Jolly Molly

Since the last update, Molly has been doing very well...

Molly, our little gorgeous, has indeed come a long way!
About 3 weeks ago, with a leash, I managed to coax Molly to walk out of the kitchen area and slowly into the front garden where she touched grass for the first time since her rescue. She sniffed at every corner of the garden, joined her furry friends in the house, and shared the big doggie mattress with Doris the Labrador. She was also very agile when she jumped onto the couch and chilled out with Cookie the golden retriever. Her foster parents had a very pleasant surprise when they came home to Molly coming out from the house with me in tow to say 'hello'. That day, for the very first time, Molly's foster dad managed to pat her (Molly is rather wary of males, probably due to previous bad experiences). From that day onwards, Molly was put on a long cable leash, allowing her access to the house, front porch and garden.
Molly's first walk in the foster's garden
On my second visit that week, under cloudy skies, I managed to bring Molly out for a walk. She was initially a little hesitant about going out but once she was out, she was walking happily next to me on threes. Considering she was a stray, Molly was surprisingly good at walking on a leash; she didn't pull at all. She favoured walking on my left and would follow my cues with just a gentle tug on the leash. When we headed back to the house, Molly resisted going through the gate, so I had to pull her in. But once she entered the compound, Molly was fine again. 
Molly's very first bath!

Look at that cute grumpy face after her first bath!

I decided to try walking her again after a half-hour interval, and this time, she did not resist going back home. On the day of the vet visit, I went earlier to walk her and had a chance to chat with her foster mom, Ann, about her progress. According to Ann, Molly has integrated very well with the other dogs, sharing beds with them and eating alongside each other at mealtimes. While the other dogs rushed out to bark at disturbances, Molly would do the reverse, heading back into the house for security. As always, her appetite was very good and she loved all food except apples and bananas. Both Ann and her daughter had no problems patting her at all.

Molly loves being brushed

Loves having her ears cleaned. All first time experiences for this little darling

Nice and clean. Dozing off

I brought Molly for a longer walk this time and she began running a bit. I actually had to run to keep pace with her. That was pretty impressive progress for a three-legged dog. On our way back, Molly was a little tired and stopped to lie down a couple of times before we reached home. Soon it was time to bring her to the vet... We had a van to transport her but as the van was too high for her to leap into with 3 legs, we tried putting a ramp for her to walk up but the incline was too steep for her. I had no choice but to carry her (for the first time) and dear Molly didn't resist much, allowing me to carry her onto the van. I sat with her on the way to the vet with her resting her paw on my foot and when we were nearing, she hid behind me, perhaps for security.

Leslie trying to coax Molly into the van.
Arriving at the vet

However, upon arrival, once the door was opened, Molly happily jumped down without any difficulty and was soon checking out the surroundings. She seemed to have no traumatic memories of the vet clinic at all and went into the clinic with no resistance. Everyone including volunteers and Molly's vet were surprised at her progress, saying she was like a different dog. The vet jokingly asked if this was the same Molly she saw as Molly was snappy and unfriendly when we first rescued her.

Her wound has healed well. She has obviously given birth on the streets previously and will be sterilized when she has put on more weight and cured of her heartworm.
A lot more comfortable with the human touch now
Molly made herself at home on the long bench, enjoying pats from everyone. Her vet review was positive: she had put on 2kgs, her wound had completely healed, she had her second vaccination and her second dosage of heartgard was due. As poor Molly has heartworms, she needs to be on heartgard medication to prepare her body for the actual injection to kill all the worms. The vet also said that Molly shouldn't run at all as any over-exertion could trigger a heart attack... So from now on, Molly can only go for short walks which do not put any stress on her heart. On the way home, Molly discovered the window in the van and was happily standing on threes and enjoying the sights, with me ready to catch her if she fell. The first thing the darling girl did when she reached home was to jump onto the couch and have a snooze :)

Molly and Leslie waiting to see Dr Raj
A couple of days after visiting the vet, I gave Molly her very first bath! The sweetheart was really good! She didn't mind the lathering and scrubbing at all, although she was definitely not a fan of the scoop bath. She tried to move away from the splash of water but never really struggled much. After the rinse, as I was reaching for the towel, Molly immediately went to hide under the table with Jack, the other retriever, giving me accusing looks but she eventually came to me when I tugged at her cable leash gently. After towelling dry, came Molly's favourite... the grooming! She laid down and let me brush her all over and had her ears cleaned with wipes followed by cotton buds. Then it was back to her favourite pastime, chilling on the couch!

Molly now comes to me when I call her. She loves it when I stroke her head and scratch her cheek. I gave her a big fat kiss on her nose recently, catching her by surprise but from her expression, not an unpleasant surprise. As her 'god mom' (that's what Ann calls me), nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing the progress Molly has made... she no longer wears a frown or worried look, she really seems contented and happy, and she is getting used to being a part of a family unit instead of being a lone stray. After the complete cure of the heartworms, her future will only grow brighter.

Story and photographs by Leslie Kok

Note from Fiona : Working with street dogs is very different from working with a rescued pet dog. With street dogs, often it takes months of patience, persistence and building trust as the dog is not used to being touched by a human and may have possibly been abused. These rescued dogs have no idea what a hug is, or what love is and rehabilitating them takes months, sometimes even years.

I thank Leslie for working with Molly, visiting her so regularly since her rescue, persisting and gaining Molly's trust, despite being snapped at countless times. The risks have finally paid off! Molly is more trusting of humans now, comfortable with being touched and happy with life.

Thank you Ann and family for loving Molly the way you have, despite your fear of being snapped at, you never gave up and you didn't return her to us!

Molly is a changed dog because of all the love and patience she has experienced in the past 2 months. This is what HOPE is all about and this is what keeps us going. Thank you to all our friends and fellow dog lovers for your generous support, contributing to our work and allowing us to touch and change more lives.