Molly came to live with us on a damp grey Monday at the end of November. A foot of snow layered the ground and made everything cold and drab in the fading light of evening.
“I’ve never taken a dog away from a loving home before,” said Morgan as we trundled up the road in our car to pick her up.
“I know,” I mumbled. “I feel terrible. Because it’s not like we’re rescuing her from some horrible life or anything.”
The information I found online about taking a dog to Ireland was varied. I had emailed it to Molly’s people hoping they might come across something useful and decide they could in fact take her with them. But I did not know their story, not really, it had all been such a fast progression from meeting them to agreeing to take their dog, to this moment now, surreal as it was, when we were going to get her.
The reply had been appreciative, but adamant. Their minds were made up. Molly was not going with them. I was distraught on their behalf, part of me felt a little desperate and part of me just didn’t understand. But then I slowly came to realize that once you have made such a difficult decision it is best to go forward with it, not to waffle and change your mind back and forth, to torture yourself with possibilities.
So, Morgan met Molly on Sunday and then on Monday we brought her home.
“Don’t worry about me,” Molly’s owner had said on the phone when I called to tell him we were running a little behind. “I will be a mess. I might not even come out to say goodbye.”
But he did come out, with photos of Molly as a puppy, and her papers, and her leashes. He appeared, voice husky, behind his wife who had met us at the door.
“I’ve already had a good cry,” she said. “And I’ve said goodbye and I know she is going on to good things and new adventures.” Then she smiled, a genuine smile that started in her kind eyes, and I knew she meant every word she said and I loved her for it.
Molly was outside when we first pulled the car into the driveway and she wagged her tail when she saw us, and when Morgan and the woman walked her to our car, she hopped in to the back seat as though she had done it a million times.
“She knows,” she said as the man and I stood back and he went over Molly’s commands with me again.
“She will push you,” he reminded me. “Don’t let her get away with anything.” And then he said, “God bless you,” and we hugged and it felt like we were sealing a life-long friendship.
In our tiny car Molly sat up tall and patient, her giant ears brushing the roof. She looked at us over her shoulder as we opened the hatch and laid in her blanket, her food and a bag of her toys. We all laughed then as we looked at her serious face and discussed what she must be thinking and the woman waved to her and wished her well on her new adventure.
“We will send pictures,” I said.
“And Heather has a blog,” said Morgan.
But the man shook his head. “I don’t want to know,” he said. “I just need to have a clean break.”
The woman smiled knowingly, though, and said, “I would love to see pictures and hear how she’s doing. In a little while.”
There were more hugs and more well-wishes and then we drove away. Molly’s head appeared between ours as she looked forward out the windscreen. She flicked her tongue at both of us and poked us with her nose and seemed to say, “Where are we off to then?”