Molly's Most Excellent Adventure

saturday special
notes from maggie's farm

Late Thursday morning, Molly greeted me eagerly with what looked to be one of her precious 'finds' in her mouth.  On those occasions when she's managed to find a hole in the fence, and gone on her mysterious overnight walkabouts, she'd managed to proudly accrue and present for our pleasure an old purse, bones so large I'd swear there's a body out there, a less than fully decomposed cat carcass (thank you, Molly.  Really, you didn't have to.), a fish head, deer antlers, t-shirts, steak seasoning, a scrub brush, several stuffed incarnations of Woody, from the movie Toy Story, a jar of peanut butter, and one, pristine, unopened, bag of pork rinds.  Of which she was the most proud.

We struggle, as proper pet parents should, to keep her within the confines of our own rural property.   And all day long, she's compliant.  It's only occasionally that her will to wander is greater than her desire to behave.   Abandoned properties, and their remains of a livelier time, beckon in the night.  They are ripe for the scavenging, a veritable gold mine of discards, and on occasion, the call is unrelenting.  A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do. As long as she's not caught.

So it was no surprise to find that Molly had unearthed some dirty, foreign, unrecognizable object on this bright and beautiful morning.  However upon closer inspection, because she was insistent that I see what she had so proudly collected for me,  it appeared that this was no ordinary scavenge.  This, almost imperceptibly, was moving.  And what Molly had, draped delicately in the loose grip of her jaw,  was, to her, an obvious treasure. It was a newborn puppy.  It was Molly's puppy!

Now lest you think we're totally thick and unaware, this did not come as a complete surprise. Days before, evidence of expectancy had become apparent.  Her body had taken on certain maternal qualities.  She had excavated a hole large enough to hunker her lanky body into so that all you saw from the front windows was her big smiling head.  She was clearly organizing her surroundings for something.  It could have been that she was readying herself  for the end times. She listens to the local station that blares from speakers of a home faraway  You never know what dogs might pick up from the media. Perhaps she was planning to stock her larder for days of certain doom.

Or it could have been, just maybe, that Molly was preparing for a special arrival.

Birth.  It's an utter miracle of nature that an animal that seems to be heretofore utterly oblivious to all but food, bones, squirrels, and their owners' adoration, know exactly what to do when the time arrives.  There is no nervous fumbling for a prepacked suitcase, the drama of oh-my-heaven's-the-time-is-here!, the tattered and doggy-eared copy of What to Expect when You're Expecting and the stack of similar titles on the nightstand.  They know exactly what to do.  And experience has told me that I know exactly what I should do.  And that is nothing.

Standby.  That's all they need.  The lessons I've learned on this farm are that nature knows what to do.  And in all of my well-meaning, book-studying, internet-researching, discussion board-consulting ways, I really do not.  My job is to be on standby.  Monitor for signs of stress.  Don't touch anything.  Don't interrupt.  Take pictures unobtrusively, if I must.  Stay calm.  Offer few, quiet words of encouragement.  Let nature take it's course.

So, yes, I freaked a little at seeing this little limp bundle of fur in Molly's mouth.  And, yes, I ignored my own wisdom just set forth and tried as I might to encourage Molly to 'drop it' into my hand.  And no, there was nothing doing.  But she would accompany me back to her 'birthing pit', where I left her to tend to what had to be a puppy just minutes old. It amazes me still that she knows to lick the puppy's face first, to sever the cord, to remove the cloak of birth, to gently nudge it to her body, to understand how to nurse, to await the next arrival.  I gave her head a gentle and reassuring pat.  I beamed.  I marveled at the intelligence of our natural world.  This is no mere coincidence. This does not occur as a result of chaos. I am overcome with awe by the detail God has put into each and every creature.

Because if you question your belief in God, maybe you ought to have some puppies.

Postscript:  I realize that I stand the risk of being branded politically incorrect by both mentioning God, and allowing my dog to become pregnant.  !!!!!  While it was an unplanned pregnancy, we are happy that she has had a healthy litter, and will now be able reschedule her spaying when her puppies are weaned.  We believe in responsible pet ownership, spaying and neutering, and adopting orphaned pets, as all of ours have been.

As for mentioning God.  Yeah.  I did that.


  1. Awwww...So cute:) Standing by and doing nothing is extremely difficult. I really try not to interfere with nature, but it is soooooo hard. Glad she presented you with a puppy and not something else.

  2. Ok the tears are welling up and I have to say-This has to go down as one of my all time favorite posts from the farm. It's true to see birth in the making whether in human form or in the likes of creatures bold and beautiful, it is to be but a witness to His gifts! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this story. Oh and Molly congratulations! They are beautiful!

  3. This is such an amazing story and Christi you are an amazing writer and storyteller! This is one my all time favorites as well. Unbelievable!

  4. @Steph, in this instance, and most of life, I find that when I get out of my own way, things really turn out much better! lol
    @Kristina and Karen: Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am so touched by your responses, and that you both chose to share the post on Facebook, too. The birth was an awesome thing to watch and share in. I was a little hesitant to share thinking I might be opening myself to criticism, but life happens, doesn't it? lol

    Thank you all for sharing my joy!

  5. She is beautiful, very soulful eyes...and that shows so much trust that she would bring her puppy to you. This post actually made me tear up.

    I often came home to my GSD Midnite's surprises too...seeing a rat's tail out of the side of his mouth (thank goodness he didn't bite it, he was merely carrying it to show me the minute I got home) or a jackson chameleon (my more urban ex hubby left it in a bucket with a sign that said, what the hell is this? we grew up with jacksons all over upcountry maui so I immediately knew what it was).

  6. A rat! lol Oh,my. My cat used to bring dead mice and lay them at the doorway for me until she and her sister took care of that problem, in short order. It is an amazing feeling to be so trusted. Thank you for commenting! (and hahaha to your boyfriend. Sounds like my Yankee husband's first scorpion sighting)

  7. She is so pretty! And she looks so regal and proud with her puppies. They are ADORABLE!!! I have learned the same thing you have. If I get out of the way, things do work out much better! Congrats on the babies grandma! ;-)

  8. She has become a different dog overnight. Gone are the puppy ways. She looks at me as if we have a secret. Like "Now I know, Mom. These kids are a real responsibility, huh?!" Thanks for the congrats!

  9. How sweet! Molly's pups are adorbable. Are you going to keep any?

  10. The mommy and daddy are such well-behaved dogs, we'll likely keep one of them. Thank you for visiting!


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