Golly, Miss Molly
A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)
Did you know that a large dog can handle up to nine Benadryl a day for intense allergies? Of course, Molly weighs 130 pounds so she has plenty of girth to handle the heavy dose. Since she started tangling with the scrub oak, our medical instructions include the high dosage of Benadryl and an antibiotic. When William takes one Benadryl at night, it knocks him out. In the past when I suffered from allergies, I took one and slept for 18 hours.
Even drugged, Molly still manages to show up for a meal or at the sound of the treat canister sliding across the counter. She hangs her head low and raises those brown eyes, revealing blood-shot sclera (the white part of the eye—had to look that one up in Wikipedia).
Her ears droop and her tail sags as she swaggers back into the closet after a treat. If an animal displays an emotion, Molly’s mood resembles sadness and hurt from betrayal. She knows her food and treats taste differently and that we are responsible for the change. After every treat, lethargy sets in. Lifting her head or wagging her tail exceeds her physical limits.
If Molly is capable of showing sadness or hurt, then maybe dogs really do cry. Confused on the matter, I asked my husband. He used to raise Rhodesian Ridgebacks so I figured he knew the answer.
“Of course, they cry—just like people.”
“Have you ever seen a dog cry?” It sounded silly to ask. I felt confident his response would be “no” or laughter.
“Yes.” William went back to reading his notepad. He felt assured of his answer.
I remembered reading an article about a police dog that showed great emotion at the funeral for his Royal Canadian Mountie, who was shot and killed along with two other Mounties in the commission of their duties. The article said that Danny, the canine partner of one the Mounties, whimpered during the funeral. At the time, I dismissed it as Canadian sentimentality over the tragic deaths. (For the article and photos, click here.)
After watching Molly react to our medicating her and how she responds to William’s panic attacks, I am convinced that dogs do cry . . ., laugh . . ., get depressed . . ., and care deeply about the people they love. I suppose that is what makes a PTSD dog so helpful. The dog empathizes with the veteran, sharing his or her pain.
Since Molly came to stay with us, only twice has she shown distasteful, raw emotion. In both cases, she bared her teeth and growled at the man walking towards me. She would not let either man get near me even though I knew both of them and told her it was okay to visit. Perplexed by her emotional outbursts on these two occasions, we finally realized that the only thing both men shared in common was their name—George.
Whenever someone asks us if it is okay to approach Miss Molly, we tell them, “Sure, as long as your name isn’t George.”
Post your Comments:
What has your dog done to tell you he or she feels emotions? Please comment below.
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.