Molly Was More Than Just A Dog

On January 6, 2000, the last thing in the world I wanted was a dog.

After five hyper cocker spaniels and a herd of feral cats, I was finished with the inevitable heartaches that are a predictable part of owning animals.

But it was the day after my son’s 12 birthday and all he’d ever wanted was a dog…and you know how easily we’re persuaded by our children’s tears…So that very day, I was determined that the boy was going to get a dog. Within minutes of perusing the ads for animals, we settled on one: “Free to a good home, female, pug mix.”

A very kind woman and her son had rescued the poor furry waif from one of the worst ice storms in Lubbock’s history. The timid little girl had been abused, neglected, and left to die outside of her abuser’s house. The woman had three other rescues and her landlord declared emphatically, “No more dogs!”

So now, Andy and I had a dog.

She was very timid and frightened. She hid under beds, in closets, and in the backyard behind the bushes to escape us. She was skin and bones with an ear infection in both ears. We named her Molly. My son finally had the dog he so desperately wanted.

Even though we shared her care, dogs instinctively sense the leader of the pack. She insisted on sleeping with me that first night, and every night thereafter for over fourteen years.

Completely without training, Molly was an amazingly polite and well-behaved dog from the very beginning. She didn’t bark, bite, or rip shoes to shreds. She could walk anywhere without a leash. She remained obediently by my side without reprimand. With her bug eyes and endearing under bite, she wore a perpetually mournful expression. I thought of the mysterious misery of her first year of life and believed it was the connection to her seriousness.

I spent the next fourteen years making up for her past. I didn’t make her do tricks, dress her up in doggy clothing (although she did have a sweater for winter walks), paint her toenails or squeeze her into ridiculous Halloween costumes or funny hats. One New Year’s Eve, I forced her to wear a tiara. She hid under the kitchen table and afterward, avoided me for days.

Her best years came when I moved to my quirky house by the lake. For her, it meant daily walks in the park (sometimes twice!), playing with her dog friends, and sitting in my lap every evening, gazing at the lake and barking at dogs accompanied by with their owners. She had everything she needed and wanted.

Like a cat with nine lives, Molly survived many health crises, rebounding back to health again and again, through surgeries and accidents, but around her twelfth birthday, her steps slowed, she no longer ran, and her muzzle transformed from brindle to gray. She was disinterested in her toys and preferred to cuddle. She could no longer make the walk around the entire lake or even the trip upstairs to bed.

Two weeks ago, she became ill with a supposed intestinal illness that was soon discovered to be a mass in her abdomen and her condition worsened rapidly, despite multiple trips to the vet. By Saturday afternoon, I knew she was dying. She took her last breath this morning at 9:50 a.m. at home, in the arms of my son. At 11:30, Cimarron Pet Services picked up her body, still wrapped in her favorite blanket. I watched while the truck drove down the street and around the corner, until it disappeared from sight.

My Molly was gone. My heart was broken.

There is a reason why the word “dog” spelled backward is “God”. The unconditional and non-judgmental love of a dog is the closest we will get to the divine during our brief earthly experience. They are our best teachers of how to live out our days.

We build bonds with our animals, the same way we do with our children. It’s not something instinctual or biological; it’s not love-at-first-sight. Those unbreakable bonds are forged by attention, teaching, guidance and companionship; day-in-day-out, no matter how difficult or inconvenient.

Love is merely the by-product.    

For the rest of this day, I’ve drifted around in a sad fog. I’ve cleaned and done laundry; all the things I neglected over the past few weeks while caring for my ailing Molly. I washed her favorite food mat and water bowl and put them away. I couldn’t bear looking at them. The house seemed so empty and quiet without her.

To soothe my grief, I sat outside in the summer heat, gazing at the pure white clouds lazily drifting through the azure sky. It was the first peaceful moment I’d had in weeks, but I was still crying and missing her.   

After a bit, I felt a strange swelling in my stomach. Maybe it was from hunger or perhaps, hours of crying, but I felt something. I didn’t hear a voice, but I felt words, deep down in my gut. Whether it was a fantasy to comfort myself, I don’t know. But it was an excited child-like voice that I felt. It was saying: “Don’t cry, mommy. They’re throwing balls, lots of balls everywhere. I’m chasing them. I can run now! I can run fast. Watch me! Watch me run, mommy!”

Yes, I’ll watch you, Molly.

Run, Molly, run! Run fast. Go catch the ball. Good dog. Run in peace, Molly. I’ll miss you.


Carol Morgan is a career/college counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Read her work at the Houston Press and MetroLeader News Service. Email Carol at , follow her on Twitter and on Facebook or visit her writer’s blog at   

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we lose our beloved pets they come back to us into our hearts. I appreciate every day I have had with my dogs and I will continue to suffer when they are gone, but I will always have a dog. Nice story Carol about your good friend.



I am a cat person and we have had many cats who lived long and happy lives.

Some cats are designed to just be single cats, but we have always had at least two cats.

Of course, it hurts when one is gone, but you still have one to love, and one to find at the animal shelter for a new home.

"Replace" is not a word you can use here.

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.....



I will light a candle for your little Molly and send prayers of comfort your way!! Just remember that Molly is waiting for you, just this side of "The Rainbow Bridge", and one day she will run to meet you and then both of you can cross together!!


We lost Nugget at the youngest

age, she was 10 when we had a house fire. I buried her under a cairn not too far out of Austin. I don't know who owned the land, but I hope that they didn't mind.

Our Molly, a shih tzu who sounds a lot like your Molly survived the fire. We buried her at 14 in our back yard in Albuquerque.

Rose was a springer spaniel, the only dog we ever bought, but she was cheap because she was a cull. She disappeared before the fire, but we found her six months later in our old neighborhood. We knew it was her when the lost and found ad mentioned her allergy to grass.

We found Space wandering around in Austin, and Rose became her big sister, and soul mate. She was Rose's shadow, often, apparently, quite literally. They both lived to about 14, which meant that Space morned Rose for about two years. They are both buried on the property lived on at Vallecito Reservoir in CO, side by side, as they lived.

Mabel was an escape artist whose single mother owner couldn't bail out of the pound one more time. We chose her because we had two young boys, and her calm demeanor in the bedlam that is an overcrowded dob pound called to us. She was still an escape artist, but we lived far away from civilization, and we had time to build trust with her. She was a blue heeler mix, and was the smartest dog I've seen since Princess, when I was a kid.

She's buried under our largest pecan tree. She helped raise the boys.

It took about a year, but we knew it was time after we took in a few strays, cleaned them up, and either found their owners, or took them to be fostered by local animal rescue groups. I wasn't sure I wanted another dog after Mabel, but it turned out I did...we did.

We went as a family to the animal shelter. One called to us, but she looked too much like Mabel. The other one was a Corgi. We're not much into pure breeds, but, again, her demeanor called to us.

Her name is Maudy. She has quite an attitude. Cat lovers seem to go for her, maybe because cats have similar attitudes. We've had her for two years now. I decided against getting a Harley when my youngest turns 21. I'd rather have something a little smaller, with a sidecar. My LP won't ride with me, but I bet Maudy will. I've already bought her a pair of doggles, so her eyes won't dry out sticking her head out the window, or riding in the sidecar. I'll be sure to have her strapped in and wearing a helmet, but I can't wait to hit the road and feel the wind in our faces.


My heart goes out to you

Carol. Hopefully the memories will ease the pain somewhat.

Molly was a lucky girl.



My eyes are blurry from crying, probably selfishly, as I, too, have a "Molly," and I can't bear the thought of his loss. I tried to read your blog yesterday but found I couldn't, so I finished it today knowing the outcome but still persevered through the tears.

The lifelong memories, companionship and love pets give surpasses most of our relationships with lowly humans.

I hope you find acceptance - the greatest gift of all.



I am so sorry to hear about Molly. I hope your heartache will ease in time. She will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge, I am sure of that. It is never easy to say goodbye to a beloved friend, regardless of whether they are two or four-legged. I wish you peace.

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