be told… we had a happy family with two wonderful dogs and there
was only the smallest of possibilities of adding to our home.
A family friend had a surprise for us though.
knew of a puppy that couldn’t find a home. A St. Bernard. And
though we had no plans… Lady was 13… Travis was getting a bit
older… the thought of letting them teach and raise a new addition
with us was tempting. So we planned a visit.
bounding bundle of joy was an absolute pleasure. And then she
did something beyond remarkable. A woman came near with a stroller.
The puppy went over to investigate. She dipped her head under
the stroller’s canopy and the most wonderful laughter filled the
air… an absolutely delightful wave of giggles.
St. Bernard puppy had endeared herself to a baby and won our hearts.
Molly came home with us.
can tell you that everything you hear about St. Bernards is true…
and amazingly lacking. They are beyond loveable, amazingly friendly,
and crave attention. Funny thing though... Lady and Travis were
so beautiful and special that I never would have thought another
breed of dog could match the family-friendly status of a Labrador.
I can tell you now that if blindfolded, and given a treat to hand
out, you would never even know the St. Bernard had taken it from
your hand. Gentle is not descriptive enough of a word. (Of course…
later Gus would teach us that the drool left behind on your hand
would provide all the evidence necessary to convict the responsible
thief of taking the treat… but that would be another story entirely.)
They do not exceed the Labrador… they are every bit the equal
in our home.
incredible is the temperament of the St. Bernard?
have videos of Molly… on a couch… with my nephew, Ky, climbing
up by reaching for her collar and ears. And all she is doing is
looking at the camera while letting him climb all over and join
night we had Tamsin, Naya and Ky joining us for a sleepover. We
had set up shop on the living room floor -- Gus and Terry were
upstairs -- and I had asked them to let her settle in wherever
she wanted and just let her sleep. No chasing Molly… no running
to be sleeping next to her… just everyone find a place and relax.
In the darkness, a few minutes after the lights had been turned
out, Tamsin’s repeated whispers to call “Molly” could be heard.
repeatedly used pictures of Molly, and often referred to her as
was an escape artist. She made breaking out of the back yard a
routine adventure. The first time she did it, she wound up in
doggy jail. Another time we went looking for her and I saw her
in a neighbor’s yard. She spotted me and came running up the driveway
before we could get moving in that direction to safely direct
her back home. And once after she made a daring early morning
departure, we ended up adding extra precautions to keep her in
check… which she greeted by pushing through the fence and heading
off to see her friend Maggie, our neighbor that always called
out hello to Molly and Gus from her front yard.
love of the cold weather, and especially the snow, bordered on
legendary. She was known for routinely heading outside and perching
on the top of a pile of snow. Often, she would flop on top of
the snow and look every bit of ready for a nap. In fact, much
like Lady, once she spotted a flake of snow in the air, Molly
would ask to go out every ten to fifteen minutes. For days. Or,
more accurately, until all of the snow was gone.
was somewhat independent, but that was more in appearance than
reality. If you looked out a window into our yard, you were quite
likely to see her sitting near the fence… staring off toward a
nearby river… or gazing in the direction that provided the sound
of children playing. While she looked like she was comfortable
being alone, it was only that she was actually paying attention
to where she could find some company.
she might look like she just wanted to be left alone… that was
a lie. If she was sleeping on a sofa, it was because Terry was
at the other end of that sofa. If she was napping in a room, it
was because I was reading or writing or doing something in that
was independent… she was a leader… she was never alone.
had decided one year to get her shaved down for the summer. She
had thick, long hair, and was always more comfortable in cooler
settings. So… we found a groomer and took Molly for an appointment.
she returned, my first impression offered mixed feelings -- I
described it by telling Terry “Molly looks like she lost a bet
to some sheep” -- but there was no doubt about how she felt. With
ribbons around her ears and fresh from the spa-like visit, she
got out of the car and her paws seemed to be floating a few inches
from the ground. She was doing a “look at me, I’m so pretty” runway
stroll into the house. And… she was right… she was very pretty.
was forever in the way. It seemed like such a pain while cooking
in the kitchen… or moving around the bedroom to get dressed for
work in the morning. And yet, honestly, it was simply that she
knew where the activity was in the house, and she just wanted
to be in the center of it.
protective of her family? Well, just ask Justin.
so often, Justin would be at our house and sitting on the sofa
to watch a movie with his girlfriend. Without fail, Molly would
appear in the room, hop up onto the couch, and wedge herself between
would bring Lilly and Cricket to the house for holidays, and Molly
enjoyed the visits… mainly because she let them play with Gus,
and tried to escape and hide with the people in the house. In
general, the strategy worked for her.
thing is… if there is one single way of remembering Molly for
me… it is the sense of anticipation and wonder she had, in each
and every moment of the day. There was always something more in
her eyes… an excitement… a happiness… a joy. It was a look that
she held for all of her days.
of the greatest and saddest of memories for me involves our loss
of Travis. It had been about two weeks since we returned from
that trip to the vet, and I noticed a sheet we had covering the
back seat at the time was still in the car. I grabbed it to bring
in to wash. I kept it in my hands, walked upstairs, and placed
it in a laundry basket. Then I moved to another room. A few moments
later, Molly came charging up the stairs to say hello. As she
reached the top stair, she stopped… frozen for a moment in place.
She was looking at me in one room, but it was obvious she had
noticed something. She turned to look in the bedroom, began sniffing,
and took off. She buried her head in the laundry basket, pulled
out the sheet, and then began pulling out items from the basket.
She was certain that’s where her friend was.
was the connection from first to last. She met Lady and Travis,
and she met Gus. She patrolled the yards in Connecticut and New
York. She was inquisitive, persistent, and insistent.
loved to take her treats and prance off into the living room.
It was a routine. Come inside from the yard… break out the biscuits…
give Molly one… watch her turn and listen to the sounds of her
padding along. And then, moments later, she would reappear. Probably
to look for another cookie… but with a kiss of thank you instead
of an obvious begging for more.
say she will be missed in an understatement. Molly found her way
into our hearts and the hearts of our family and friends. She
created memories… she changed lives… and I can only hope I am
a fraction as observant of the world around me, and a portion
as successful as finding my place in it.