For Molly

I never wanted to think of the day when you wouldn’t be here following me around like my little shadow but today it’s been three weeks since I’ve stroked your soft fur, felt your kisses on my face, watched your curiosity about the world around you. I still find myself wondering what I’m going to do without you.

I still remember the day we met. You were running around with your sister playing with an empty water bottle with rocks in it. Such a happy girl! Because of an umbilical hernia, you were the last of your litter and nobody seemed to want you since they wouldn’t be able to breed you due to this “defect”. We had just lost our first girl, Rudy, in a tragic accident and were heartbroken. The family that had you loved you so much that they treated you like a baby and you were sad to leave them. For the first few days I was afraid we had made a mistake. You were so sad. I was sad (and felt guilty for loving another dog so soon). Daddy was sad too. But we loved you so much already. How could we not? You were perfect. So we took each day one at a time and you began to feel more at home with us. It helped waking up to your paw stretched across my chest and your head resting on my shoulder each morning. You healed my heart with your sweetness.

She didn’t know what to do with the hot dog she found so she just carried it around for awhile until it finally fell apart!

When we were trying to set our wedding date later that year, we couldn’t decide between three different dates so we wrote them down on little slips of paper and threw them into the air and you ran and brought back one of them. Matt announced, “October 15th it is!” and you wiggled your little butt. You knew you were making us happy. You lived to make us happy.

You were a lucky girl in that you got to spend your days with “Granny and Paw” while Daddy and I were at work. Since we both worked long hours and they are retired, you got to get lots of your puppy energy out instead of having to be penned up during the day. Of course there was always Hootie to play with but you formed a close bond with them as well. You also had your favorite toy Coco to carry around and treat like your very own baby. You were so gentle with the little stuffed dog that we still have it almost 12 years later and it almost looks brand new.

Then, for your first birthday, we brought you a real “Coco” named Bailey. You loved her and she loved you but you did boss her around quite a bit. You would have made a wonderful mommy dog (not that I believe in breeding). Of course, the two of you became inseparable and always have been. She still looks for you every time we come home. I hope you visit her in her dreams sometimes so she’s not so lonely.

You were always so in-tune with what was going on around you. Often, when we would let you out for your last potty break before bed, we would find you sitting on the hill staring up at the stars. I’m not sure what you thought they might be but Daddy always said that he thought you were contemplating your existence. I think you knew your purpose already. We had a deep bond, you and I. You always knew when I was sad or worried about something. Your fur caught more of my tears over the years than I can count. You helped me through all the nights worrying over Bailey with her two knee surgeries, always checking on her whenever she would whimper. You even helped me deal with the emotions of our struggle to start a family when I thought we would never have a child of our own.  And, the day that I took the pregnancy test, as usual, you were right there laying at my feet (the bathroom is lonely now by the way). When I read the results, you raised your head and looked at me and when I told you that we were going to have a baby, you jumped up and started wiggling all over. It was perfect. I couldn’t have imagined sharing that moment with anyone but you. Of course, I couldn’t wait to tell Daddy either but that moment was special, just between us girls.


After we brought Kylie home from the hospital, the first thing you did was put your nose into her carrier and say hello. Lots of people had warned us about bringing a baby into the house with two big dogs but we knew that you girls would be just fine. You both loved her from the instant you met her. She was part of your pack and your instincts were to protect her. Those first few days, whenever anyone would come to visit, we would have to put you outside because you wouldn’t let anyone near the bassinet. You never growled or anything, just stood in the way like a furry road block saying, “This is my baby!”. And, during the next year of long sleepless nights, you stayed in the nursery with me waking up every 30 minutes or so just like me. She was not a good sleeper at all and you and I both were exhausted. But you never left my side or hers. On the rare occasion that I didn’t wake up right away, I would wake to find you poking your nose into her crib to check on her when she was crying. Every little noise she made, you were right there. I think you and I both gained more gray hairs that year.

As Kylie grew, you let her crawl on you, sleep on top of you, pinch you with her little fingers when she was trying to learn how to pet gently. You kept watch over her even though she was slow to form the emotional bond on her end. You loved her just the same. She was your favorite girl. She grew to love you as much as we did and eventually started to play with you. I can still picture you running along behind her as she rode her bike around the house giggling saying, “Look Mommy! Molly’s following me!”. And, even though your barking by the pool could get on our nerves sometimes, I tried hard not to discourage you from doing so. You were, after all, letting everyone know that Kylie had jumped into the pool. You protected her until the end.

Bringing you to St. Kitts was a very stressful time for us. In order to get you here, we had to put you and Bailey on a cargo plane all alone. You were always so sensitive to loud noises that I was afraid that you wouldn’t make it. Handing you two off to a stranger in Miami almost did me in. Luckily, you handled it better than Bailey did and all went well. We were so happy to finally have you two here with us!

Through the years, I’ve always been so proud to have you belong to me. You were always patient and kind with anyone you met, even if you were afraid of some of them. Even on your vet visits, you were so cooperative that I had several of them tell me that they wished all of their patients were like you. You wanted nothing more than to please and I don’t know if there has ever been a sweeter soul on this earth.

Some people may think I’m crazy but you were the most human dog I’ve ever known. We communicated without words but you knew that I needed you and were willing to fight to stay here with me as long as I asked you to. You were my best friend and letting you go was the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. My heart is shattered. Hopefully this day, your first birthday in Heaven (what would have been your twelfth here on earth), all your pain is gone and you have found Zeus, Hootie, Madre and Rudy to keep you company until we meet again. I love you Molly Moo, you’ll always be my favorite “yeller” dog.

Molly Abigale Clemons-Haga (March 20, 2004-February 28, 2016)

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing and Speaking for the Pop Culture Literate.

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