In the aftermath of last week’s brutal murder of an innocent animal by a man who parents trust with their young children I can’t help but think that I hear this tale more often then I can stomach. And wonder if it will ever end. I have decided to write about someone closest to my heart. My dog, Mollie. She isn’t perfect. She doesn’t like to sit unless I have a treat in my hand, sleeps on my boyfriend’s pillow while I’m at work, and chases after squirrels like it’s her job (which it kind of is). I bought her a chew toy squirrel instead which she happily chews away on the decorative Anthropolgie pillows on my bed . She growls at delivery men and strange noises in the hallway. But who is perfect. Certainly not me.
I adopted Mollie in April of 2009 after a long relationship came to its end. I think that the thing you miss most about a relationship is having someone to care about. And having someone care about you back. Though getting a dog was a purely selfish reason on my part, because a dog comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, I was ready for this new chapter. My roommate came with me to the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society on the search for my new best friend. For those of you animal lovers out there you know that rescue shelters can be bittersweet. You know you are going in for one, but in the end, you wish you could take them all home with you. I saw my future friend sitting in her cage and when I went to take her out she wasn’t hyper like the other ones. She kind of just sat in my lap. I had found my perfect Breakfast in Bed, Beverly Hills 90210 marathon running kind of companion. I said I’ll take her.
When meeting with the adoption counselor she told me Mollie was a puppy mill dog from Tennessee. She was a year and a half old jack russell mix, not spayed, socialized or trained. Following a ten hour rest in her new dog bed after being spayed she put her front paws on the side of my bed giving me a “ hey I’m up and your bed looks comfy” kind of a look. She cuddled up next to me. I hadn’t been that happy in a long time. Based on her life before me I bet neither had she.
Mollie and I have a special kind of relationship. There are those out there my age, older and younger, who have children. I don’t have any authority on children. I just have a dog. Some people post pictures of their children and the cute things they do on Facebook. I obsessively post pictures of my dog . I talk with my coworker about her dog. And my dog. About how we should set up a dog play date. We share our dog stories. Talk about how our dogs are afraid of thunderstorms, vacuums and hairdryers. People who own dogs talk to other people who own dogs at parties. We talk about our dogs and sometimes they even attend these social gatherings. This happens more then you think. Mollie is a part of my family. And I am hers.
My grandfather who lives in France lost his sixteen year old dog last month. I was young when they bought Nelson but I would enjoy my summers with him in my grandparents garden. It was his favorite spot. My grandparents always owned hunting dogs and Nelson was pure bred to be one. But he did no hunting. I was told that when my grandpa tried to take Nelson into the woods he would give him this “only if you go first” kind of a look back. He became just a family dog. I remember one summer coming back from my uncle’s house and Nelson had torn up the entire basement bedroom. He chewed through a bed, sofa and chair in the matter of hours. My grandpa was mad and Nelson knew it. But as with anyone you love you, especially a member of your family, you are inclined to forgive and forget. He was my grandpa’s best friend for sixteen years. Until I had a dog of my own I didn’t realize what an important relationship that was. I cried when I heard about Nelson. I realize most dogs won’t outlive their owners, but I was sad for my grandpa. Who would fall asleep under his chair when he took naps in the garden now?
I write because I find the actions of this young man so sad it makes me want to cry. And after that I feel angry. Shame on you. They trust you. You are their voice! It makes me so sad knowing that this young puppy will never have the love that my dog has. That Nelson had. Or that I know that special member of your family has.
When the Chicago Blizzard hit a couple years back that didn’t stop us from taking our night walk down Printers Row together. When my boyfriend left for Thailand for five weeks this past winter some of my Friday date nights quickly turned to pj movie nights with the pup as I let the heater run high. She made great company. On horrible days at work and stressful night classes there is one thing at home that will always put a smile on my face. And her name is Mollie.
Mollie, I’m home.