When all you need is a lick on the face

28th October 2005 at 01:00
Molly is my dog, but she is no ordinary dog. She has adapted to my illness, as we have all had to do. She knows she has to put her toys in my hand for me to throw balls for her, and she knows to tap on the patio doors when she wants to come in from the garden. I then crawl to the door to let her in.

Molly arrived in September 2000 on a Saturday. She settled well and once she had mastered going up the stairs she ran all over the house and caused havoc. She has always been playful, and her "Mollyisms" include playing with empty plastic bottles and toilet rolls, which she rips up. Molly has been a great support to me; she knows when I'm upset and will come and lick me to make me feel better.

Molly has a pretty face. She is brown and white and has a brown freckle at the side of her mouth with black whiskers coming out of it. The rest of her mouth is white with white whiskers. That brown freckle is my favourite part of her markings. She has a brown body with a white bum that has a brown spot in it, then a white spot in the brown spot. We originally called her Freckle but that only lasted about an hour. We changed it to Molly; I don't know why, but I think it suits her. It is a pretty name. She is always on my lap and doesn't like it if there is something in her way (right now I have the laptop on my lap and she has still managed to cuddle under my arm, making it hard to type, but I don't mind!) I used to talk to Molly about all my problems and that helped. She would look at me and put her ears back as though she was really listening, and she never answered back. She could tell you a few secrets about me. I don't talk to her as often now; just having her next to me is enough to comfort me. I don't see her as a dog but more of a best friend.

We got Daizy in July 2004. We called her Daizy because she is black and white like a cow. I can remember all of Molly's markings, so when Mum described Daizy to me as having the same markings but black and white it was easy to visualise. Daizy was called Ermintrude for a bit, but it was too hard to keep saying. I said I would train her to be my guide dog. She learnt quickly because she copied Molly. For the first two days Molly was a bit grumpy, but within a week they were sharing toys and eating from the same bowl. In the night Molly will be under the duvet while Daizy likes to sit on your head like a hat or wrap herself round your neck like a scarf.

When Daizy has her mad turns and I am laughing my head off, Molly just looks at us and huffs and goes and finds Mum. Daizy is one of the only peopledogs that can do anything and I laugh. The other person is my brother, Lee.

Molly is very different from Daizy. She is quite calm and quiet, whereas Daizy is absolutely barking mad. Whether it is because Molly is older and Daizy is still a puppy, I don't know, but I like their different temperaments. It depends on what mood I am in, but Daizy can always make me laugh. I cry with laughter sometimes.

Nicole Dryburgh, 16, attends St Nicholas' special school in Canterbury, Kent, part-time. She also receives some home tuition. Five years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. She recovered but then suffered a brain haemorrhage that left her blind and with limited mobility.Maria Corby's column returns in the new year

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