For Your Mom

By Audrey Hines McGill

We found Molly trembling and shaking with fear on a sunny weekday afternoon about 17 years ago. Dad and I were walking through the local animal shelter looking for a dog.

“For your mom,” he had told me. Now, never in my life had I heard my mom mention that she even wanted a dog, but I happily went along anyway. After all, I was a teenage girl who loved animals. While growing up, a puppy never failed to top my Christmas wish list every year.

Molly was not exactly what I had in mind when visions of my future pet would dance around in my head. She didn’t resemble any type of breed and was a tiny thing. Patches of her gray and scraggly fur were missing due to a bad case of mange and flea bites. But one look into her sweet, big brown eyes, her hopeful tail slightly wagging, and her tentative nuzzling of my fingers through her pen was all it took for me to fall in love. I yelled for my dad to come take a look at “this one.” He had been a few enclosures down from me, looking interested in a slightly bigger, white, shaggy dog.

But the moment he saw Molly, he didn’t even hesitate as he told me, “That’s her! That’s our new dog!”

Dad was instantly enamored and eager to make sure nobody else could adopt her before we could. I still have memories of his blissful look while holding her as he filled out the adoption paperwork.

Now my mom’s first reaction to Molly was slightly different. I remember her walking through our front door after picking up our new pet from the shelter with a slight look of disdain and confusion.

Holding Molly in her arms as far away from her body as she could, she had asked me, “This is the dog you picked? I was thinking more along the lines of a white Westie.”

And as Mom set her down on the floor, Molly promptly squatted and relieved herself. Yes, Molly had a sense of humor about Mom right away. But I had faith that Mom would grow to love her just as much as my dad and I did. And Mom soon grew to love her, but from the start, Molly was my dad’s dog. Molly would follow Dad around everywhere. Soon, a strong companionship between my dad and Molly formed.

And I don’t remember the exact moment it happened, but Molly grew to be more than just a pet; she had become an irreplaceable part of our family. Molly comforted me through some of my hardest times. Whether it was teenage angst, heartbreaking breakups or drama from friendships, Molly was always there through those times of pain and confusion. When my brother and I went off to college, Molly stayed behind to help my parents’ nest not feel quite so empty.

Then one day Dad grew very sick and was eventually diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. If Molly and my dad had been inseparable before, she then never left his side. She would look for him anytime he left the room. She would jump in his lap when he would sit on the couch and lie under his bed when he would rest. Molly was with Dad when he passed away. She curled up next to him and wouldn’t leave his side until she finally had to be picked up so Dad could be laid to rest. For a long while afterward, she would look around the house for Dad, always waiting by the door for her daily walks he would take with her. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, eventually Molly stopped looking for Dad everywhere, and Mom became her sunshine, just as Molly had become hers.

Close to ten years have passed since my dad has been gone, and through them all she has given comfort through my mom’s grief and eased her loneliness. She’s helped Mom heal from an unimaginable pain. Molly has graced the lives of both of my children and is the light of my six year old son’s life. As time has marched on, Molly’s fur has become grayer and her steps have slowed due to arthritis. She can no longer see and hear, but her offerings of love, affection and companionship remain limitless. And whenever I go home for a visit and hear my mom’s laugh and see my mom smile, I hear my dad’s laugh and I see my dad’s smile and hear Dad whispering to me, “For your mom”.

About this writer

  • Audrey Hines McGill Audrey Hines McGill is a contributing writer and West Coast Expat currently living in Northern Virginia. She is writing her way through life alongside her tech geek husband and two very active and growing boys. She can be reached at

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3 Responses to “For Your Mom”

  1. The perfect example of man’s best friend. What a blessing Molly has been to your family!

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