I pulled into the driveway of the family farm late Sunday afternoon, and I could tell before I even parked the car in front of the garage that I didn’t want to step foot outside.
Oh, it was a beautiful day — certainly one to lure me to the solitude of the great outdoors. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the great outdoors with certain other critters, specifically, my Molly.
Molly — the loveable mutt that more resembles a black lab than the full-fledged German shepherd that was her mother — loves to put her front feet on the floor board when I open my car so she can get an affectionate pat on the top of her head, a tickle behind the ears and a nose-to-nose greeting.
Only I wasn’t about to give her an affectionate pat on the head, a tickle behind the ears — and certainly not a nose-to-nose greeting — this time. In fact, I didn’t want to be within arm’s reach of her.
The problem is sort of a Catch-22. In all honesty, Molly was being Wonder Dog again, saving me from the dangers that lurk in the newly mowed lawn — the kind of dangers that slither and hiss and cause me to scream with all of the power my lungs will allow.
Yes, Molly had killed another garter snake.
And she wasn’t done torturing it when I drove onto the yard.
To spare you the visions still clearly embedded in my memory, suffice it to say the deed was already done when I arrived. Molly had moved on to the “I’m just playing with it” stage.
She picked it up, whipped it from side to side, and then flipped it up in the air. (You can understand why I didn’t want to step out of the car. I could just see Molly losing her toothy grip on the reptile and flinging it in my direction — I shudder just thinking about it!)
She dropped the snake when I shut off the engine, and quickly made her way to the driver’s side door, waiting to greet me.
I looked at her. She looked at me. The door was closed. The window was closed. She wagged her tail. I cringed.
As expected, she put her feet in my car when the door opened, and she knew enough to back away when I said, “Molly, No!”
The poor girl. I felt really bad. She did the one thing I most admire her for — helping to control the farm’s snake population — and yet I couldn’t congratulate her properly. That would have required touching her and, well, she had snake germs — everywhere.
So, with my hands well out of Molly’s reach, I said, “Good girl, Molly! You are awesome!
“But I’m not letting you in the house.”