I will just go ahead and blurt this right out: we have added another puppy to the household and by puppy I do mean a young pup of a puppy, with a mouth full of tiny baby teeth and too many misguided ideas about how to use them. Yeah, that kind of puppy.
Melissa contacted us. You may recall the last time that happened we ended up driving down to a high-kill animal shelter one county away and pulling the scared, sickly, but oh-so-sweet old pup that became our forever girl, Molly. This time, Melissa wanted to know if we’d be willing to foster a young pup and — get this — her name was Molly. Well, that has us written all over it, right?
I want you to know that this was no easy decision for the people who had puppy Molly. They loved her dearly, but puppies are puppies and can be relentlessly demanding of time, patience, and attention. They worked hard at it, but eventually felt that the constraints of their jobs and family demands weren’t letting them give the puppy the life she needed. So they found the Wheaten Rescue and that meant Melissa and Jody and then it meant us. They were thorough in their vetting of the process and of us (good on them) and when it was decided and time to meet and let go, it was both heart-breaking and feel-good at the same time. Does that make sense? Hard for them, but right for Molly. Sadness and peace of mind.
So now I am working feverishly to live up to their hopes and expectations for little Miss Puppy Molly. I want her to find the best, most wonderful forever home EVER. To help that happen we are giving her lots of room to expend her puppy energy and also chances to learn the ways of the world — with people and with dogs and also with horses and donkeys because you never know when that might come in handy.
The expending her energy part of our mission relies heavily on the pack, Monroe and Giada in particular. Those two girls love to play. First, they taught puppy Molly the chasing game, which works really well outdoors and can include a bit of wrestling if the players are amenable. Molly’s sharp puppy teeth have earned her a few sharp reprimands from Monroe in the wrestling sessions. That might be because Monroe is sporting her summer hair cut while Giada is sporting the only outfit Maremmas ever wear — full-fur body armor.
It turns out the chasing game is quite adaptable to indoor use as well — a creative outcome of our rainy weather yesterday. Only Monroe and puppy Molly can play this game. It would involve some serious wall crashing if Maremmas were included.
Molly is getting a crash course in being a working dog on the farm. Where I go, she goes – that’s our motto – and its ancillary: when I stop, you stop. Actually, I borrowed that from the Monks of New Skete. Their dog training methods were a great influence to me in my puppy training experiences with Gus, Grace, and Evelyn, especially Gus (I am pausing here for a misty-eyed moment because I said his name and my heart thumped hard). So, I put Molly on a short leash and tie her to me: where I go, you go. When I stop, you stop. It leaves my two hands free to do chores and manage other animals, and it helps her understand that being with me (and I mean “with me” as in paying attention and staying close) is her best place of ease. At first, it looked a lot like this:
That wasn’t giving either of us a place of ease, but I outweigh her by quite a bit and am pretty stubborn myself, so I just kept moving and she just kept trying to figure it out and before you know it, it looked a lot more like this:
And this and this:
Smart little puppy.
I am not Molly’s only place of ease and it didn’t involve a tethering experience to create it. Molly loves Marco. Well, everyone loves Marco and Molly is no exception. Her first night with us, after she had run and played and played and run with Giada and Monroe, she gathered a toy to herself and flopped down — where? With Marco.
Her latest source of comfort is to take a break ON Marco. No, really. On.
He is so very tolerant of her closeness and any bark of alarm or whimper from her little puppy mouth raises a big growling chortle out of him and a leaping run to her aid. It’s okay Marco, we won’t hurt her.
To expand her horizons we brought Molly on a trip to the Farmer’s Market with Monroe as her companion. So that was some serious fun. Also, a bit of an arm workout, but mostly it was serious fun. I think they liked it, too, judging from the sleepy contentment that reigned in the back seat on the car ride home.
We have been introducing Molly in stages to the non-dog animals on the farm. She first needed to learn how to co-mingle with Boo and Belle because they inhabit the barn and barnyard.
Every day she gets more comfortable with the big horses as we walk through their space in the outer pasture.
Those walks are hard on her because the other dogs run free while she is tethered to me. Sophie seems to sense the inherent unfairness of this and will often fall in stride with her, at least for a bit.
The hardest thing for Molly though was meeting the fish. Molly loves water and would have taken a flying leap into the koi pond if given half a chance. Heck, she takes a flying leap into the water bowl if you turn your back. She was like Wile E. Coyote drooling manically over the flashy roadrunner when she saw that pond. Here’s one of many pictures I have of her demonstrating her leaping skills.
The old ladies, Gracie and Molly-the-first, are doing what they do best and that is being old ladies. Molly the puppy has learned to respect her elders and they, in turn, are tolerating her proximity. It takes some chaperoning, but we are now taking our meals, family style.
As for Gordy, well what can I say that I haven’t already said about that lovely man when it comes to his capacity to indulge my whims and desires? I asked and he said yes. In truth, though, we had him at the word puppy.