I have had Dolly now for about six months. I can’t say that I immediately fell in love with her. She is sort of an anxious old girl — my man stayed with her alone for a weekend recently when I had to travel, and he told me she deeply depressed him. I believe the direct quote was: “I think I’d eventually blow my brains out if I had to spend a lot of time with Dolly.” I was immediately defensive, which is when I knew that, in fact, I loved Dolly. Yes, she is anxious and fretful. Sometimes she lies on her bed not sleeping, her brow furrowed in worry, staring off into space fretfully. I don’t deny it can sometimes be disconcerting. However, she’s a shelter dog, and I think she is probably heartbroken due to losing her family, and so she likes to keep an eye on us at all times to make sure we’re not going away. Either that or she is truly mental.

She also apparently has quite a memory. In recent weeks, I have been taking her off-leash in the park right next to my house so she can run around with other dogs. She is getting fat, so the running around was good for her. But one day, a nice old guy was hurling tennis balls for his border collie, and one of the balls hit Dolly hard right in the head. Her reaction was heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time. She literally burst into tears and ran home, crying the whole way, as I remained in the park laughing my head off but running after her to comfort her at the same time.

It happened a month ago and to this day, she will not set foot in that park. I try to pull her into it, but she stands her ground, refusing to budge. The man with the border collie didn’t throw that tennis ball at her head — in Dolly’s mind, the park threw that tennis ball at her head, and she will never forget it.

I wonder what other things she has not forgotten, and how much that has to do with her anxiety.