As I sit down to write this post, I can look out the window and see Molly's resting place underneath the chestnut tree in the side yard. Her life on Earth ended yesterday, and she left us to soar with the spirits and join the other animals who have been such a part of our lives here at The Farm...She's in good company, for sure...
Twelve years ago about this time of year, I went to see two corgi puppies who lived with some not so nice humans across the field from where Eliza took riding lessons. Her instructor knew we were considering a dog, and Kara, one who would never, ever turn a critter away, mentioned we might want to help these little ones out. When I spoke to the man who had them, I told him I was interested in a puppy, and he proceeded to tell me that if I didn't take both dogs, he'd just "tie a rock around the other one's neck and toss it in the pond" He needed to "get rid of them both, one way or another." The next day, Sam went to get both Annie and Molly, and by the next morning, Samuel and Eliza had decided both puppies had to stay at The Farm. How could we separate the sisters??
As a little puppy, Molly's long nose and tail quickly distinguished her from her sister. Her little belly was so bloated when she arrived she looked like she weighed a ton, but from the get-go, Molly's smile shone, despite her discomfort and malnutrition. Over the years, she and Annie would comb the farm from one end to the other and make enough noise in the night to incite the neighbors to call the dog warden (!). Like geese in flight, the corgi sisters knew instinctively in which direction to run, when to change course and how to accelerate like greased lightening after everything from a fox to a mole. With her long nose that proved to be quite advantageous when burrowing, Molly holds The Farm record for most moles brought in from the back field. Since Rufus's arrival, she spent many afternoons with him out in the field, teaching him about "mole-ing."
After Sam moved away and when I was alone here, Molly hung by my side constantly. She and Annie became my housemates, and we talked to each other, sang songs, and danced all over the house. On some mornings, Molly would wake up in a goofy mood and would run back and forth through the house with a huge smile on her face while I would sing, "Molly's a silly....Molly is a silly." Finally, she would stop for a breath and laugh hard, ears turned back and nose to the sky.
Other great Molly memories come to mind at the moment:
The day she treed a raccon up a telephone pole and wouldn't EVEN begin to think about coming in for food or sleep. She stayed there a good 48 hours, determined to outlast the patient raccoon.
The day she got her head stuck in the railings on the back porch., Tom came over and was ready to dismantle a rail when Molly jerked her head right back out.
The trip to Boone from Lexington one Christmas when she got carsick and used a vomit bag Samuel managed to stick in front of her.
The many evenings I would call her and Annie to come in. Annie usually obeyed while Molly would turn to look at me, laugh and take off in the other direction.
The day she tried to take down a Great Dane and Mastiff at the same time because they attacked Annie.
The many afternoons I would find her and Annie with Eliza, who had dressed them up in some sort of costume or baby clothes. Molly's Halloween costume now goes to Rufus.
Molly with an old bagel, hot dog bun, or piece of bread in her mouth that she'd carry around and guard for days.
Watching her come running to me when I'd come home from work with a huge cow patty in her mouth time after time after time.
The time Sunday night when Eliza, Molly, and I were alone in my bedroom in silence as Eliza shared her love with Molly.
Her love for Annie and Annie's love for her. With the exception of an occasional hour here and there, they were never apart.
As opposed to the rest of her entire life, the past two weeks have been hard ones as cancerous tumors overtook her body, weakened her and robbed her of her ability to walk, eat and seek water without struggle. As difficult as the process was to experience, I am grateful to have been there every step of the way with her, and I am honored that I could hold her head in my arms and let her bury her head in my chest as she drew her last breath. She drifted away in my arms, and I felt her spirit take flight. It wasn't easy, and I cried hard. I am so grateful to Joe and Tom who made it possible for me to be totally with her during the process and who cared for us both before and afterwards with love and tenderness.
When we put Molly in the Earth, I made a bed of bright yellow leaves for her to rest upon, and we covered her with a baby blanket and more leaves. Annie watched from the flower bed a few feet away, and Hendrix (channeling Samuel there to be with us, I'm sure) leaned up against me as we placed the soil back on top of her. Rufus was at our side as well, and the other cats sauntered by as we worked.
As I was sitting alone in the warmth of the afternoon sun shortly thereafter, I closed my eyes and asked for a sign...something to let me know Molly was OK...When I opened my eyes, a HUGE red-tailed hawk came flying along the driveway in front of me at the height of the railing on the deck. I could have reached out and touched it had I wanted. He flew across the yard and over the top of the pines at the end of the side yard. Before he was out of sight, I heard him squeal and watched him spiral into a circle. Then he disappeared...Molly had sent her messenger, and I was embraced by peace.
It'll take us a while to adjust to Molly's absence. As Annie came into the bedroom last night, she growled out of habit, thinking Molly was there to challenge her for her food. The perplexed look on Annie's face as she looked around for Molly indicated Annie sensed our life had changed. When I got up this morning to let Annie out, I held the door open and called for Molly to come....I'm sure all of us will need a little time to process her absence.
I've read this poem by Walt Whitman many times over in the past couple of weeks....I include it here in honor of Molly...
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their conditions,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their self-importance,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things.
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is disrespectful or unhappy over the whole earth.
Everyone here at The Farm is a better human being by virtue of having lived with Molly. As I told her the other night, we'll never ever be without her...As Joe reminds us, she's here, just in another form...here forever.