Written by Claire Prahm
Professional photography by Strike a Pose Photography
From uncertain beginnings…
Born in November 2014 as one of seven puppies in the litter, Molly had an unsettling start to her life. Tragedy struck when her mother was poisoned and died shortly after giving birth. This left the seven 3-week-old puppies alone and in a precarious position.
The puppies were taken to CLAW and FORA, who shared premises at the time. Both shelters were under great pressure from the sheer number of animals they’d recently taken in. They asked me if I could assist in hand-rearing the puppies, as they were too young to stay in the shelter by themselves without a mother.
I’d lost my spaniel, Phoebe, earlier in the month to cancer. I thought that taking care of these little puppies would help me process my grief by keeping me very busy. I ended up fostering Molly and four of her brothers, while the last two puppies were taken care of by Linda Scrace, the shelter manager of FORA.
At first, everything was fine, although I was worried about the little runt of the litter as he was terribly frail. The health of the little runt started to suddenly decline, and I sent him back to FORA/CLAW for immediate veterinary care. Over the next few days, to my absolute horror, the other puppies also started to show signs of illness. One after the other, they were sent back to the shelter to receive expert veterinary care. The puppies Linda was caring for started to show the same type of unusual symptoms, and we all became quite concerned. Unfortunately, all of Molly’s siblings succumbed to their illnesses, leaving her the only survivor. There was a suspicion that their mother may have also had distemper, which could have explained the bizarre combination of symptoms that these puppies presented with.
I agreed to continue fostering Molly, and, once she’d recovered from her illness, I went to collect her from CLAW/FORA on Christmas Eve. Just one look at her beautiful face and I knew I’d officially adopt her. This little puppy had grabbed at my heartstrings from the very first day that I fostered the litter. She would run, and wobble, to the side of the puppy enclosure to get to me when she saw me coming.
Unfortunately, Molly still had a rocky road ahead with her health. She became quite ill again, presenting with severe kennel cough and gastroenteritis. I had to inject her with antibiotics twice a day – another extremely nerve-racking experience. She was never able to eat puppy food and, instead, stayed on a specialised diet for the first six months of her life. I needed to give Molly fluids every two hours, and found it easier to keep her in my bed so I could monitor her throughout the night.
…To a joyful life
Once Molly had fully recovered, she grew into a very healthy, happy dog. She hasn’t experienced any further health concerns since then, and she’s now four years old. Molly’s sleeping arrangements stayed the same after I started putting her in my bed to watch her throughout the night. This tiny 1.4kg scrap grew into a 22kg dog that loves to spoon with me!
Molly loves to play with her four furry siblings, all of whom are also rescues. She loves going on walks, and her best thing is to cuddle with her mom! She follows me wherever I go and always finds a way to be in physical contact with me. Molly is the nurse of the family. If any of the dogs have a wound or are unwell, she licks and comforts them.
Molly is my rock, my heart, and my soul. We have an unbreakable bond, and my life is all the better for having her in it.
Watch Molly’s story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc0-vwJZKBM