know That Dogs Choose You

 

When my ex-husband and I got married, I couldn’t wait to get a dog.   A little, cute, fluffy lap dog who would be calm and adorable and who would wear bows in her ears and have some perfect southern name like Sugar that matched her perfect white fur.   Sugar or Honey or Butterscotch or whatever other sticky sweet name that I could come up with wouldn’t be my first dog, but she would be the first dog of mine that I really LIVED with.  The first dog to be a member of the family.  I was always an animal lover but back then, I really didn’t know much at all about loving animals.

I’ll never forget when my ex called me to tell me that he had found a dog.  He was in school in Oklahoma and the kids and I were temporarily living in Kentucky.  He told me he found this dog and that she was skin and bones.  He opened the door to his jeep and she immediately jumped into the passenger seat like she had known him her entire life.  He went straight to a drive-thru and she ate two cheeseburgers in pretty much one gulp.

She was not little, fluffy or a lap dog.  He told me she was some sort of pit mix.  I don’t remember being just outright shocked, but I do remember being concerned.  Pits don’t have the greatest reputation and we have kids.  Our youngest was still pretty small.  This wasn’t anything close to the kind of dog that I envisioned for our family in more ways than one.  My ex kept telling me how sweet she was and I agreed to see how it went but honestly I was less than thrilled and pretty disappointed.  I had been waiting a long time for the dog that I wanted to come along and this wasn’t it.  I agreed that we would keep her for now and see what happened, but that I wasn’t leaving her alone with my kids and she was gone the first time I saw any sign of aggression towards any of us.  This was when I still believed that people chose dogs.  Now I know that dogs choose you.

The first time I saw Molly, I cried.  You could see every knob of her spine.  I watched her like a hawk.  She wasn’t perfect but what I saw was she was protective.  Protective of anyone who seemed to need protecting.  Until the day she left us, no one made her run to the door faster than my ex-husband and it was like that from day one, but she loved us all.  He couldn’t discipline the children with Molly around even though he was her true Alpha.  She would never bite, but she would clearly make every attempt to get between them.  That’s just one of the things she taught me.  Protect the person who needs to be protected.

If you haven’t been around pits much, you may not know this about them.  Turns out that I did get my lap dog.  It didn’t matter that she quickly went from skin and bones and 65-70 pounds depending on her activity level, she wouldn’t hesitate to try to sit in your lap.  Anyone’s lap.  My lap.  The baby’s lap.  She wasn’t picky.  She loved to be loved.  She loved to be beside you.  She loved her family.  She loved visitors.  She had zero manners.  I had to put her up if people were coming over because she jumped on everyone and she wasn’t exactly small.  She terrified people on a regular basis and I don’t really blame them.  I wouldn’t love seeing a pit bull racing at me at 15mph, (yes, I know how fast she could run from the days when she would jump our rock wall in El Paso and I would have to drive around the neighborhood trying to catch her).  She just wanted to say hi.  Her tail was about two inches long so she would just wag her entire back end.  In all of our years together I did see a handful of people who she didn’t love but I never saw her do anything beyond a warning to another human being.

I have no doubt in my mind that Molly would have died for us.  How can you not respect any creature that would do that for you?  How could we have anything other than respect for her?  She LOVED us.   And we loved her.  I was always an animal lover but until I met Molly, they were just animals.  Molly taught me not only that they are so much more but she also taught me a lot about life in general.  I know there are people who will read that and think that it sounds crazy and I don’t blame you.  I wouldn’t have understood at one time, either.  Not everyone is blessed with a Molly.

She taught me about loyalty.  Selflessness.  True, unconditional love.  Companionship.  She taught me gratitude.  No one in this world will ever be happier to see me than Molly was.  That felt good.  She wasn’t just a dog.  She was a family member.  I would jokingly say my favorite child.  She wasn’t that far from being one of my children.  I mean it didn’t matter if I was gone ten minutes or two days, Molly was thrilled to see me.

She loved to go for rides.  She tore a hole in every blanket we have because she always wanted to be covered up at night.  If the covers came off, she would use her teeth to try to cover herself back up.  She was afraid of storms.  She could catch food in midair.  Pretty much the second it left my fingertips.  Her tongue was about 4 feet long and she could manage to lick you no matter how you tried to get away from her.  She loved to be as close to us as possible.  Preferably right on top of us.  She was never far from me.  I stepped over her all day long.  She lost her mind if she saw a leash in your hand.  She was so excited to go somewhere.  She barked at everything and thought she owned everything in a mile radius of our house.  She didn’t like sharing us.  I don’t know how many times I was petting another one of our pets and caught her giving me the side eye lol  She knew exactly what look to give me to get her way.  It worked every time.

A few months ago, my ex-husband and our youngest came home from riding their 4 wheelers with another dog.  A dog that is so big, he made Molly look petite.  He was so stinking sweet that I couldn’t say no.  I did wonder if I was crazy more than once when I had 140 pounds of dog wrestling in my living room and pushing my furniture around.  Buddy is big and dopey and he pretty much believes he belongs to the entire neighborhood.  I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t love him.

When I pulled into the driveway last night, the kids came running out the door.  Molly’s breathing was very labored when I left for the vet and they hadn’t heard from me while we were gone.  I know they knew.  I told them to go inside and they pushed past me to look inside the truck.  My ex picked the baby up.  He was already crying.  We came inside and the four of us sat on the couch.  Buddy was right there with us.  His put his big, dopey head in my hands and looked in my eyes.  My ex said, “God knew we would need you.”  Buddy is sad today, too.

It’s not possible to explain everything Molly was to our family in one blog.  Just know that she was perfect.  She was everything I wanted but didn’t know I needed.  She was “that dog” for me.  The one that changed everything.  The one that showed me that animals are capable of human emotions no matter what anyone says.  She was my best friend and not just mine.  She was able to make all of us feel like we were so very special to her.  I will miss her every single day.  I will miss tripping over a hundred times a day. I don’t even know how long I will continue to look for her…  I’ll gladly miss her for the rest of my life because that means that I got to love her and to be loved by her.  I’m the luckiest person alive.

Thank you for choosing us, Molly Kate.  The honor was all ours

~ LA

You can read more from LA at https://sweeterinthesouth.blog/