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So I’m sitting in the doctor’s office the other day after my annual physical and she says to me “Overall, you seem to be much better. I think Molly has had a lot to do with it.
Molly is my dog. Before she came along, I was facing some real challenges which left me depressed. I didn’t think I could feel happy or have fun. Here’s the thing, though: Dogs are all about happiness and fun. Maybe cats are too, although cats always make me feel as if I’m not part of the “in” crowd.
I didn’t want the responsibility of a dog, yet I ended up with a puppy. Go figure. As a new owner (having a dog when you’re a kid doesn’t count because your mom does all the work), I needed some assurances so I went through a breeder to get a low-shed, medium-size, highly affectionate and reasonably smart dog, in this case, a Cavachon. The photo they sent showed this little white fluff ball with red and black ears. I was hooked. Since her dad came from Dublin, I named her Molly. Turns out it’s a common name for a dog. Fortunately, I haven’t been run over by responsive canines when I call her. Plus, now I have an excuse to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.
Did I mention raising a puppy is hard work? My first clue was the six-hour ride home from the breeder. It was pouring. Molly threw up on me twice; the second time, I changed and just ditched the clothes at a rest stop. Later, stuck in almost immoveable traffic on I-95, nature called to both of us. No rest stops in sight. We pulled over, jumped out and crouched by the passenger door to do our business. Suddenly, an eighteen-wheeler sent Molly under the car. There was nothing to do but crawl after her, which I did, grabbing the poor little pooch in one hand and pulling her out. During the drive back, I concluded I’d permanently traumatized my new dog.
Those first few months, it rained constantly. I jumped whenever Molly cried and worried about every upset tummy. I freaked when she chewed my best pair of shoes and groaned when she relieved herself on the carpet. I said, to anyone who would listen: “I can’t do this.”
Well, that’s all water under the bridge. Molly is part of my life. She’s turned the house into a home with toys scattered everywhere and nose prints on the window where she sits as close as possible so she can watch out for squirrels, deer and deliverymen. We have our walking routine (okay, her routine). Actually, we’ve met lots of neighbors; it’s like hanging out with Miss Popularity. She’s also a guy magnet but she’s not particularly discerning, so I can’t say she’s improved my love life. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by “love life.”
Molly is my dog, not my kid; I get that. She won’t graduate with honors or take care of me in my old age. On the other hand, I don’t have to check homework, set curfews or save for college. And she never talks back although her whining can be annoying at times.
Bottom line, she’s taken a huge bite out of my solitary existence. I love coming home to see the little face in the window. I don’t even mind getting up and getting her out to do her business first thing in the morning. I’m still not crazy about the long walks in the rain. But then again, when you live with someone, there are always tradeoffs.