Molly is a 2 yearold rescue dog Mum and Dad adopted about 8 months ago. She is the most inquisitive and affectionate animal I have ever met, so naturally we are very good friends.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Molly. Shortly after she had joined the family I swung past Mum and Dad’s one evening whilst they were out. As soon as I opened the front door Molly started half-barking, half-howling - basically just making a shitload of noise at night in a residential neighbourhood. In the interests of quickly placating her, I charged down the hall and flew out the back door. As soon as the door opened, she let out this strangled yelp and leapt away from me, cowering a couple of metres away.
She was literally shaking in fear. It was awful to see. I cursed myself for being so insensitive - god knows what used to happen in Molly’s world when a human flew towards her from behind a closed door.
Realising my mistake I immediately dropped to my knees and sat down cross legged on the back porch. I remember unconsciously abandoning everything else that was in my head, nothing mattered for me outside of that moment. Every fibre in me was committed to communicating safety to this frightened little animal. I eventually coaxed her out of the corner, her head down, tail low, she crept over to me and we got acquainted.
As distressing as that experience was - for both of us - it laid a very genuine foundation for a friendship. Molly isn’t very well behaved and probably never will be. She is, however, always happy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in contact with someone and not wagging her tail like she’s trying to shake it off her own body. She has this incredibly arresting stare. Her eyes shoot straight past me and I feel like she is reading whatever my soul has etched upon the back of my skull. And that tail, always wagging, pre-empting her own elation in the upcoming moments, the perennial optimist I sometimes envy of my own countenance.
She’s definitely become more comfortable and relaxed at Mum and Dad’s too. Compared to their other, very low-maintenance dog Maggie, Molly requires a lot of work. She is forever sniffing under their feet, jumping up behind them on her hind legs for a cuddle, or quietly acquiring souvenirs from the laundry. In the first few months I think it was really quite testing for Mum and Dad, every now and then the exasperation peaking and suddenly they would vocalise the possibility of returning Molly to the adoption agency. This prospect terrified me, unaware of her actual history I could only imagine and hyperbolise the horrors of what Molly had been through. To then find an amazing new home, only for it to be pulled out from under her paws… the psychological implications of that on any living creature makes me shudder.
Since the first time I heard them discuss it I resolved that I would move out of my van and into a dog-friendly rental if it would prevent Molly’s world from being turned upside down again. It hasn’t happened and I don’t think it will, she has become too prominently a part of the family now.
Such a beautiful companion, she has taught and continues to teach me a lot about life. Molly always puts a smile on my face.