September 16, 2014

The Joy of Owning Good Dogs

Good Dogs and Bad Dogs

There are good dogs like Gracie (Coffee Dog), who I wrote about here, and here. And there are good pigs like Sweet Pete, who I mentioned here. And then…there are dogs like Mollie.

The first post I ever wrote was about Mollie—more specifically, the trouble she caused. And then I wrote about her again to emphasize a point in a post regarding a quaint old saying—Eat Shit and Die.

But I have never actually gone into detail on Mollie or why she makes for such an interesting and often unpredictable day.


Many of the animals who find their way to our sanctuary were abused, mistreated, or abandoned. If they behaved badly, I could find it in my heart to forgive them. But they don’t. They are almost always grateful and loving.

Mollie came here a little more than 10 years ago. She wasn’t abused, nor abandoned. She was the result of the bad behavior of one of our other “troublesome” members—Bear. I have a book coming out about Bear soon, so I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say Mollie was not a result of a “planned parenthood” type of arrangement, and the neighbor whose dog Bear “ruined” insisted that I select one of his offspring.


Mollie looks nothing like Bear, as you can see from the pictures. But somehow she seems to have inherited all of his DNA. I know that’s not possible, but she did. Trust me. And one trait more than any other that she “assumed” was Bear’s distrust and dislike for strangers.

When I say strangers, I don’t just mean people. Mollie won’t tolerate new dogs, coyotes, wild pigs, deer…she even goes after the herons who come to feast at our pond. But people seem to hold a special place in her heart, and delivery drivers sit at the top of her list. She has bitten Fed-Ex drivers, postal workers, vets, and her favorite—UPS drivers. One time she escaped and chased down the UPS truck and jumped up into it while it was going down the drive. All in a misguided attempt to bite the driver.

Everyone Needs A Guard Dog

I know what many of you might be thinking—that a good guard dog is nice. It makes you feel safe, protected. That’s true. I won’t deny it. But…there is a problem with Mollie and her mutated genes. She not only wants to bite the strangers, she is so passionate about it, that she will bite anyone who is in her way.

I take that back. Somehow my granddaughter, Adalina, has earned immunity. I don’t know how, but she has. Adalina can tug on Mollie, pull her hair, fall on her, use her as a crutch when walking…it doesn’t matter. Mollie never so much as looks sideways at her. However…if anyone else is in the way of Mollie wanting to bite someone—she will bite that person. Even when that person is me. I have learned this the hard way.

Last week, a stranger dared to get lost. She pulled into our driveway and started up our sidewalk. Foolishly, I opened the back door and tried to sneak out to greet her. The image below shows the result. And this was through long pants.

And just so there is no confusion about intent. This is the third time Mollie has done this.

Getting Back To Genetics

The amazing thing is that Mollie has developed this habit—which is identical to Bear’s habit—all on her own. Bear lives with my son a few blocks away. He has visited Mollie, but he hasn’t been here to raise her. Somehow, that wonderful trait has found its way through the gene pool and into sweet Mollie all by itself. Below is a picture of Bear next to Mollie.

Bottom Line

I know that some of you might think that it’s terrible to keep a dog that bites. But we keep every animal on the sanctuary. None of our “family” is put down unless their time has come. And in so many ways, Mollie is a gentle soul.

I mentioned how good she is with Adalina. But she is also wonderful with the pigs. Even when they were small she never tried hurting them. She is also amazing with my niece, who often visits. And she is exactly what I need some nights to kickstart a laugh. What more could I wish for?

If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

2 Responses to “The Joy of Owning Good Dogs”

  1. Good Lord! Now that’s a chomp. I hope it’s healing.

    I’ve only been bitten twice in my life. Once just recently when Maggie mistook me for Nana. And once many years ago when I was a vet tech. There was a little dog boarding at the kennel who hated children.

    Apparently I was small enough to pass for a child.

    I agree with you though. No matter how incorrigible, we keep our dogs.

  2. Maria, despite their bad habits sometimes, they also have a lot of love. Oddly enough, I’ve found that the troublemakers can also be the most lovable.

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