Last month, we had to say goodbye to our dear spaniel Molly. I’ve not been able to write about it until now because it’s been too painful. I miss her terribly and our cottage feels so empty without her.
Molly was our first dog and I remember seeing her photograph on the website of the Diana Brimblecome Animal Rescue Centre. She was chained to a gate on a farm and had spent the first few years of her life in this way, left out in all weathers.
I’d been desperate to rehome a dog for years but, on the day we went to collect her, I was full of nerves. What if Molly didn’t bond with us? What if she was a wrecker and ate all my books? What if I couldn’t handle her? I didn’t dare tell my husband my misgivings in case he called the whole thing off. Sitting on the backseat of the car with her, my hand on her back as she looked in every direction other than at me, I couldn’t help wondering what was going through her mind and if she was as nervous as I was.
When we took her for her first walk in our local park, she barked at every single dog who approached her and, when we went to a training class, she barked for a full sixty minutes! It was obvious that she’d never been socialised properly and that we had a mammoth task ahead of us.
Molly was such a steep learning curve as our first dog but she repaid us with so much love and we always had a lot of fun with her. She was very much a member of the family and she went everywhere with us…
To stately homes on research trips:
To the beach:On summer outings pottering around country churches:
And to windswept Cornish stone circles:
Holidays were arranged very much with her in mind and we only ever booked pet-friendly cottages, and I’m intensely proud of the fact that, in the ten years she was with us, she only spent four nights away from us, staying with friends of ours. It was very important to me that she shouldn’t experience life in kennels after having been put through the stresses of the rehoming system.
Molly even graced the cover of our first Mulberry Cottage book, illustrated by the wonderful Liam O’Farrell:
And she didn’t hold it against us when we filled her garden with hens:
She also survived three major operations to remove life-threatening tumours, and an incident with an out-of-date pot of cream that I’d rather forget!
Words simply cannot do justice to the intense joy that a dog gives you nor to the crippling grief you feel when you lose them. Molly will always be remembered as our very special first dog – the complex girl who taught us so much and who gave us so much too.
Goodbye our darling girl. We will miss you forever.