5. Hounds Abound
When Molly's family gets sent to New Mexico to cover the Alien Festival, Molly and Grainne are exposed to a whole new world. Molly and and her family get to experience a ceilidh with more hounds than they have ever seen in one place, but not everything is as it seems, as one family seems to be determined to ruin it all for everyone.
Join Molly and Grainne as they see for themselves that bullies and thieves never prosper.
It’s true what they say. “You can’t go home again.”
Dad parked our bus on the cement pad my parents had put in for my grandparents’ mobile home. My grandparents had left and moved their mobile home, so the pad was empty, but had electricity and septic hookups. The couple that was buying our house had let us park there until closing on the house was complete.
I hadn’t ever been happy here because I’d only ever made one friend and she moved away. It was bittersweet however, because I had lived here for over two years.
My family had made a lot of memories in this house. This was where Grainne had first come to live with us. I was sadder than I thought I would be at the idea of never coming back here to live.
My parents were at a lawyer’s office signing the papers to turn the house and property over to the couple buying it. After they came back, we were going to pack up and prepare to travel the next morning. I already had all my stuff put away and ready to leave.
Grainne and I sat out on the deck, watching the horses that now lived in the pasture. This was the pasture where Grainne had learned how to be a Canine Good Citizen and later, a Service Dog. We had worked so hard, and I laughed at the memories of how she sometimes got stubborn and argued with me. Having a dog that could communicate telepathically wasn’t always fun, but mostly it was.
“Dez priddy horsiez Molly. I wouldz hab liked to play wid dem, but dey not too friendly to me. Da gray one sez dat Iz a dumb-looking horse wid my long nose, long tail and fuzzy face. I just sayd PFFFT. Dez just jealous!”
I smiled at her. “Grainne, you are pretty, and definitely not a horse. Those silly horses just don’t know what to think of you. I don’t think they’ve ever seen a dog as big as you.”
Grainne stretched out next to me and gazed off into the woods. It was a beautiful Texas spring day. It wasn’t too hot and there was a cool breeze. In a few weeks, it would be hot, humid, and not a breeze to be found anywhere.
“Molly, I rememberz when I first camed to lib wid you. I wuz kinda scared. I acted likez I wuznt but I wuz. I didn’t know if you wuz gonna be mean to me like da udder peoplez wuz. I’m so happy dat you and youz momma and daddy iz nice.”
I leaned over to hug my girl. The thought of what she had gone through before her breeder rescued her and got her back still made my eyes leak and my throat close up. “Grainne, I’m so glad we got you, too. I love you more each day and I’m thrilled to have you to go through life with me.”
I slid off the chair I’d been sitting on and lay next to Grainne on the deck. We rested together, watching the clouds roll by and drinking cool water until my parents returned.
I turned my eyes to the tree, in front of the house, where I’d fallen and hurt my head. That was when I could first hear Grainne, in my head. Little did I know, when I plunged to the ground, that the fall would open something in my brain that allowed me to have a level of communication, with my dog, that should have been impossible.
After Mom and Dad got back, it was easy for us to put everything away and get ready to leave early in the morning. My parents are writers for a travel magazine, and their next assignment is in Roswell, New Mexico. We would drive across Texas to New Mexico. Since it was over eight hundred miles just to get across Texas, we planned to stop pretty often. There really wasn’t much to do between San Antonio and El Paso so my parents made it my job to find entertainment while we crawled our way across the Lone Star State. Thank heaven for the Internet! I had my job cut out for me.
Our first stop was in San Marcos to visit my friend Michele. Her family had moved a couple of years ago for her dad’s job. I hadn’t seen her since, and I was really excited. She was the only friend I’d made in Cut and Shoot. When she moved, I was heartbroken. I’d loved going to her house and playing with her poodle, Seamus. He was a big, sweet dog who loved everyone.
Until Grainne, I had never seen a dog that was more loving and gentle than Seamus. I looked forward to seeing him and letting Grainne play with the big goof.
Though he was a poodle, he ran like a greyhound. They should have fun running zoomies together. I told Grainne she was going to meet a new friend.
After spending so many months in Mexico, everything still seemed strange back home. We were in sparsely populated areas for most of our time there. There wasn’t a lot of traffic and there weren’t crowds everywhere you went. Traffic in Texas was horrible. I thought Dad was going to have a heart attack, driving through Houston.
The Interstate 10 highway was making sweat break out on my dad’s face. I’d seen him drive the bus through dry riverbeds, take out pipe bridges, and drive through a major Mexican city during rush hour with the car alarm blaring and never saw him sweat before. It looked like it was going to take a few more days for us to get used to being back.
Grainne hopped up on my bed to gaze out the window as soon as the bus engine started. She was eager to get to Michele’s house. As my service dog, she didn’t get enough chances to play with other dogs. Even if she did, most dogs were afraid of her size. Rarely did we find another Irish Wolfhound she could play with.
“Iz da Poodle Seamus gonna bez afraid ob me? I hopez not. I wantz to play wid him. You telled me so much about him dat I feel likez I knowed him. I hopez he likes me!”
I had told Grainne I had considered a Poodle before deciding on an Irish Wolfhound. She knew that the Irish Wolfhound breed had stolen my heart, and I never looked back.
“Grainne, sweetie, I think he’ll like you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him NOT like another dog, human, cat or any other living thing. He is very gentle. He loves to play and runs like the wind. You’re going to have a great time playing chase.”
She seemed to settle after I reassured her and lay down, closed her eyes and started to snore in a few seconds.
At the campground in San Marcos, we set up quickly, loaded Grainne into the Jeep and left for my friend’s house.
Michele and I hadn’t seen each other in person since she moved about two years ago. We messaged each other and video called, but we’d not been together in person in a long time. I was really excited to see her again!
Michele’s parents had bought a beautiful mini ranch outside of San Marcos. Dad found the entrance to their driveway and drove through a gate with a brand on the wooden arch over it. It was long and graveled. I could see their house up ahead. It loomed white over the landscape, a large farmhouse with a wrap-around porch. It looked homey and comfortable. For just a moment, I was homesick for an actual home, not a bus. Then I remembered all the adventures I’d had with Grainne and all the adventures we’d yet to experience, and I forgot about being homesick for a house.
Michele had the door open and was out in front of her house before Dad had even braked to a stop.
I couldn’t believe that the tall, slim young woman in front of me was the same short, pudgy girl who had moved away two years ago. She was beautiful!
I jumped out of the car and grabbed her in a giant hug. We hugged and jumped around, screaming with happiness to be together again. “You’re so tall!” We both said, then giggled. Great minds think alike.
Where Michele had always been shorter than me and round, I had always been tall and skinny. Now we were both the same height and about the same weight. We looked each other up and down, noticing we’d both developed into young women. She had let her brown hair grow, and it hung down her back in a shiny cascade. Mine was still red and curly. I had let it grow long while we were in Mexico. It was a little harder to take care of, but I liked the way it looked. We sat down on a porch step to catch up, while my parents visited with hers.
She was in a High School for gifted students and had a crush on a boy in her math class. I told her about homeschooling and how much fun it was to live history instead of just studying about it from a stuffy old book. I shared some adventures with her. She could not believe someone had almost kidnapped me and we had been driving around Mexico with diamonds in our hubcap. Her face went white when I told her the kidnappers had drugged me and that Grainne had saved me. Grainne nudged me. I had forgotten to introduce her to Michele!
“Iz you ashamed ob me? Why you notz tell your friend about me?”
“Oh Michele, I forgot to introduce you to Grainne. She is such a sweetie. That’s why she lay here quietly and didn’t interrupt us while we talked. Michele, this is Grainne. She is the best dog, and friend. I owe her my life. She takes care of me and makes sure I don’t overdo it and get one of my horrible headaches. She’s also my good friend. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
Michele put out her hand for Grainne to shake. Ever the diva, Grainne not only shook, but took a bow.
“Iz happy to meet ya. Iz think you priddy.”
I hadn’t told Michele that Grainne could talk yet, or that I could understand her. I figured that news could wait a little while.
“Michele, I promised Grainne she could play with Seamus when we got here. She has been so excited to meet him because I’ve told her so much about him. Could you let him out to play?”
We walked over to the side door that led into a fenced area of about an acre.
Michele got a glint in her eye. “There is something I didn’t tell you when we last talked. I have a surprise for you and Grainne.“
She opened the door. Grainne sat beside me, panting excitedly. She was finally going to get to play with Seamus! Seamus came out walking slowly. The only way I could tell he was happy to see me again was by his tail. It was wagging about a million miles a minute; it was going so fast that it was just a blur. Then I remembered that I used to call him “Flutter Butt” because his tail wagged so fast. Grainne was getting really excited. She could hardly sit still next to me.
Wait a minute! As Seamus walked towards us, a big puppy came out after him. Oh, my gosh! Michele had an Irish Wolfhound puppy! Seamus stopped walking periodically and gave the puppy gentle kisses. You could tell he was going to be a good big brother. When Michele saw the look on my face, she burst out laughing.
“I couldn’t tell you and ruin the surprise. After listening to you rave about how wonderful Grainne is, I asked my parents for a puppy for my thirteenth birthday present. This is him. His name is O’Màille.”