She concentrated on the salmon skin tantalizingly dangling before her eyes as one human held up the baked fillet while the other scraped off the skin. Suddenly, she saw her chance and sprang forward with lightning speed. She was sure she nabbed the luscious skin, but when her front feet landed on the kitchen floor, she realized that all she had was a mouthful of potholders. She spit them out on the floor, thoroughly disgusted with her prize. The humans laughed at her antics, adding insult to injury.
Molly is our 16 plus year old senior rescue dog. A tweet from Dog Star Daily regarding a webpage on Muttville about the benefits of adopting a senior dog inspired me to write a post about Molly.
Hikers found Molly at the Taylor River trail head, near North Bend, Washington, in February 2007. She was sitting on a bridge near the beginning of the trail. Instead of going on a hike, the hikers put Molly in their car and took her to the King County Animal Shelter at Crossroads in Bellevue, Washington. Taylor River trail head is a remote location, making it unlikely that Molly wandered there by herself. She was probably deliberately dropped off there. Many thanks to these hikers and other people like them who inconvenience themselves to help abandoned, lost and stray animals.
I received an email from NW Vizsla Rescue asking me if I could go by the shelter on my way home from work to identify whether a dog there was a Vizsla. Dee and I both worked in downtown Seattle at the time and commuted together. We snuck out of work a few minutes early so that we could get to the shelter before it closed for the day.
Molly was lying curled up in a cage when we first saw her. We were instructed by the shelter staff that we could look at her, but that we couldn’t touch her until she became available for adoption 3 days later. The thing that struck me when I first saw her was that her ears are deformed. Vizslas are supposed to have beautiful, silky, flop ears. Molly’s ears are shrived up by hemotomas. That type of hematoma is caused by the dog shaking its head due to a chronic ear infection and is a sign of neglect. Molly was well cared for in other ways and was even a touch overweight. We stood there peering in at Molly and discussing her ears. After a couple of minutes, Molly engaged us by wagging her tail at us without moving any other part of her body, a very Vizsla thing to do. We determined that she must be a Vizsla and left the shelter.
I didn’t think Molly was very adoptable, due to her ears and her age. Most people who plan to adopt a Vizsla want a young dog that matches their image of a Vizsla. Although I didn’t think Molly was very adoptable, we were reluctant to take her ourselves, since we already had 3 dogs.
I initially told my contact at NW Vizsla Rescue that we could foster Molly for 2 weeks. By the time Molly was available for adoption from the shelter 3 days later, we had decided to keep her as our own pet. We are very happy that we did! Molly has been an important part of our family for a little over 4 years now. Both the animal shelter staff and our vet estimated that she was 12 years old when she first joined our family.
Molly is quite charismatic! She is easily the best socialized dog I have ever met. She gets along well with people, other dogs and cats. She is very low key in greeting other animals, sniffing and allowing others to sniff her without getting excited – it’s a routine aspect of life for her. She continually demonstrated the proper technique for greeting the cat to Flash (p. 5), the agility dog in the weave pole picture to the right. Molly simply walks up to the cat, sticks her nose in the cat’s face, then walks away. Flash never did catch on and couldn’t approach the cat without quivering all over.
Molly’s people greeting is colorful. She sticks her head in a person’s crotch and pushes up with the top of her skull while enthusiastically wagging her tail. Some people won’t let Molly greet them this way. They are missing out. I have the good fortune of receiving Molly’s special greeting at least once a day.
Molly was very playful for the first few years she was with us, less so now. Molly would race around the yard with the other dogs, then do a stationary spin. She would keep her back end in the same spot while whirling her front end around in a circle, like a horse in a reining competition. It’s great fun to see! The only other dog I have seen do that is Chiz, the first Vizsla I ever met. I think it’s a special dog that spins on her own like that and feel delighted every time I see Molly do it.
Molly rarely spins anymore, but does still race around the yard sometimes. She even plays with Pip, the puppy, now and then. Pip always tries to get Molly to play with him and is pleasantly surprised when she does. Pip knows he needs to respect Molly. She has never put him in his place, but he knew from the moment he met her that he better respect her.
Molly spends a lot of time sleeping. In the morning, she likes to sleep under a blanket on her favorite chair. In the evening, she wants someone to sit on the couch with her. Anyone who will sit on the couch with Molly in the evening is her new best friend.
We feel that Molly has enriched our lives. We would have missed out on many wonderful moments had we passed up the opportunity to adopt this senior dog.