Another Granddog Joins The Family

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The newest granddog arrived last weekend. Mollie, a 2-pound, 8-week-old Maltese spaniel, at the moment is chewing on my shoe, which is on my foot. I am dog-sitting for daughter Abbie and boyfriend Colton while they run errands. The pocket doors in my study are closed to keep our four curious critters away. They would never intentionally hurt this white ball of fluff, but I’m not taking any chances. So, as I work, Mollie alternates between chewing on my shoe, which she’s too tiny to actually damage, chasing her toys around the study, or emitting random high-pitched barks. I move about cautiously in my swivel chair so I don’t step on her.

Mollie is just now getting her sea legs. Most of the time she hops from spot to spot. Her joints are still developing, so she walks as if she has imbibed several adult libations. Our wooden floors present a slippery challenge. She frequently performs a face plant, shakes it off and romps away anew. Soon she will collapse and snooze, awake and repeat the cycle. Eat, do her business outside, play, sleep. It’s a puppy’s life.

The world is indeed a scary, troubling place these days. Having a puppy around to hold, play with, and cuddle allows the world’s ills to recede for a time. Mollie exudes joy, curiosity and an unalloyed affection for pretty much everybody and everything she encounters.

We have no grandchildren, just granddogs. Zelda, a purebred mutt, and Miri, a Husky mix, live in Houston with daughter Mere and son-in-law Matt. Ernie, a Yorkie, hangs out in Tyler with daughter Kasey and son-in-law Jeff. All of them are well-loved members of the family and welcomed visitors. Sadly, we haven’t gotten to see those granddogs or their Food Suppliers since the pandemic hit. Mollie is the only pup with visitor’s privileges for the time being. Thus, she has been showered with toys, treats, attention and affection during her visits to our house.


According to the American Kennel Club, Maltese generally weigh less than 7 pounds as adults, don’t shed and respond well to rewards-based training. Hieroglyphics indicate ancient Egyptians believed the breed — which started in Malta, an island south of Sicily — had healing powers. The dog’s popularity spread throughout Europe and beyond through trading ships — had healing powers. Stick a Maltese puppy in the bed and, voila!, health was restored overnight. Queens of England loved Maltese dogs and treated them like royalty.

Another site, run by the ASPCA, notes the Maltese spaniel has been “the aristocrat of the dog world” for more than 28 centuries. Publius, the Roman governor of Malta in the 1st century AD, owned a famous Maltese named Issa. That furball was described as “frolicsome… purer than a dove’s kiss, gentler than a maiden… more precious than Indian gems.” Pliny the Elder wrote approvingly of the Maltese, using its Latin name, in his encyclopedic Natural History, also in the first century AD.

Women in the 1500s were fond of carrying Maltese dogs in their bosoms or their sleeves, according to the ASPCA. Mollie spends a lot of travel time in Abbie’s purse. The famed botanist Linnaeus referred to Maltese as being “about the size of squirrels.” We have squirrels in our yard that outweigh Mollie two-to-one.


Mollie quickly wore herself out and fell asleep next to my shoes after I relented and shed them. At least for a time, the world seems a little brighter this morning with this gentle creature sleeping beneath me. Like our own critters — two dogs, two cats, all rescue pets — she has won the pet-owner lottery. I look forward to years of dog-sitting the latest granddog — and to a time when we can visit Miri, Zelda and Ernie— and their Food Suppliers.

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