Molly the miracle dog finds new mission in life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2012

I recently was invited to the celebration of a miracle that began unfolding over a year ago.
The celebration at Ryan’s steakhouse was in honor of everyone involved with the journey of Molly, a beautiful white service dog, in finding her new master, Charles Henries. Charles, a blind veteran, lives in Spencer and is otherwise known as Stillwater. While it may take a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to place a service dog with just the right companion.
In early fall of 2010, Molly was seen rummaging through garbage cans in a neighborhood just off Cool Springs Road. Freda Snyder lives on Baker Mill Road and was one of the first people to see her. After about two months of not being able to catch her, one day Freda’s son and daughter, Josh and Whitney, mentioned they thought Molly had lost weight and wondered if she’d had puppies. Freda’s dad had seen her going into the woods, so following Molly with a four-wheeler soon led to the discovery of her puppies in an old abandoned well house.
A friend of Freda, Pam Horne, knew if the puppies weren’t held soon, they would become wild. Distracting Molly with hot dogs, they were successful in getting to the puppies on the third day. Freda crawled inside the well house while Pam fed Molly. A week later, Freda, sitting on the ground holding a puppy, saw Molly coming toward her. She wasn’t sure what would happen next but bravely put out her hand. That was the turning point. Molly leaned in for affection and from then on didn’t mind anyone holding her puppies.
When the puppies were old enough for adoption, Freda kept two while the other six went to different families. Renae and Steve Kluttz, a foster family, took Molly in hopes that someone would eventually adopt her permanently. They loved Molly unconditionally, and after a year with no one adopting her, thought of keeping her as their own. That’s when fate entered the picture.
One day Shelley DiDonato, a volunteer at Faithful Friends Rescue Shelter, received a request from a blind man for a service dog. Shelley knew Renae and Steve and thought of Molly. No one was sure if she was the answer, but soon after that request, Molly was taken to Stillwater’s house for a visit. When Molly laid her head on Stillwater’s feet, everyone knew she had found a home.
After the paperwork was signed, Glenn Sherrill of Train, Play, Live Dog Training helped prepare Molly for her new role as service dog. It wasn’t long before Stillwater was seen in his motorized wheelchair with Molly by his side, going places in Spencer such as Calvary Lutheran Church. A pew at the front of the church accommodates wheelchairs, so Molly and Stillwater on many Sundays are surrounded by children sitting on the floor during the children’s sermon. Molly’s so well-behaved, she often listens to the lesson with her paws crossed in front of her.
“She’s now part of our church family,” Rev. Carrie Bishop was quick to share.
The celebration ended with photographs and Glenn thanking everyone for coming. He praised Molly and said, “Training Molly to be a service dog was easy because her personality and Stillwater’s are so much alike. Both have easy-going, calm personalities.”
Freda, Josh and Whitney can testify that Molly’s personality wasn’t easy-going and calm when she was roaming the neighborhood rummaging in the garbage cans. Yet, watching Molly work that night at Ryan’s, it was obvious she had learned her lessons well. It’s amazing what discipline, love and attention can do for a dog. Come to think of it, that’s true for humans too.
Now that’s what I’m talking about, a true miracle, inside and out.
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Dicy McCullough’s latest book, “Tired of Being Different,” is available at local bookstores, and Barnes & Noble. Contact her at 704-278-4377.