A Good Dog
To the many of you who from time to time have asked about Molly, our Golden Retriever, I’m sorry to say she died of liver cancer in September 2010. She was ten years old. Happily, she lived for five months after her initial diagnosis, and those months became for her a period of dog bliss, full of pizza crusts (her absolute favorite illegal treat), bits of steak, kibble laced with Honey Bunches of Oats, an occasional Oreo cookie and, on at least one occasion, most of a hamburger. I tried to take her every week to our place on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, where she chased rabbits and rolled in dead sea creatures to her heart’s content. She seemed to have no great discomfort until the very end, and died peacefully, her family at hand, in a manner beautifully orchestrated by our veterinarian. The best thing is that Molly, being a dog, had no idea she was ill, and on that last afternoon fell peacefully asleep, her head resting in my wife’s lap.
She loved food, her own and ours, and she was shameless—and cunning—about begging. She would put her head on our knees during dinner and look up at us with her gorgeous brown eyes. Our fault, but what can one do? But she was above all else the gentlest of souls. I will always remember the first time I took her to a public dog run here in Seattle. Once inside the gates, I unhooked her leash, and off she ran at a dead sprint. Only then did I realize she was running headlong toward a little blonde toddler standing fifty yards away. I could picture the inevitable collision, and the lawyers’ bills that surely would follow. I called to Molly, but she kept running. At the last second, she put on the brakes. As she skidded to a stop, she got down very low, her belly almost to the ground, then turned, looked up into the girl’s face—and gave her a lick on the cheek. It was lovely beyond measure to have a dog we could trust without caveat.
This page is dedicated to her, a good dog, and to good dogs everywhere.