PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIES:Paying respects to one tough ol’ gal

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By Kirsten Laskey

I remember when my parents first brought her home 14 years ago. My sister and I drove up to the driveway one day and she and our mom were sitting out in the front yard.

It was kind of a surprise. I didn’t even know they were considering getting another one.

There had been a brief period of time since we said our final goodbyes to our last dog, a black Labrador Retriever named Scituate and it was eerie without him around. It was a little too quiet, a little emptier in the house. So I could understand why my parents wanted another dog.

The new dog was a chocolate Labrador Retriever. She was small, soft and a little chubby. Her coat felt velvety and there was a small wrinkle above her brow. My father named her Molly after Molly Brown, the famous Colorado resident who survived the sinking Titanic.

It was a good choice in a name, not just because our new dog’s coat matched Brown’s name but because the dog shared Brown’s same vivacious, determined, cocky attitude.

Her first night with us, I remember sitting at the table and watching Molly chase an empty milk carton around the living room. She and the carton were about the same size, but that didn’t stop Molly from charging after it.  

After having her a few weeks it was clear Molly wasn’t mild mannered about anything. Take her for a walk and she would practically pull your arm off just to gobble up a piece of trash that lay on the sidewalk. She loved to jump on her hind legs to snatch a piece of food on the kitchen counter. One time she stole a peach and raced merrily away, spraying peach juice and guts all over the house. She had her sweet moments, too.

There was the time when my mom carried her up the stairs to my sister and I, and she curled up and slept in our laps.

Molly brought out the best in us. She gave my father an excuse to show off his funny side, for example. My parents bought her a dog kennel, which was huge since Molly’s size matched her large personality. My father stuffed his entire six foot frame into the kennel to try and persuade a skeptical Molly that it really was the best place to rest.

 Even when Molly got older, she never lost her sparkle. I loved it when I sat on the floor and suddenly Molly’s rapidly sniffing snout would fill up my vision. It was as if she was eagerly saying, over and over, “Whatcha doin’, whatcha doin’, whatcha doin?”  I loved it even more when I would sit at the computer desk  and Molly would shove the keyboard tray back and then plant her head on my lap. To me, this behavior translated to, “Enough work, time to pay me some TLC.”

Because of her enormous personality and bullish manners, I always assumed Molly would be with us forever.

Unexpectedly, at least to me, Molly lost her toughness and became fragile. Her hind legs that use to spring into motion to grab a treat from the kitchen could barely stand up anymore and this dog that use to run wild through the house now wheezed to walk through the back door.

Last month, when my parents took Molly to the vet for surgery, I  thought she was a goner. But Molly proved she still had fight in her. She was a warrior woman for a few more weeks but the second trip to the vet was one she did not return from.

That eerie quiet and empty feeling has come back to my parents’ house. But perhaps not for long, my mother is already checking out yellow lab puppies.

It’s too sad in the house without Molly, she said.

Personally, I think Molly, even with her tough behavior, would be touched by that thought.