We had wanted a dog since we moved out after the divorce, and we moved into our second rental with that in mind. But I think it was my brother who finally sealed the deal.
"I want a dog that doesn't jump," he proclaimed, at 4 years old. "And likes to cuddle, and she'll be named Molly."
"What if it's a boy dog?" I pointed out. I was 11.
He jutted out his little chin and said confidently. "She'll still be named Molly."
The Rescue Organization we visited was run by a woman named Lisa straight out of her home. It was overcrowded and loud, with a dozen happy balls of fur tramping over each other. She said she thought she had the perfect dog for us. I didn't quite know what she meant. I thought all dogs were perfect.
We sat on the floor while she put all the dogs in a back room behind the child-gate. Then she brought her out.
She was a mutt, distinctively part labrador, but her dusty brown coat had white flecks through it-- like a porcupine. She looked at us with big, sad brown eyes, and sniffed us. Her tail lifted in a slight wag, and she trotted over to the door and stared at it, almost as if to say "Take me home, please." And suddenly, I knew what the perfect dog meant.
Lisa told us she was only 2 years old, rescued from a kill-shelter in South Carolina. She had had multiple litters of puppies, but they had all been adopted. My brother and I decided she was ours right there, but we went back to the car alone. My mom said we weren't ready for a dog yet, and we had to think about it. Later, she would tell me that she already knew she was ours, too.
We visited three more times, and each time she seemed happier and happier. The third time, my mom signed the adoption papers.
On December 1st, she picked me up from my best-friend's pool party. At home, there was a plush dog bed and a basket of toys under a hand-drawn Welcome Home sign my brother and I had made. We drove to the shelter with a new leash and collar in hand.
My brother was right, we named her Molly. Somehow, it just fit.