She came to us from Vermont in the spring of 2002, just 8 weeks old. We found her through an ad in the paper, not the wisest way to find a purebred dog, and she had a full array of bad joints, both hips and both elbows. Surgeries and careful rehabbing, along with supplements and medications, gave her a good life for most of her years with us. But the past 17 months have been tough, and the past three months tougher.
Molly never met a person or a dog she did not love. At the dog day care she and Sam used to attend when she was more able, Molly worked hard to win over the one dog who didn't want to be friends with her. At the dog park, she made the rounds of the people and sat on everyone's feet. To people she loved especially, she offered the paws of love, both front paws presented gently as she sat on her haunches.
For the children and me, Molly was our first dog. We learned a lot about how NOT to train a puppy and how to have ourselves wrapped completely around her paw. When Sam came along, we all enrolled in puppy obedience and she learned the tricks she needed to become a Canine Good Citizen and a certified Therapy Dog.
My partner in ministry, Molly made home and nursing home visits, but
most of all she loved coming to church on a Sunday, when all the people
gathered. At Stevens Avenue Church (aka Small Church), our friend Ginny
counted her in the attendance figures. She participated in countless
children's sermons over the years. At North Parish Church, she made her
first entrance with the rest of the family to a worship service already
begun, singing out her "Wroo wroo!" of greeting to an astonished
congregation. At First Parish, though her movement has been more
limited, she made new friends and helped illustrate the idea that all
are indeed welcome.
Over the past year and particularly the past few months, Molly's world had narrowed along with her mobility, and so tonight I want to remember her dipping her toes in the water at East End Beach, veering off the path at the Falmouth Nature Preserve to cool off in a puddle, giving Pure Luck a fit by taking off at a clip when she saw an attractive porch in the distance while hiking on Portland Trails. I want to think of her sniffing to her heart's content in a place where her joints do not hurt anymore, where you can have as many Milk Bones as you want, and the cats hope you will chase them, because it's just for fun.
Surely so sweet a dog belongs in heaven, and we will meet again, by and by.
(Many thanks to Pat Long of LongShots for the beautiful portrait of Molly taken in April, 2008, at the Bernese Mountain Dog National Specialty.)