Is Molly still a puppy?
Someone told me that a canine is a puppy until it turns 2. If that’s true, it’s time for Molly, our cairn terrier, to grow up. Today is her second birthday. Do I have to stop calling her “the pup” now?
We got Molly in July 2011 from a breeder in Portage. We had to put down our previous cairn, Trapper, a few months earlier because cancer had ravaged his body. It was one of the saddest days of our lives.
In many ways, Molly has filled the void in our hearts admirably. She has Trapper’s same brindle coloring, though her face is blacker. She has shorter legs and a slight overbite. My wife, Cheryl, and I mistakenly have called her Trapper from time to time.
Molly has lots of nicknames—Molly May, Molly McFee, Moll Flanders, Puppy and even Moll’ for short. In many ways, she’s much like Trapper. In other ways, she’s not.
Readers of this blog are familiar with me telling about my morning dog walks. She’s not as enthusiastic a walker as Trapper was. Like most any terrier, she’s a good watchdog but, compared to Trapper, not as nasty sounding around strangers. She’s friendlier. Cheryl can hold her like a baby, but Molly won’t let me hold her like that; instead, she likes to sit on my lap or lie on my legs when I have my feet propped up.
She can do tricks but is a creature of habit. She’ll roll over quickly for a bite of cheese and will do a “high five” (with both paws up) for a treat. I used doggie treats to train her to ring a toddler's piano once, twice and three times. When demonstrating this for friends the other night with a piece of cheese, however, Molly just rolled over. It was only after I got out the doggie treats that she caught on that she was supposed to go ring the bells. She can be a ditz. We laugh when she hops like a bunny while chasing a toy we toss across the floor.
Molly isn’t always cuddly. Sometimes when we’re watching TV, she prefers lying on the living room floor with her back to us—just like Trapper did at times. Lately, she has taken to nesting atop a big couch pillow with her head propped high.
She does have her puppy-like bad habits. Leave a pen or pencil within reach and leave her alone in the living room, and you should look for it under the dining room table. She likes grabbing and shredding paper napkins and Kleenexes—new or used (I know, yuck. We keep our waste baskets out of reach.). I once left a check on the kitchen table, and a breeze must have blown it onto the floor. I looked under the dining room table and found one small shred with a couple of bank numbers. The rest went down the hatch.
Some friends recently had to put their golden Lab down. They both work and are undecided about getting another puppy. Yes, a dog ties you down. Another another couple we know take their chocolate Lab with them on vacations. Generally, we don’t take Molly on vacations; instead, we put her in a kennel—an extra expense—or leave her with willing relatives.
Experts say having a pet can extend a person’s life. I can understand why. Molly brings us much joy. It would be difficult to imagine life without her.
Molly can appreciate this snow!
Molly looked so peaceful, we tossed a shirt over her.
Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter or