Sunday, 2 August 2015

By Golly, it's a Molly!

All my friends know I’m a dog lover.  Over the years I’ve had several waggy tailed friends, from an ankle-nipping terrier to an unflappable German Shepherd or three.  My last pooch was a tri-coloured female beagle that regarded herself as our fourth child.  In the seven month interval since Trudy Beagle’s departure from this planet, there has not been a day I’ve silently addressed her.  Miss you. Or, If you can hear me, send me another nutty pup like you.  I’ve even privately uttered, If it’s possible, come back to me again.  This mentality (some would put emphasis on the first two syllables) has no truck with my husband.  A born-again-atheist, Mr V has no fancy notions about talking to the dead, whether they are relatives or dogs.
          A couple of weeks ago we flew to Crete for the annual summer holiday.  We were only on Day Two when there, on the beach, my gaze fell upon something so delightful my whole face lit up.  Mr V’s head swivelled three-hundred-and-sixty degrees to observe what had captivated me.
          ‘No!’ was his immediate response.
          ‘There’s no harm in saying hello,’ I countered.
          ‘No!’ he repeated.
          ‘Well I’m going over,’ I said defiantly.
          ‘Then I’m going for a walk,’ he replied, equally defiant.  And off he stomped.
          Seconds later I was couched down on the sand patting two tiny puppies.
          ‘Aren’t they gorgeous!’ beamed a woman coming over.  ‘I’ve been here every day for the last week because I can’t leave these pups alone.’
          ‘Are they yours?’ I asked.
          The woman shook her head.  ‘Not yet, but I’m working on it.  I just need to persuade the husband.’
          ‘Ah,’ I said and gave her an understanding nod.  ‘Is he not a doggy person?’
          ‘On the contrary,’ her eyes widened.  ‘He loves dogs.  But that’s the problem, see?’  I regarded her blankly.  ‘We already have four dogs, three cats, a hamster, two rabbits, and a budgie.  If I take these pups, that’s six dogs, and my husband says it’s too many.’  Privately I agreed.  ‘And they’re so cute,’ she added, ‘and I’ve always wanted a beagle.’
          ‘A beagle?’  My stomach did a flip-flop.
          ‘Yes.  These are beagles.  Well, they’re not pure-bred, but I’d say they’re as near as dammit.’
          I looked at the pups again.  She was right.  My heart rate had started to gallop.  What if…?  No!  I stared at the frolicking puppies.  One had a thin white stripe going up her tan face, just like my old pooch.  I was starting to find it hard to breath.  The other had the typical wide blaze of a beagle.  I was just about to reach for the first pup, when it spotted something of interest and evaded me.  Instead the second puppy with the big wide blaze looked up at me shyly.
          ‘I’ve named them,’ said the woman.  ‘The one that’s just charged off is Cookie.  And this one here,’ she indicated the little lady holding my gaze, ‘is Molly.’
          The moment she said the puppy’s name, something exploded in my brain.  This was it!  This was our new pup!
          ‘I have a cat,’ I laughed, ‘called Dolly.’
          ‘Reckon you ought to have this pup then,’ the woman nudged me in the ribs. ‘Molly and Dolly. Sounds like they’re made for each other.’
          ‘You’re absolutely right.’  I was grinning so widely my lips were almost meeting at the back of my head.
          Mr V chose that precise moment to return but didn’t stop, instead marching straight past me.
          ‘You’ll never guess what her name is!’ I called after him.  ‘Molly!’
          Only one word floated back.  ‘No!’
          ‘Where is their mother?’ I asked Danai, the young lady manning the water sports beach hut.  At night the puppies slept there.
          ‘Dead,’ she replied.
          It transpired the mother had given birth to nine puppies, buried three alive who subsequently suffocated, and was just attempting to bury Molly when rescue came in the form of the lovely Danai.  The mother then keeled over leaving six orphaned puppies.  Undaunted, Danai took them into the beach hut.  There, she juggled hand-rearing tiny pups with the day job. In due course local families took four of the puppies, but the last two remained unwanted.
          As the days rolled seamlessly into one another, going to the beach became a twice-daily ritual.  I was happy to keep my husband company on a two mile walk through shifting sand and foaming waves, but make no mistake about it – the real attraction of Lyttos Beach was a five-week-old puppy called Molly.
          ‘Give her a little stroke,’ I encouraged my husband.
          ‘No!’ came the reply.
          ‘What harm does a small pat on the head do?’ I demanded. ‘Where’s your compassion?’
          ‘No!’ was the familiar answer.
          By this point I’d told my family, friends, everybody on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all about Molly.  The response was unanimous:  Get that puppy home!
          Please can we keep Molly?’ I begged my husband.
          ‘But why?’
          ‘Because it’s not the right time.’
          ‘Why isn’t it the right time?’
          ‘It just isn’t.’
          ‘But why?’
          ‘There are thousands of dogs in the UK that need rescuing.’
          ‘But I want this one.’
          My husband turned to me in exasperation.  ‘Why Molly?’
          ‘Because she’s Trudy,’ I blurted.
          My husband regarded me silently.  ‘She’s not Trudy,’ he said softly.
          ‘Well if she’s not Trudy, then surely Trudy found her.  It’s just too coincidental – a little beagle that’s had a terrible start to life.  I can’t leave her in Crete.’
          By the end of the first week my husband was resigned to me disappearing down to the beach hut.  Behind his back I furtively put out feelers for assistance in getting Molly home.
          ‘I’m worried about your husband’s reaction,’ said Danai.  She didn’t know whether to applaud my rebellion or wring her hands in despair.  ‘He won’t be happy.’
          It’s not often I go head-to-head with Mr V, but inevitably the moment arrived.  I waited until he had three gin and tonics in him to soften the blow.
          ‘I’m telling you now,’ I said thrusting my jaw out, ‘that Molly is coming back to the UK.’
          And this time my husband changed the spelling of his usual response to know and preceded the word with I.
          I stared at him incredulously.  ‘Pardon?’
          ‘I know,’ Mr V repeated.
          I was just about to fling my arms around his neck when he warned that riding rough-shod over his wishes meant he would be making some plans too.  ‘I’ll be getting a season ticket to Old Trafford.’
          ‘Do what you like!’ I crowed happily.
          So while Mr V is charging up the M1 to Manchester, I shall be taking long walks with Molly Beagle.  And just to conclude, this story has a double happy ending.  A lovely German couple stepped forward and took Cookie home with them.  I’ve since raised my eyes heavenwards to thank Trudy
Beagle, who I feel sure has had a hand…or a paw…in all of this.  Roll on September when Molly Beagle comes to England.  Which reminds me.
Creation, According to the Beagle
          On the first day of creation, God created the beagle.
          On the second day, God created man to serve the beagle.
          On the third day, God created the refrigerator to serve as potential food for the beagle.
          On the fourth day, God created the dustbin for the beagle to raid.
          On the fifth day, God created the tennis ball so that the beagle might or might not retrieve it.
          On the sixth day, God created furniture for the beagle to loll all over.
          On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but He had to walk the beagle…

1 comment:

  1. This is such a heart warming story, Debbie! Three cheers for Mr V! Clearly pretending to not be a big softie doesn't work!!!