12 February 2013


For the past several months, well meaning friends have suggested that I get a puppy before Lakota passed so that I wouldn’t have to spend any time alone. Whilst I appreciated the thought it just didn’t feel right to me. I had been the center of Koty's universe for over thirteen years. I couldn’t do anything that had any chance of diminishing his quality of life.

In retrospect I think if I had been going to get another husky puppy it would probably have been OK. Koty always seemed to respond to other huskies as though they were long lost pals whilst encounters with other breeds were generally met with indifference. Long ago I knew Koty would be my one and only husky. No other husky could ever take his place.

Though I wasn’t prepared to get a puppy whilst Koty was still with me, I did do internet research on the different dog breeds. I decided the Australian Shepard would be a good fit for me and my lifestyle. I knew a little about Aussie’s. When I was a kid I had an Aussie. I hunted around on the internet bookmarking different breeder and puppy sale sites but took it no further. I felt a little guilty doing that much.

Even though I knew Koty wouldn’t be with me much longer, that even if the Cushing’s Disease didn’t get him old age would. It still came as a painful shock to my system when he died. It really took the wind from beneath my wings. I didn’t really want to think about another dog. Learning of Koty’s passing, my sister Jane Ann wrote, “ Find your new Pookie as soon as possible. It really helps.” Pookie was my childhood Aussie’s nick name. It came from the Soupy Sales Show. Pookie was Soupy's lion puppet. My sister’s words gave me the push I needed. Or maybe it was the permission I needed.

Horses were my life growing up. I was taught that when your horse throws you, as they invariably will, you must dust yourself off and get right back in the saddle. I have found over the years that philosophy works on just about anything life throws at you. With that ingrained philosophy, and a push from my sister, I started looking in earnest for my new “Pookie”.

First I visited the puppy for sale directories. There were so many puppies all over the country. It was overwhelming. What I was able to determine from looking at these puppy photos was that I especially liked what they call a Black Tri-Color. My childhood dog had been a blue merle with blue eyes.

I talked to a number of breeders from various states. They were all kind and helpful. Their puppies adorable.  I know that puppies are shipped all over the world all the time with no apparent ill-effects. But, I wanted to be able to choose my puppy in real time not just from a photo. I found a breeder in Washington State with nice looking puppies that I could have driven to and very nearly did. I went so far as to tell the Washington breeder I would call her back to make arrangements to visit. But, something made me want to a little more looking. I ended up calling the Washington breeder to say I wouldn't be able to make it.

I couldn't get the idea of a Montana dog out of my mind. On Thursday I found Out West Aussie’s in Three Forks, Montana. On the Out West website was the photo an adorable, black tri-color girl.  Her markings were striking. The look in her eyes showed presence and poise. So bright and attentive. She looked like a keeper. I spoke with Kelly Cooke, the owner, and made plans to drive down to take a look on Saturday.  That same afternoon, whilst I was taking my regular afternoon nap, suddenly my eye lids flew open and the name Molly popped into my head. I have never known a Molly. I have absolutely no idea where the name came from. I did know that if the pup in Three Forks turned out to be “the one” her name was going to be Molly.

I asked my friend Faith to drive down to Three Forks with me. Faith is also the tried and true friend who came to help me pick Koty up off the side of the road and take him to the Flathead for cremation. As luck would have it Koty’s remains were ready Saturday morning so we picked him up and took him with us. Silly as it sounds, I think he liked being included. I know I liked that he was along.

The drive to Three Forks is a little over six hours from my place. When we got to the breeders the two pups I’d seen on the Out West Aussie site were freshly washed and frolicking in the house. When I first saw the puppy I thought “Cute dog. How nice.” I honestly didn’t feel anything. I was ambivalent, empty. After about ten minutes watching her puppy enthusiasm and reckless abandon, hallmark qualities of Lakota Sunrise, something inside of me shifted I was suddenly sure I had found my Molly.

Kelly graciously offered to put us up for the night. Molly slept with me on the bed. In the middle of the night the word Montana popped into my head.  Molly Montana. Eureka! The puppy's name was complete. Miss Montana was born November 12, 2012.

So that’s the story of how I found Molly Montana and a new beginning.

A few first day photos below. I think you will agree she is a beauty. I also think Koty would approve. I'm not alone and he hasn't been replaced.

©Kinsey Barnard


Rilly said...

She's adorable! I think you made a wise choice and a wise move. Happy days to both of you.

Anonymous said...

I can see a lot of Koty Bear in that little pup. I know you'll enjoy her. We too have a new puppy, Lily, to accompany Daisy into her old age. She's a joy.

Anonymous said...

The last two photos remind me of photos of Lakota--it appears as though Molly
is quite comfortable in her new home, as though she always belonged there.
Enjoy the journey!

Samuel Savard said...

Yay! I'm so happy you found a new companion! Your description of the events surrounding Lakota's death last week had left me so sad... now I know you're in good hands!

Anonymous said...

just getting caught up on blogs and so all in one day I found out a bout Koty's passing and Molly's arrival. I do want to say what a great way for Koty to depart. Sharing one last walk with you before his departure was beautiful. Welcome home molly. look forward to pictures as Molly grows up. Nixpix