Let me tell you about her. She is a Shepherd/husky/doberman cross... but to look at her she is mostly shepherd. She was the 13th puppy of her litter, and the first time I saw her she was in a pet rescue center, being walked on, sat on, pooped on by 12 other much larger siblings. They pretty much treated her like she wasn't even there. She was completely black - you couldn't even really see her eyes, but there she sat, covered in excrement and she looked me straight in the eye and whimpered... and I was hooked.
She was the easiest dog I have ever trained, in every aspect - except walking. Well that is where the husky part of her breed comes in because put a leash on her and be prepared to be pulled. She is the calmest pooch when it is just her family around her, but when people come to visit, she just doesn't know what to do, so goofiness sets in for awhile.
But here's what you don't know about Molly unless you live with her. She watches over her family like a mother watches her children. When one of us is sick, she won't leave our sides. She won't lay at our feet, she'd rather lay across our feet.. she has to touch, and be touched. When I came home from having my mastectomy, she watched me continuously, and then one day I noticed her removing the fur on her right side. The vet said she had developed a food allergy, but she only takes fur from that one spot - she doesn't scratch it or any other place... 4 years later - she still has no fur on that spot on her right side! My breast was removed from my right side!
She likes to put her front legs across my legs as I sit in the chair - so she can lay her head over my heart. She will fall asleep in this position until her back legs give out on her. She is all heart, and thankfully, she is all ours. Goofy or not, I wouldn't trade her for another dog if my life depended on it.
So here's to Molly, and all the four-legged best friends that grace our lives. They truly do bring out the best in us, and blessed are we who call them friend.
Chapter 18 begins...
The harsh days of winter were fast disappearing, and one could feel the advent of spring waiting right around the corner, even while the precious harvest of winter got underway. For the past several weeks George and Frederich had been harvesting both families supplies of summer ice from the frozen river behind Frederich’s farm. Large chunks of ice were cut and hauled to the icehouses on each property where the huge slabs were carefully stored beneath heavy layers of sawdust in preparation for the hot summer months ahead.
The men worked from morning till night and because they started their work long before the sun arose and quit as it set in a glorious orange glow across the evening sky, it was Emilie who now performed most of the outdoor chores. She had taken over the chores of feeding, cleaning and milking Karl’s ever faithful milk cows, and of all the things she had learned since being on the farm, milking was the one chore she had grown to love more than any other.
She rose early every morning when he heard George rattling the lid on the woodstove, as if signaling her that another new day had begun. After splashing cold water with chunks of ice floating along the top to her face, she would step into a pair of George’s spare overalls, tie back her thick long hair and don a ragged but warm fleece lined coat that she had found in the cellar. Pulling one of Karl’s woolen toques down low over her hair, she’d jam her feet into the boots that no longer looked new, and quietly slip out into the still-dark early morning.
She loved the quiet of the barn, warmed by the heat of the animals that waited silently for her each morning. She loved their warm brown eyes, and their gentle manners, and the accepting way they welcomed her to join them in their quiet solitude each and every day. Their low bovine call welcomed her each morning as she slid the heavy barn door aside to enter their domain, and once they saw it was she, they calmly retuned to their rhythmic chewing of the fresh hay she fed them every day.
She talked to them continuously, mostly her in German tongue, as she forked fresh hay into the mangers, and then removed the waste from the night into the gutters. She shared with them her private thoughts; fears, dreams, and always she felt that they understood her complaints more than any human she had ever known.
As she pulled the small three-legged stool close to their warm bodies and rested her head against their distended abdomens as she reached to perform the rhythmic motion with her small capable hands, she knew that finally, here in this humble of locations she truly felt peace and contentment for the first time in her life.
It was here that Karl found her, when he returned home two weeks ahead of schedule one evening in late March. Weary from his long journey home, he wanted nothing more than to tend to his team of horses and make his way to his house, but as he silently slid the heavy barn door to the side, he heard the unmistakable voice of the woman he had dreamed of for months, crooning something in German to his oldest milk cow.