Posted by: Susan | October 17, 2008

The Best Big Sister

Molly is our middle fur baby.  It must be confusing to be the pampered baby of the pack, then without any consultation whatsoever you’re suddenly the middle child.  And you’ve got this big galoot of a little brother that chews on you like you’re a pork chop.  And to top it all off, you’re the only girl.

When we first met Molly at the Atlanta Humane Society, she was about three months old and didn’t behave like any puppy we’d ever seen.  She was one of a litter of what was believed to be purebred Border Collies, a breed I’d always said I would never consider because of their high energy level.  But she was the cutest damned thing, with those freckles and perky little ears.  When I held her in my lap, she didn’t wriggle around or lick my face or exhibit any puppy-like behavior.  She just sat quietly, observing me from the corner of her eye.  I thought, “is this dog going to be a dud with no personality?”  Au contraire, we soon learned.

After she’d been spayed, Don picked her up for the roughly 30-minute ride to our house.  This was when we found out that she really hates to ride in the car.  She sprawled across the console and planted her chin on his right leg for the entire ride home.  Just as he pulled in the driveway, she threw up in the console.  Where the gear shift is.  Where it’s nearly impossible to get at to clean up.  She has repeated this activity several times since.  Now that she’s much bigger, it can become a bit of a challenge to move one’s foot from the gas pedal to the brake, what with this dog head in between one’s lap and the steering wheel.  Needless to say, we only take her on trips that are absolutely necessary.  One time at the dog park, when it was time to go home, she pulled the drama queen act of rolling onto her back and casting sad eyes to all onlookers when I tried to hook her leash back on.  Trying to make me look like Mommy Dearest in front of all the other doggie moms and dads.

Someone once told me he never wanted a dog like Molly because he couldn’t have a dog who’s smarter than he is.

And smart she is.  She practically housebroke herself, and I am not kidding.  The easiest dog I’ve ever trained, not that I’ve trained her a lot of things beyond the basics.  If I’m trying to teach Toby something, she muscles in and shows off that she already knows how to sit, down, stay, etc., etc.  If she doesn’t already know, she learns fast just to show Toby up.  She’s a real little diva and a show-off.

Molly’s definitely the “Alpha” dog of the pack.   She has her spot in the bed at night, and sleeps often sprawled on her back in what Don calls her “Heil Hitler” pose with one front leg stretched toward the ceiling. 

Our oldest dog, Alex, is 12 and he pretty much tried to ignore her when she first arrived.  Then they became buddies and played all the time.  Just when Alex was starting to run out of steam due to his age, along came Toby.

And Toby is the quintessential little brother.  A real pest.  In your face all the time.  Hogging all the attention.  Monkey see, monkey do.  One day Molly was the sweet but quirky little girl, and the next all the attention went to this 8-pound ball of yapping fluff. So Molly bucked up and did what big sisters have always done – she helped raise him.

And she’s done a fine job.  Every morning when I try to make the bed and Toby refuses to get off, Molly runs into the room and teases him until he jumps off to chase her.  Then I make the bed.  Mommy’s little helper.

She’s taught him all the best places in the house with the best views for noting (and barking at) all passers-by, how to climb stairs, how to help clean the dishes while they’re being loaded into the dishwasher, and much more.  They are truly inseparable.  At least in Toby’s eyes.  He is bereft when she’s not with him.  If we take them both out on a leash, he grabs her leash and drags her around.  He’s twice as big as she is now, so he can get away with it.

Some people think we’re crazy for having three fairly large, active dogs (especially me from time to time).  Two herders and a retriever. 

Not a lap dog in the bunch.  (And I haven’t even mentioned the cats.) But they are a lot of fun and it is fascinating to watch their interactions and observe how they treat each other.  Molly is the sneaky one and also quite selfish.

Of course, if one gets a new toy, they all get a new toy.  If one gets a bone, all three get a bone.  Etc., etc.  But once the other two get tired of the bone/toy/chew stick, Molly is right there to pounce on it and make it hers.  It is not unusual to give a chew stick to each of them, then to find Molly 30 minutes later lying on two of the sticks with the third one in her mouth.  And that brings me to the Molly Manifesto:

 If I like it, it’s mine.
If it’s in my mouth, its mine.
If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
If I’m chewing something up, all the pieces are mine.
If it just looks like mine, it’s mine.
If I saw it first, it’s mine.
If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
If it’s broken, it’s yours.

I often think Molly yearns to be an only dog.  But she really is a good big sister. And Toby and I love her to death.  (And so does Daddy, and Alex, and Wrecks, and A.J., and Kirby.  Well, maybe the last three not so much.)

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Responses

  1. Hi Susan
    I’m going to keep an eye on your blog. I have a secret desire for a third pooch – and when I say it people do think I’m mad I’m sure. Dogs are amazing – we love sharing our lives with them.
    All the best from Sussex, England.

  2. So glad you found me, Hilary, and I say go for it. You might want to check out one of my favorite groups – http://www.oes.org, which is dedicated to the Old English Sheepdog. Most of the people there have multiple dogs, many are from the U.K. (go figure, Old ENGLISH Sheepdog), but you don’t have to have a sheepie to enjoy yourself. I’m so glad my two youngest are close in age (2 years apart) so that they really enjoy each other and keep each other company. The older dog hasn’t missed out, by the way, as he too grew up with a big sister. And the cycle goes on and on….


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