The Paper Tiger?


Martha:  Molly is a large dog, topping off at the high end of weight for female Labs.  At least I fervently hope she has topped off.  To avoid the risk of cardiac arrest, I have not added up the total cost of her high-end dog food and special organic, made-in-the-USA, ethically sourced dog treats my husband insists on getting for her.  Mind you, this is for a creature that will drink out of the toilet, pick up crap on the lawn (“crap” not being a euphemism here), eat rotten apples and lick the outside of the garbage can because, you know, she’s still hungry.

In any event, I digress.  Molly has a hair-trigger sense of danger, and when she is announcing the myriad threats she perceives in the world, the hair on her back stands up from neck to tail and her bark can shatter the sound barrier.  The problem is that these threats include cars passing by on the road, the vacuum cleaner running upstairs, rain dripping off the roof, school children playing outside during recess at the school a half mile down the road, or my iPhone ding indicating I have a text.dino-1581047_640

If you knock on my front door you would think we live with this …………..,

but if you had the audacity to just walk in, this is what you would find!


When we are outside in the yard or taking walks around the property, Molly frequently stands completely still, looks warily toward the woods, sniffs, and looks back at me for advice.  If she decides there is a real threat (which is often) she heads quickly back toward the house, leaving me to hobble with my cane through the ice and snow by myself.  I am well aware that there are bear, moose, bobcats and coydogs around, because I have seen and/or heard them.  So I am not completely oblivious, but frankly I would like to think that if one of them came out of the woods, Molly would at least make some attempt to protect me.

Molly:  Here’s the deal.  You humans think you are so smart, but when it comes to knowing what’s down in those woods, you should really follow my lead.  I can smell trouble a mile away, and some of the smells coming out of your woods are serious trouble, believe you me.  If you think I’m cowardly because I go back to a safe place, you are welcome to stay out there and wait to see what might be coming.  Maybe instead of teaching me to do amusing tricks, you should teach me to dial 9-1-1. Oh, and another thing:  I am not looking back at you for advice.  I’m looking to see if you are really foolish enough to just stand there waiting for trouble!

Martha:  Point taken, and I apologize.  It occurs to me that in life it is easy to interpret someone else’s actions as cowardly or foolish when we don’t take the time and energy to consider things from their point of view.  It is tempting to make fun of them and call them paper tigers, but it would make more sense to learn why they feel and act the way they do.  The world would be a better place, I’m sure.


©Martha Hurwitz, 2/18/20







The Eating Machine

ME: Other than knowing what they looked like, I knew almost nothing about Black Labs before I found myself owning one. Molly was a present for Mother’s Day, and that story can be found here. I might have preferred chocolates or flowers, but how could I resist these eyes?

Unbeknownst to me Labs are four-legged garbage disposals, and whether an item is edible or not is of no concern to them. They tend to be obsessed with food and eat with lightening speed. If she hadn’t already had a name, I would have called her “Hoover.”

Molly chewed and destroyed: slippers; a night light; brand new, Apple iPhone charge cord; light socket shell (which fortunately was not actually installed in a lamp); plastic water bottle from the recycling bin and the cover from a photo album she pulled off a shelf. These are the things we know about!

She also ate something that made her really sick. It might have been numerous semi-rotten apples that litter our yard, but who knows? She was lethargic, her ears were boiling hot and she threw up a big pile of something undefinable under my bed! Of course it was a day when our vet’s office was closed, so we had to drive over an hour to the closest animal emergency hospital. Several hours later the medical diagnosis was that she “ate something stupid.” For that I paid $600?

MOLLY: I can’t help it. It’s in my genes. It’s been proven by science that Labs have a gene mutation that causes us to be unable to recognize being full. And I was a puppy when I ate all that stupid stuff and now I just go for the ultra expensive dog food and treats that you so kindly provide me.

No, I do not have something in my mouth
and I was not planning to hide it under the bed!


©Martha Hurwitz, 2/13/20