0. In The Beginning
Molly O'Hare loves puppies! All puppies. Now she gets to look for one of her own. See where it all began! Join Molly and her parents at the All-Breed Dog Show as she begins her search for the perfect puppy to be her best friend.
I love puppies! I love them so much that, when I was six-years-old, I wanted to become a puppy so I could roll around and play with them all day. I would spend hours rolling on the floor, chasing a ball and barking like a dog. It drove my parents crazy!
Now, I just pet every dog that the owners will allow me to pet. I plop down on the ground or floor and just let the dogs climb all over me for pets and to lick me. It always grossed my parents out when I let a dog lick my face. I didn’t even mind when they licked my glasses and fogged them up. I love dog kisses and puppy breath. To me, rubbing a dog’s belly is the closest thing to heaven. Puppy breath is like perfume.
My name is Molly O’Hare and I am eight-and-a-half-years-old. I have wanted a puppy of my own for as long as I can remember. I want a puppy to be my best friend and to always love me. The dog will never make fun of me or refuse to play with me. A dog will be MINE!
My parents won’t let me get a dog right now. They say that I still have to wait until I’m a little older and can take responsibility for it, but that we could start looking and learning about different breeds now. I guess I’ll have to live with that. I wish I could have a dog now instead of later. I’m tired of being lonely.
I really want a big dog. I’m talking about a gigantic dog, one the size of a small pony. My parents aren’t too happy about that and keep trying to talk me into a small dog like a Yorkie or Jack Russell Terrier. I don’t want them; I want a BIG dog. A gigantic dog will be fun to play with and I can feel safe playing outside with it. Nobody would ever bother me if I had a giant dog by my side. Giant dogs are easy to see, so I wouldn’t have to worry about stepping on it and squashing it flat as a pancake. Cuddling with a big dog would be like cuddling with a big, warm blanket. I would feel safe with a big dog. My parents hear me say these things, but I don’t think that they have been listening. They worry about things like how much the dog will eat and how big it’s poop would be.
I wasn’t thinking about how much the dog will eat or the size of the poop. I helped my neighbor feed her horses and clean stalls. As far as picking up poop, I couldn’t imagine that a big dog would poop more than a horse. I was used to cleaning up after horses. A puppy cleanup would be a breeze.
After two years of waiting, my parents finally took me to an all-breed dog show to meet different breeds. The excitement was killing me. I couldn't sit still.
When we got to the dog show, my parents tried to steer me towards the area with the little yapping dogs. They headed right for the Toy Poodles. I grabbed my mother’s hand and dragged her over to the Mastiffs instead. My dad had no choice but to follow.
The Mastiffs lumbered around the ring. They moved so slowly, almost like they were trudging through mud. They reminded me of elephants plodding along. I really liked their sad looking faces, and they were certainly big enough for me to cuddle with. I thought that maybe the Mastiff could be the one.
As they were leaving the ring, I noticed that most of the handlers were using towels to wipe the dogs’ mouths. I soon saw why. As the dogs were leaving the ring, I saw long strings of drool hanging from their mouths. On some of them, the slobber was dragging on the floor.
My mother looked from the dogs to me, looking like she had bitten into a worm inside of an apple.
“Molly, I will not have one of those slobbering monsters in the house,” she said. “If you decide on a Mastiff, the dog will have to always live outside. Is that what you want?”
No, that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted a dog that would be my friend and sleep on my bed and lay on the floor and cuddle with me. I couldn’t see doing that with a Mastiff. Besides, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wiping up sticky, slimy slobber. The idea of sleeping with a drooling Mastiff gave me the shivers.
I saw a dry-mouthed male and asked if I could pet him.
“Sorry old guy, I really like your face, but I don’t think that you are the breed for me.”
I patted him again and blew him a kiss.
My father took my hand and said, “Where to next?”
Across from the Mastiff area was a booth with tables and cages. On the table, a woman was brushing a black, fuzzy dog with an enormous pink tongue.
“Mom, Dad, look at those beautiful black dogs.”
I asked a young woman what kind of dog they were.
“Noo-fin-linds,” she replied.
I had never heard of that breed of dog. As I was about to ask her again what type of dog it was, I saw the sign that said, “Newfoundlands.”
I had heard of them. Last year I had read a great book about a girl with Cerebral Palsy and her big, black dog named Wren. That dog was a Newfoundland.
I was so excited that I wiggled. This dog might be what I was looking for. He was huge. He seemed friendly, and he had a happy face. I thought I could love one of these dogs.
I asked for permission to enter the roped off area and pet the dog. I wanted to learn more about this breed. I could see myself playing outside with one of these furry giants. I was sure that a Newfoundland would love me and be my forever friend.
As I was walking towards a likely-looking group of dogs, I saw something that made my heart drop to my feet. These people carried drool towels too!
I didn’t see any spit on the dog’s mouths, so I sat down to play with a gigantic boy named ‘Teddy’.
It surprised me how soft his fur was. He looked at me calmly with a soft, loving look in his eyes. He came over and lay down. He put his colossal head in my lap and my heart melted.
Maybe they didn’t slobber that much.
I walked over to the group of people that were talking to my parents.
The more I listened to the conversation, the sadder I became. Not only did this breed drool, but they shed like crazy and had to be brushed every day. If you didn’t keep them groomed daily, their fur would mat.
One woman told a story about her daughter and her Newfoundlands. It was her daughter’s job to brush the dogs. When her dogs didn’t feel like getting brushed, they knocked the girl over and laid on her. That didn’t sound like fun! I did not want to be smashed flat by my dog. I had a hard enough time staying out of my neighbor’s horses’ way to keep from getting smooshed.
I felt like crying. I really liked these dogs. I would have to keep looking. They had filled my heart with hope. Now I would just have to keep looking.
Sadly, I grabbed my dad’s hand and walked away from the Newfoundland booth. We walked right past the booth with the beautiful Great Danes. My dad asked If I wanted to stop but I shook my head ‘No’. I already knew that some Great Danes drooled. I didn’t want to go in and fall in love with the dogs when I knew I probably couldn’t have one.
We walked for a while. I was so sad that I wasn’t paying attention to which direction we were going.
We were in a part of the building where the SMALL BREEDS were!
“Why are we here? You guys know I don’t want a small breed dog!” I was pouting now. Not only was I disappointed, I hadn’t found a big dog breed for me yet, but I didn’t want to look at small dogs. I DIDN’T WANT A SMALL DOG! I tried to jerk my hand from my father’s.
My dad gripped my hand tightly.
“It doesn’t look like you’re having much luck with the giant breeds, so we are going to look at the smaller dogs,” my mother said sternly.
It seemed like my parents were losing patience already. Well, I was losing patience too! They kept insisting on a small dog, and I wanted a big one. I was the one that was going to take care of it. It was going to be MY DOG!
“But I don’t want a small dog. How many times do I have to say that?”
Now I was whining. I knew I was pushing my luck. My parents HATED whining. I said a brief prayer for patience.
My mother rolled her eyes.
“Just take another look. You haven’t seen all the dogs yet and you might find one that you fall in love with.”
Yeah! Like that was going to happen!
I was upset, but I knew that if I made my parents too angry, they would just give up and take me home. I went along with them to at least look at small dogs. I knew I would not like any of them, so there really wasn’t any harm.
I took my mother’s hand and the three of us headed towards the building where they had the small breed dogs.
The first booth that we came to when we entered the small breed building, had two tables set up for grooming the dogs before they went into the ring. On the front table sat three balls of fluff. One was white, and the others were a kind of cinnamon color.
“Look Molly, they have fur that is almost the color of your hair.”
I gave my dad a dirty look. My hair was RED, not that washed-out cinnamon color.
They had big, bulgy eyes and looked like large cotton balls with legs. I didn’t like them at all. Just the thought of being forced to get one of them gave me shivers. I did not even stop to ask what kind of dog they were. Just the sight of them made me nervous. If one were my pet, I’d be afraid of waking up in the middle of the night and accidentally stepping on it. I could just see the cinnamon-colored grease spot it would leave on my bedroom floor.
The sign at the front of the booth read,” Pomeranian”.
To me that name sounded like something that would sneak up on you, in the middle of the night, and bite your nose. No, I would not like one of them at all.
I tugged at my parents’ hands to move past that booth and walked towards the next one.
The next booth had tiny little, shivering mites that looked more like mice than dogs.
II wasn’t really interested in one of them for me, but was curious about the dogs so I could steer clear of them in in the future.
She answered me, “Chihuahuas”.
I had heard of them and even seen a couple on television commercials and on a show that counted down the world’s most dangerous dogs. The Chihuahua was number one. The show said that this breed caused more dog bites than any other breed.
I somehow thought they would be bigger.
I stood and watched the mouse/dogs shake and shiver. They acted like they were freezing to death. It was July in Texas. You couldn’t freeze to death if you sat on a block of ice.
As I was just standing there watching, one dog turned and looked at me over its shoulder. The dog’s lip came up, and it showed its teeth to me, sending out a weak growl.My face scrunched up in disgust, I turned to my parents.
“Mom, Dad, did you see that? That little ankle biter showed its teeth and growled at me.”
I surely wouldn’t like one of THOSE dogs! They were too tiny. They shivered all the time, like they were afraid of the world and frozen besides. They were nasty and looked like overblown mice. No! The Chihuahua is definitely NOT the dog for me!
I walked over to my parents. I was pretty put out by the tiny monster growling at me. Most dogs like me.
“Mom, Dad, let’s go. I really do not want one of these teeny dogs!”
We walked around the building for another hour. We looked at Toy Poodles, Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Yorkies and a few other breeds. At each booth I became more and more certain that a little dog just was not for me.
I thought that the Toy Poodles looked silly with the hair poufs on top of their heads and pom-pom balls on their legs, hips and tails. I liked the Standard Poodle a little more. My neighbor Linda has one named Seamus. He doesn’t have one of the foo foo haircuts, though. They keep him shaved down so that he looks more like a Greyhound than a Poodle. Linda’s husband uses the dog for retrieving. Seamus is a great dog. He’s friendly. He loves to play chase and fetch. I really like Seamus. I just want a bigger dog than a Standard Poodle.
When we looked at the Yorkies, they were so tiny and cute that they looked a lot like stuffed toys. They had long, silky hair that touched the ground. I knew that keeping one groomed would take a lot of work. I could not imagine a Yorkie coming with me to clean stalls or feed horses. The thought of combing horse poop from a Yorkie’s coat turned my stomach a little.
Next, we walked over to see the ‘Weiner’ dogs.
The Dachshunds were so funny looking with their long bodies and short little legs. I could not see myself running through pastures or playing fetch with one of them. Their little tummies drag on the ground. They couldn’t jump up and catch a frisbee. Heck, this type of dog wouldn’t even be able to jump up on my bed. This was another breed that wasn’t for me.
As I turned to leave that booth, one dog growled at me. That was still another reason to not want a Dachshund.
What was it with these tiny dogs? They seemed to all have an attitude problem.
That was the last small breed booth to visit.
I stalked over to my parents, angrily pushing up my glasses where they had slid down my nose.
“That is it for small dogs. I’m even more sure than I was before that I do not want a little dog. They all seem so grumpy! I’d be afraid of getting bitten every time I went to touch my dog.”
As I was talking to my parents, I was slowly turning towards the area with the bigger dogs. I hoped that, if my parents didn’t notice, I could steer them to where I wanted to go.
“I really want to go back and look at the big dogs now,” I pouted.
Looking at little dogs had just been a waste of time. We could have been looking at the big dogs instead.
My father looked at me tiredly, “If you are sure that none of the small dogs was what you want, then maybe we can go look at big dogs that are not as big as the Mastiff or Great Dane. Would you like that?”
No, I really wouldn’t like that! I knew my parents were trying to find a middle ground where I could get the dog I wanted, and they could feel good about the dog that I chose. They had been pretty patient with me, so far.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go look at dogs that weren’t giant, but it was only fair to try it. It would make my parents happy. I humored them and went in the direction they wanted.