Six Months of Molly (Finally Throwing a Bone to the Non-Football Readers)

[Editor’s Note: To my non-football fan readers, I realize there have been eight consecutive football-related blog posts over the past three weeks and not a single non-football post. I’m not going to say I’m sorry because I’m really not. I guess I’ll just say “I warned you.” Right now there are only four things I do with my life on a daily basis: watch/read about football, watch a ton of TV, do my school work and take care of my dog. I will probably never write about my school work because it’s just as boring as it sounds. That leaves three topics of expertise, and obviously one of them has been dominating the blog. But today for all the non-football fans out there, I’m giving you a dog post. And if you don’t like football or dogs, then you should probably never click on this blog again.]

So Molly probably turned six months old today! (probably because the insane woman we adopted her from probably pulled a birthdate out of her ass just because we were asking)

In dog years, that means Molly is about three-and-a-half years old. So if she was human, she’d be watching a lot of cartoons, starting to read Dr. Seuss books, probably playing with dolls (or more likely action figures of Boston athletes) and talking a lot (honestly, I have no idea what a three-year-old human does all day long…school? sleeping and eating just like an infant? no idea whatsoever). But she’s not a human. And no matter how many times I think it’s about to happen, she can’t talk to us. So we’re forced to guess what she actually likes and what she’s thinking at any given moment. Her daily routine goes something like this: wake up at 8AM, go out to the bathroom, mill around the apartment looking for a toy to play with for about 30 minutes, eat breakfast, sleep for at least two hours immediately after breakfast, go for a 30-minute walk, annoy me for two hours from about 12PM to 2PM, sleep in the crate because I want her out of my way, play time at the dog park from 3:30PM to 5PM, sleep from whenever we get home from the dog park until she hears us pouring her dinner into her bowl, outside again for the bathroom, 30 minute hyper mode where she almost runs through our sliding glass door, fall asleep by 10PM, sleep for 10 hours.

Sounds simple, easy and predictable right? But there’s so much more going on every day, so let’s take you through only the most interesting parts of Molly at the six month mark:

-Maybe the most interesting thing is her size. When I posted a status update on Molly after we had her for one month, she was 36lbs. That was just over two months ago. She now weighs an alarming 66lbs. At her current growth rate of 15lbs per month, she’ll be over 200lbs by next July. She’ll also be about seven feet tall.

-In the first blog post about us adopting Molly, I joked about the number of times we had wanted to take her to the vet for every little thing that seemed wrong (she didn’t eat all her food, her poop was weird, she looked at me funny). Except it really wasn’t a joke. Now the pendulum’s swung the other way, and it would probably take a bunch of things happening at once for us to be alarmed. She can throw up all she wants now, but I’m not springing into action unless she’s vomiting, breathing funny, walking with a significant limp and bleeding out of her eyes all at once.

-The thing I’m most confused about with Molly has to do with her ability to sleep through some noises but not others. For example, we took her camping for the first time last weekend, and we timed it just perfectly to have to sleep in a tent for two straight nights during torrential downpours. Now you’d think a puppy who’s never experienced camping, sleeping in a tent or even rain for that matter would probably wake up throughout the night and wonder what the hell was going on around her. There were moments when the wind was blowing so hard that our tent was actually starting to cave in on certain sides. And yet this puppy never once woke up during any of it. But then on the other side of the coin, let’s say she’s taking a nap on the couch, and I’m in the kitchen 30 feet away. If I so much as touch one of her bags of treats and it makes a crinkling sound, her head pops up, her ears get erect and she’s immediately locked in on my every movement. The ability to listen for something food-related while she sleeps is just remarkable to me.

-Like I said earlier, since she can’t communicate with words we can only guess her favorite and least favorite things in life. After this past weekend, I’m willing to bet her favorite discovery in life so far is mud:

-And though we don’t have a picture to show for it, I’m certain her least favorite thing in life is going outside to the bathroom at night after she’s already been asleep for a while. If she falls asleep at 9PM and we don’t go to bed until 11, we’ll take her out right before we go to bed. It’s not just that she’s reluctant to go downstairs at this time, it’s that she literally tries to hide in every “safe spot” of the apartment as soon as she sees one of us get the leash ready…behind the couch, on the couch, under the table, in our bedroom, on our bed and even in her crate. She will try out every one of those spots in rapid succession in the hopes that either we won’t find her or that we’ll understand just how badly she doesn’t wanna go anywhere at that particular moment.

-As an unemployed writer raising a dog, you can bet that I’ve been trying to think of different dog-related money-generating schemes since we got Molly. I briefly thought about turning her into a show dog or breeding her, but those options seemed like more work than I was willing to put in. With the amount of people, particularly women, who stop me on the streets to pet Molly and say how cute she is, I thought about starting a service where I rent Molly out by the hour to guys who wanted a conversation starter with random women. But I quickly realized I’d be single the moment Julie found out about it. But Julie’s actually the one who turned me on to my best money-generating idea yet: Black Market Poop Bags (or “BM Bags” for short). Our apartment complex provides free bags at all the exits for dog poop. Usually I grab about 15 at a time and stuff them into my pockets so we never run into a situation where we actually have to pay for these. The other day Julie called me out on being a Poop Bag Hoarder, and I couldn’t agree with her more. So why not capitalize on it? A quick google search shows me that a roll of 400 bags sells for about $40 (10 cents per bag). But I could come in and undercut even the best prices because the raw materials, labor and manufacturing cost me exactly $0.00. My only expenses would be the time it takes me to put all the bags into a larger packaging bag, the cost of the actual packaging bag (though I’m sure I could find a way to just steal a bunch of grocery bags or something), and shipping. What could possibly stop Ross’s BM Bags from being a hit? As far as the legality of it all, I dunno, but I’ll be spending time over Christmas with an accountant and a lawyer who know how to make these things work.

-On a serious note, you remember the “octagon” that we use when Molly’s really acting up? That playpen/gate device we put her in until she calms down? By some act of god, we don’t have to use it anymore. We haven’t used it in probably five or six weeks because suddenly Molly doesn’t go through those terrible behavior moments anymore. What’s our secret? We bring Molly to a dog park almost every day and let her get her ass kicked by a bunch of big, aggressive dogs. We realized if Molly spends one hour a day literally running and fighting for her life, she’s much more likely to chill out at home.

-And finally, I’d like to share something about parenting that I never understood until now: The second and third children always turn out better than the first because of the guinea pig factor. I know the next time we get a dog, whether it’s one year or 12 years from now, we will be better prepared to raise a dog and teach it right from wrong. This is not unlike parents raising a human child…that first kid is always the guinea pig, always the child that causes parents to say, “Well, we fucked that up, but now we know for the next kid how to do it.” The first kid is an experiment, and if he happens to grow up and doesn’t become a serial killer, that’s just a bonus. Kids two, three and beyond are where your perfect parenting techniques really shine.

On that note, I need to run…gotta get Molly back to the shelter so we can get going with dog number two.

1-Month Check-In on Molly: She’s a Temperamental Bitch

We’ve had our puppy Molly for about a month, and there’s been some great successes and even greater failures in our efforts to raise her properly. It seems like a good point to check in and see how she’s grown, both physically and mentally, under our negligent eyes.

Vitals: She’s alive, a tad surprising in my opinion.

Weight: One month ago she was 23lbs. She’s now 36lbs. At this rate, she’ll be cruising past 100lbs in less than five months.

**The reason why her current weight is a bit shocking to us is because we were initially told she was born on April 9th, which would make her five months old now. Turns out she was actually born on May 20th, making her not even four months old yet. I just can’t fathom how large of a dog the mother must have been to be carrying around five or six of these beasts in her belly.**

Sex: Still female. She really is my little bitch.

Number of Nipples: Eight

Most Surprising Nuance: Apparently a dog’s body temperature is typically a few degrees warmer than a human’s. You’d think this would make dogs handle cool weather better, and cause them to dislike the heat. Not Molly. She’s taken on the roll of a stereotypical Southern California girl from the beginning, hating any weather below 75 degrees. If it’s even as “low” as 72 degrees in our apartment, she’ll go out on the porch and find the one sliver of sunlight to lay in. Other than Julie, Molly’s the only living creature I know that would embrace a fleece blanket during the LA Summer:

Most Mind-Boggling Tendency: Do I have to narrow it down to just one? Is it when she chases her tail around in a circle so violently until she passes out from dizziness (even though her tail is long enough that she can catch it without having to even turn her head)? Is it when she has a full bowl of food but refuses to eat unless her food pellets are in one of those balls that dispenses the food as she turns it over and over? Is it her tendency to give herself multiple concussions whenever we take her for a walk because she refuses to walk in a straight line and ends up bashing her head against our knees over and over? No, it’s none of these. It’s this: Molly presumably likes sleeping in her crate. She sleeps there every night for at least seven hours. Sometimes when she naps during the day, she’ll go lay down in the crate without any coaxing from us. But if she falls asleep outside of the crate—even if she’s so exhausted because I made her run the equivalent of a half marathon to tire her out—and I try to wake her up and gently give her a push into the crate, she reacts like the crate is on fire. She’d rather risk an impatient Ross physically abusing her than be pressured into getting in the crate.

Honorable Mention for Most Mind-Boggling Tendency: When we take her for walks, she sometimes has to stop and sniff EVERYTHING. And depending on how terrible she feels like being, she might decide to pickup and chew on EVERYTHING. Somehow no matter how close I come to permanently paralyzing her by tugging on the leash every time she stops, she won’t have it any other way. Every leaf, piece of bark mulch, tiny ant or bug, and of course any trash…it’s just all so interesting!

Funniest Thing She Does That’s Totally Innocent: With a giant bowl available for her to eat food out of, she usually decides to take a mouthful out of the bowl, transport it to the carpet, drop it, and then eat the pieces one by one.

Funniest Thing She Does That’s NOT Totally Innocent: We’ve been trying to reinforce her good urination habits by giving her a treat whenever she goes outside in the right place. It took about a week for us to realize she didn’t actually have a urinary tract infection…no, she was purposely letting out little amounts of pee at a time so she could go more frequently and get more treats. I’m not at all surprised that a three-month-old puppy outsmarted me from the start.

Most Frustrating Thing She Does That Makes Me Question Whether She Has a Brain or Not: She has no fewer than 12 toys and almost always has access to a bone/knuckle/rawhide thing to chew on (things that would seem most appealing for a puppy to chew on), yet there’s a continuing need to chew on everything in the apartment that’s supposed to be off limits: her metal crate, our patio furniture, the couch, the gas line from the propane tank to the grill burners, and the corner of our sliding glass door.

Proud Parents Moment of the Month: When we took her to a river for the first time and she didn’t hesitate one second before getting in the water (wish I had a better picture, but I promise she did jump all the way in):

Reason Julie Would Consider Giving Molly Back to the Shelter: Molly refuses to “come up” on the couch and cuddle at the exact moments that Julie wants her to…which is basically every moment Julie’s awake.

Reason Ross Would Consider Giving Molly Back to the Shelter: Well, she doesn’t seem like a very good guard dog yet, kind of a wimp in my opinion. But more importantly, she doesn’t seem to be able to learn that when I’m watching football, she needs to be totally self-sufficient for three hours. I’m talking feed herself, fill up her own water bowl, take herself out for a walk. Hopefully at the two-month mark I can report good news on this front.