I want to believe that Molly was wanted, was loved and attended to, for at least some part of her life. I want to believe that her cute puppiness, and her bouncy joy for life endeared her to the ones who owned her and that they gave her a place of belonging, for a time. Dogs love humans, in all our imperfection, and “being with” is where they find safety and ease. But what if we make the mistake of taking that for granted; assume it, rather than earn it? What if we just don’t feel an obligation to keep up our end of the bargain?

That is the best I can say for Molly’s situation. I know that every day for a long period of time, someone stuffed her into a crate too small for her body and walked away, annoyed at the inconvenience of having to come back eventually to let her out. I know that she suffered and that her suffering would have been obvious and that this same someone attempted nothing to ease her pain or stop it from getting worse. Which it did. And I know that, by the time Molly was found, she had quit seeking. She did not expect humans to help her. She expected nothing.

What happened next is not heroic. We simply picked up a stinking, sickly, weak dog at an animal shelter and brought her home with us. We bathed her and cared for her and gave her medicine. We were there for her and the steady infusion of this “being with” gave Molly a place to rise into. We thought we were giving Molly end-of-life care. Instead she graced us with her joyful presence for two and a half more years, filling each day with a thousand precious moments.

I wish I could share with you each of those intimate moments. You could see for yourself how devoted Molly was to us, how she doted on babies of the human or puppy kind, how she enjoyed her walk-abouts in the big pasture, even when we had to carry her by the end of it. But I bet I am preaching to the choir; to you, who have also loved and lost a piece of your heart walking on four legs. In truth, it’s not you I seek. No, I wonder whether there is some telling of Molly’s story that would ever be enough to impact her former owner, or someone like him. If shared with shattering brilliance, could the light that was Molly open his heart, help him to be a kinder person, or is he as immune to that as I am destined to be made full by it? I guess, the reality is that he could not see her light when it was right in front of him; what “afterwards” telling could possibly do more?

The full reach of the positive and good that Molly brought to us is vast. We were in a compressed, chaotic time in our lives at that time and her presence gave us focus. Her story was picked up by broader social media and that exposure graced me with connections to some truly cool humans, which continue to this day. Because of Molly, we rescued again and again and again; living in a steady state of heart-wrenching love and loss, the beauty of which is fiercely wonderful. I tell Molly’s story and I will tell the stories of those other rescues, to remind myself of the good that lies underneath. Because that’s where we found Molly.

Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

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