I don’t believe in fate.
I don’t believe in destiny.
But I do believe in Molly.
And this is why I have to question my views on fate and destiny.
Let me explain.
Molly is my rescue dog, a terrier mix, weighing in at about 12 pounds, every ounce of which is charged with supernatural energy, energy powerful enough to turn the world aglow in its darkest hour.
About two years ago, Molly stood a day or two from death, one of many dogs that for one reason or another can be found at high-kill shelters in Louisiana. Fortunately, organizations exist that come to the aid of these poor pups. Puppy Love is one of them. Puppy Love rescues dogs headed for euthanasia and transports them more than 1,500 miles across the country to Maine where households — after passing a comprehensive screening process — adopt the displaced canines.
That’s how we found Molly. “We” is my wife and me. In fact, my wife is the one who initiated and devoted the many hours necessary to satisfy Puppy Love’s demanding adoption requirements. I stayed in the background — in retrospect, my role in the process could best be described as “detached boob.”
Despite my remoteness, my wife somehow saw reason to consult me in selecting the new dog (We had recently lost our old dog, our beloved Button, a dog of such magnificence that I cannot begin to describe the pain of losing her) to become a companion for Rondo, our long-haired miniature dachshund.
And this where fate and destiny enter the picture.
Puppy Love posts a digital lineup of its available canines, basically a profile with a brief description of the dog. Molly looked at me from the postage-stamp image on the computer. I mean she LOOKED at me. It was Harry Potter-ish, straight out of Hogwarts — a magical moment. What attracted her to me? That, too, is a mystical mystery. But make no mistake, a connection took place.
“I like this one,” I said, pointing at Molly, who at the time had the pre-adoption name Lolly.
From this point on, I became a more active partner in the adoptive process, including a willingness to read the Puppy Love literature on how to manage what it described as the often-challenging process of integrating an abandoned canine into a household.
I remember Puppy Love’s advice. The adoption agency recommended playing it cool with the adopted dog, giving it time to adjust to its new surroundings, and realizing the dog is likely to have bumps and rough stretches during its transition.
No doubt this advice serves many adoption families well. But for us, this wisdom proved to be irrelevant — utterly irrelevant. Adjustment process? Bumps and rough stretches? Molly would have none of that. The moment she saw us, she knew: Her family had come to claim her at last. My wife and I felt the same, not that we could explain the reason. All we knew is this was our dog. It was meant to be our dog. Our understanding, our conviction, was purely visceral, something deep within the soul.
My wife says seeing Molly for the first time in the flesh ranks among the most vivid memories in her life. I can say the same. We picked her up at a Puppy Love volunteer’s house about a 90-minute drive from where we live. We came equipped with a large crate for Molly — recommended by Puppy Love, apparently to make the dog feel more secure in her new world. Molly did not care for the crate. She wanted to be with us. We felt the same. Before we were half way home, Molly had gained her freedom. We never used the crate again.
A few days after Molly officially joined our family, I felt compelled to write Puppy Love to thank the organization for its role in bringing us this “magical gift.” Here is a portion of that letter (At that time, we had not yet switched to calling her Molly):
…Yes, we love her, and, remarkably, after less than a week in our humble household, Lolly has become a beloved part of our family — in fact, it seems she was meant to be a part of our family, a missing puzzle piece that brings a completeness, a wondrous wholeness to our home.
Today, nearly two years later, the idea of Molly not being part of our family seems absurd. Is that fate? Is that destiny? My intellectual side, stubborn as always, continues to fight the notion. But my visceral center, my raw and emotional core, screams, “Yes.” A resounding “Yes.”
But, really, whether fate or destiny is involved is of no consequence. What is important, what truly matters, is that we have Molly and Molly has us.