It’s over a year since Molly came to live with us, or as I’m sure she likes to think of it, it’s over a year since she enslaved us.
She is now fifteen months old and is pretty much fully grown, I think. She has turned out rather well, even though on many occasions my patience has been stretched as far is as it can possibly go! People who say that Maltese X Shi Tzu dogs are stupid just don’t understand them. Molly is extremely intelligent and picks up things in a flash, but she’s the most stubborn and wilful dog I’ve ever had. There is no such thing as instant obedience with Molly. She just looks at me and does the dog equivalent of rolling her eyes, thinks about it and weighs up the consequences of not doing what I want her to, and then, if she thinks she has no other option, she obeys. It took me a while to figure out that this is just the way she is, and I need to accept it and live with it.
We get along well and she’s my shadow when I’m at home. She likes watching DVDs with me, especially when there are planes and birds, and I’ve only heard her bark a few times so far. She’s the weirdest little dog imaginable and I have no clue how I ended up with a fluffy white dog, but Molly has brought us a lot of joy. She’s so happy all the time and is the best teacher I could have. She and Mr V have a real mutual admiration thing happening: he is so soft and tender with her and I can see now how he might have been with children, which is something I’ve always wondered about. It’s endearing to see a hard man display such soft feelings for something small and cute like Molly. Awww.
Of course, having Molly live with us also means that Molly’s hair lives with us, and oh my, what a lot of work that is. I spend at least 30 minutes every day grooming her, which includes brushing her teeth – most surprisingly she sits still and tolerates it – and then there’s the ongoing process of keeping her hair at a reasonable length. I clip her myself with scissors and it takes HOURS to make a half-decent job of it. I could probably save myself the trouble and get her clipped professionally, but I don’t altogether trust groomers to be kind to her. When she was a pup she used to put up such a fight against even being touched by a comb and I never thought she would get to the stage where she tolerates me handling her all over. As I said, my patience has been stretched on many occasions, but persistence and consistency have paid off. She knows all the usual obedience stuff and is very well-behaved most of the time. She gets along alright with the mean old cat, although he gives her a whack around the ears occasionally if he’s in the mood. She’s much faster than the cat, so although he did want to kill her when she first invaded his territory, he puts up with her now. Molly loves it when he chases her around the house, and I think the cat secretly enjoys himself, too. He has really slowed down over the past few months, and seeing as how he’s nearly sixteen, I guess he’s not going to be around for too many more winters. I don’t know how Molly would go with a little kitten – she’s got a terrier’s instinct to chase and shake things – so I have no plans to get another cat any time soon. Famous last words!
Although it meant several months of waking up every two hours to take Molly outside for a pee, the ghastliness of her having a grass seed stuck up her nose and having to be operated on to retrieve it, the interminable puppy play-biting, the chewing of EVERYTHING, the disciplining and training and ALL the money I’ve spent on her, I think that the decision to exchange a wad of cash for her was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I also credit Molly with keeping me half-sane while I was tapering off the medication, and giving me something to get out of bed for in the mornings. The way I see it, I made a commitment to look after her, and so I do. And, as I said, she’s an excellent teacher: I have learnt a lot from her about living in the moment, accepting people, and spreading the love.