A Lesson from Mollie


Mollie (Photo © Joseph Hesch)

In our old days, driving southwest on I-88
somewhere between Albany and Oneonta,
my dozing young retriever Mollie would jerk
to wakefulness and jam her nose through
the gap in the passenger side window.

You’d hear her snort-snuff-snort
and see her body quiver all electric
in excitement over something I couldn’t see –
more than if she’d inhaled the arresting aroma
of a maverick hamburger a little kid dropped.

My Golden girl had picked up the pungency
of hamburger on the muck-caked hoof, though –
a dairy farm just behind the roadside trees.
With Mollie, it’s always scents before sights,
her canine early-warning system.

Yesterday Mollie snort-snuff-snorted
along a scent trail in our backyard head-first
into the chain link fence and then
into its fencepost. In her slowed-down age,
scents before sight had new meaning.

I never had such seeming prescient sagacity
with which I could sniff out upcoming instance.
Instead, I too-often raced headlong into
cowpies of woe on my way to I-knew-not-where.
Mollie and I have slowed down to sniff out more life.

Scents before sights, Joe.
Sense before sight.

20 thoughts on “A Lesson from Mollie

  1. What a message of life!!!!……Simply superb last lines: “Scents before sights, Joe./ Sense before sight.” Wish I too imbibe this sagacious knowledge from learned friend!!

  2. With age so many things change — the youthful exuberance replaced by certain caution and perhaps a bit of learned cynicism. How I yearn to go back to those wind-blown days when all seemed new, all seemed possible. Beautifully captured, Joe. We can learn much from our canine and feline friends.

  3. Enjoy her as long as you can, Joe; every moment is a blessing. We lost our Taffy a decade ago. She was 13, a Sheltie/Cocker–And almost every day I miss her. Your piece mists me up, and kicks open the door in my heart marked “Canine-love”.

  4. sounds like that is a good slowing down…not letting our eyes lead us where they will…but using our other senses as well…might save us from a few of those cow pie moments…smiles. my cat teaches me much as well…

  5. Joe great job! You bring the reader along with you on your life’s journey. Getting older
    does so change what we can do ~ hopefully
    everyone has such a loving pet named Mollie!

  6. We have much to learn from our canine companions. Mollie is wise, has much sense and you have sense and talent. Really enjoyed reading this.

  7. What a sweet photo of Mollie! And a genuine sentiment that anyone who has ever loved and cared for a senior dog can relate to. Our four-paws teach us to slow down and observe life. Thank you for sharing. Love and blessings to both of you.

  8. As you can imagine, Joe, this resonates with me. But, more than that, it has a keen perspective on how our four legged friends can teach us a thing or two about the obvious, we so often overlook. As ever, I like the story.

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