Mollie, being a major attention hog, is enjoying being the only pet in tow during our evacuation escapade. We left the others behind because there is not a hotel between here and Wisconsin that will let us bring a dog as huge as a horse and stinky as a piggy into one of their rooms. The cat, well, he'd kill us if we stuck him in a car. Oh, sure, we could place him in a crate for the drive but as soon as we released him he would kill us. In our sleep he'd finish us off. That cat hates the car, loves his house and is fine in his little nook with his litter box, tons of food and water, not to mention the frequent visitors to the house popping in to snuggle him and make sure he isn't clinging to the ceiling in trauma. Nah, the cat is fine and big dog, well, big dog loves when someone stops in. For him that means he's either in for some serious head scratches or his next meal. Either way, he's happy.
Little dog, Mollie, would die of pure anxiety if we left her behind. Mollie is my baby, my three-year-old seventeen-pound baby. I acquired her last November after my sweet little poodle, Honey Sue, went to doggy heaven. She is a Poodle-Shih Tzu mix. I have owned Poodles for years and I know the breed well. What I don't know at all is the Shih Tzu breed. As it turns out, though Mollie may have a few Poodle-like curls and some spastic Poodle behaviors, she is by all definitions a Shih Ttzu. That's not a bad thing. But I don't know beans about the Shig Tzu.
Poodles are very loyal to their mommies, wonderful guard dogs, and extremely smart. The poodles I have owned have assumed that every human not dwelling in the household is a threat until several minutes of observing that mommy is happy with the "intruder" and not reaching for, well, you get the picture. And the Poodle does not observe quietly. The Poodle barks in a manner painful to the human ear, while bouncing in unpredictable directions and at insane heights for as long as it takes for the Poodle to get the picture that mommy is happy with the "intruder", or until the Poodle gets kenneled.
The Shih Tzu, too, is loyal. But, instead of being ready to attack and defend when a possible intruder comes to the door, the Shih Tzu perceives the human on the outside of the door to be a Popsicle, a Popsicle long overdue for a good licking. The Shih Tzu does indeed bark a bit, but the second the door is opened, the Shih Tzu covers the waiting human with so many licks that the human feels violated. Those licks are kisses to the Shih Tzu and, I don't know if it's just my Mollie or the Shih Tzu in general, but there are no strangers. There are only best friends desperately in need of kisses!
Wait. I must take that back. There was a fella that came to our place, and, not knowing this fella, I spoke to him through the door. Mollie went nuts with a bark I have never heard from her before nor since. I suppose she picked up on my pensiveness and reacted. I never opened the door as the fella apparently had the wrong address. Had I done so, I wonder what Mollie would have done? Probably best I don't know because this dog has a bite that shreds those leather dog chews in minutes. Can't figure that out. I've seen a Dachshund shred things like that but never a Poodle. Maybe it's a Shih Tzu thing? Or maybe she has Dachshund in her. Given the disproportionate length of her body and the comical shortness of her legs, it wouldn't be a stretch to believe. However, her breeder says she's half Poodle and half Shih Tzu, so, I'll proceed accordingly.
"Affectionate and loving" are the main words most articles use to describe the Shih Tzu breed. I concur. Mollie is "affectionate and loving" to the point she will not leave a person's being until she has administered 1,000 "affectionate and loving" doggy kisses. We are in a training process where she is learning to sit quietly until being invited into my lap, instead of appearing out of nowhere and putting her nose in my face, and attacking my face with "kisses". I don't like dog noses touching my face. It's gross. I do not allow my dogs to "kiss" my face. Regardless of how precious their intentions are, my face is off limits. Once Mollie is in my lap and has calmed down, she is allowed to "kiss" my wrist just once, then she gets lots of scratches behind her ears, accompanied by tons of belly rubs and back scrubs. She is adapting well to this routine. As long as she ultimately ends up in my lap, she's happy.
As we sit here hoping and praying that the next series of storms headed to our home community turns to rain instead of snow, Mollie is mellow. She is the only pet around and she knows it. She is sharing my attention with no-one. She doesn't care a thing about the weather, lights, heat; TV, or microwaves. As long as she's with me she is happy, content, settled and smiling. Her contentedness is a lesson to me. How content we should all be when we are loved. No, we are not dogs but, love is love and it amazes me how domestic animals know when they are loved, or detested for that matter, and how they respond to those emotions.
While going for her morning walk, Mollie saw a man out side our hotel who was sitting on a curb taking a smoking break. She of course approached him and, when he reached out to her, she loved on him and he so enjoyed her loves and kisses! Turns out his grandmother, whose name is Mollie, is lying in a hospital and is going to go be with Jesus any moment now. He and my Mollie had a sweet bonding time that obviously comforted the man. Hubby and the man visited and the comfort and encouragement the man received was very evident.
Reminds me of when I first met Mollie. My heart was broken deeply with the loss of Honey Sue. When I met Mollie I had serious doubts that I would bond with another dog any time soon. I fully expected to leave the park with still an empty and hurting heart. Mollie's eyes changed that in an instant. As sat on the ground, Mollie came over to me, rolled over for a belly rub, then climbed up and put her short little front legs on my right shoulder. She then leaned her head into mine for a little bit, then looked me square in the eyes. I pulled her away so I could look back into her eyes. As guarded as I was, I was taken by surprise when those pretty little eyes melted my heart. I hugged her, literally, and she snuggled in, just loving the hug.
I didn't bring Mollie home with me immediately. I wanted to wait and know for sure that she was the one God had picked out for me. I also needed to know in my heart of hearts that I really wanted Mollie, and that I wasn't just trying to replace Honey Sue. I was still grieving the loss of my baby girl and would still sob here and there. But, as the days went by, I knew. Mollie's eyes, her hugs, and her annoying kisses stole my heart. We picked her up the following weekend. We've grown to be best friends, Mollie 'n Me, especially now that I have been studying up on the Shih Tzu breed and learning how to relate to her according to who she really is.
Don't we have to do that with people sometimes, too? Just step back, be quiet, listen and learn? Don't we too often try to apply our cookie cutter methods to people, assuming that what we know is going to change their lives forever? Our intentions couldn't be better! But too often we don't take the time to know the deeper person, the person that God knows and wants to reach. Sometimes we can be much better instruments of his love when we wait a bit, pray, observe, and just get to know someone. Yes, it takes time and there can be sacrifice involved, but, if we end up being the person that God can show himself through, isn't it worth that little extra time and sacrifice?
Guess it’s time to wrap this up so I will. Until tomorrow, may your days be merry and bright, and, for those in the mountains of Norther California, may the days that lie ahead not be quite so doggone white!!!
Love to all,
Copyright Cynthia R. Jacobs 3/23/2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED