These dogs, by the way, in a famous painting by Andrea da Firenze, are depicted as guarding the gates to heaven so that only the righteous may pass. (Vicki Hearne)
She was one of those dogs - legendary in her own ever-widening circle of Those Who Love Molly people - the dog everyone wanted to hang with, pet and rub, talk to. Soulful eyes with a centuries-old stare. Pony-cantering over to meet you if excited, prone to rolling and wriggling on her back like some berserk many-limbed sea creature.
Molly was all about the tribe. If you were on the trail, she tended to be lead dog, but she'd periodically run back to make sure you were coming along; if you got up from a city gathering to go to the bathroom, she might shepherd you back and forth.
When I met my wife to be, Molly initially terrified me. Knowing nothing of the truth, I thought pit bulls were enraged and homicidal. So I was all the more relieved, and then flummoxed, to see this gentle, sensitive, kindhearted babe of an animal decide I should be her boyfriend, too. Suddenly I had a dog. If Molly was over on Tater's side, she'd ask to be let out, walk around the back of the bungalow and come knocking on my door. Once admitted, she'd trot right up and into her chair, an Eames-styled armchair and ottoman she'd claimed as hers on one of her first visits. From there she surveyed the domain, and more often than not, simply stared at me adoringly.
I was her dutiful bitch in no time.
Here is my wife on this Best Dog in the World, whom she lived with for eleven years and then an extra two sharing her with me:
Here’s what I know, in all my sadness right now: Four-leggeds come back. We figure Molly knew Bach, Maria Teresa, Einstein, Glenn Gould; we expect to know her again, for her soul to return in a fresh, sturdy body, ready to accompany our unsteady feet on our sunset hikes, to warm our tents and hog our beds and sleeping bags, and let us in on the great, musclehead secret of absolute love. Our furry friends' short lives test our willingness to love without attachment, which is, in the end, the only kind of love that matters. We always fail, we always grieve, and we always try again.
Molly, we have not begun to imagine life without you, even as we say goodbye. We will so miss you.