My Old Dog

My lab Molly is old. Her once black face is mostly grey, and she limps all the time and struggles to climb stairs. Not too long ago my vet gently said, “She is in her bonus months. Enjoy her.”

And so, as my daughter, the cat, the dog and I drove the 10 hours north yesterday, I found myself wondering, as I lifted Molly in and out of the back of my Subaru each time we stopped for a break, if this was going to be her last summer at the beach. Would she remember the house? Where the electric fence lines are? Our after dinner walks?  Would she even want or be able to walk? She has dementia now, and when we are home, she sometimes wanders to the bottom of the driveway and onto the quiet country road in front of my house and can’t remember how to get back home.

We arrived at the beach later in the day than I’d hoped, and it was raining and windy and cold. But the minute we pulled up the grass driveway, Molly’s tail started to wag.  And when I lifted her out of the car, she went to all of her usual spots to sniff and do her business. When she hobbled inside, my mother’s young Shepard came bounding but quickly curbed his enthusiasm. He understands, I think, that she can no longer romp for hours in celebration of their reunions. So he settles instead for a few nudges and licks.

Molly found and nestled down on her dog bed, tired I suppose from  the long drive. And she lay quietly under the table during dinner as my mother, my daughters and I caught up on news since we’d all last been together.

But a funny thing happened as we began clearing the dinner table. Molly stood up and started pacing. She went to the kitchen door, a hopeful look in her eyes.

My mother grinned. “You know what she is  expecting don’t you?” my mother asked me.

I laughed. She remembered. Molly remembered that after dinner we always walk. She wanted to walk.

And so we did. We didn’t go as far as we used to, but Molly went to all of her usual places to sniff and investigate and do her business. She was full of energy and joy and hardly limped at all for those fifteen minutes as we walked at the edge of the beach through the misty evening.

Maybe it will be Molly’s last summer here, but I think it’s going to be a good one.

Thank you to the team at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the weekly Tuesday SOL community here.

9 thoughts on “My Old Dog

  1. Our dogs are so precious to us. Thank you for sharing about Molly. Such love. It is going to be another good summer together.

    I am reminded of our Bailey (14 1/2)…and now our Rozz who we adopted at 9 and is now 12.

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  2. Memory is so strong. I love how Molly expects the same. She sees no change. Hoping your summer with Molly allows for many more moments like this one.

    PS I'll be at TCRWP's Writing Institute next week (I have Shana Frazin and Ali Marron).. Hope to see you!

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  3. What a lovely remembering for you to keep about Molly, Lisa. This is so sweet. I'm glad there are good moments like this at the beach. I love hearing about the greeting between Molly and your mother's young dog.

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  4. I've been thinking that about Fiona for a while now. So far, she's made it to 14 but she is definitely waning. She is also stubborn enough to live to 19! It is hard, tough. I wish you & Molly the best summer ever!

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