When I get home at night, if it’s after the kids have gone to bed, Sonja is typically in bed if not already sleeping. Last night, when things wrapped up a bit early, I texted her that I was on my way and, upon returning home, joined her in bed. We talked about our respective evenings; my class went well, Titus pooped in the bathtub, and relaxed with a bottle of wine. This is nearly a routine on those late nights, and if we’re laying in bed at the end of the day, it’s a sure bet Mollie is there with us.
Mollie is Sonja’s dog, and was a non-negotiable when we met. A rescue who had been abandoned as a puppy in a hot garage, she came to Sonja at a time in life when she, too, could use some rescuing. When I met Sonja for the first time, I brought Mollie a present, knowing I needed to woo not one but two “ladies” in the house. The present, a plush, leopard print bone with a squeaky toy inside of it, is Mollie’s favorite to this day, though the squeaker seems to have died from all the love she gives it. Over the years, Mollie and I have come to appreciate one another, and today I’m probably the person in our chaotic house she enjoys the most. I like her — but to be clear: Mollie is a bad dog.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve or thirteen years old, she’s as grumpy as can be and snarls at you if you move your feet in bed, jumping down to signal her indignation, yet always returning before her spot near the foot of the bed gets cold. She pees on the carpet most nights and terrorizes our guests with her shrill, incessant, high-pitched barking. Worse, she bites children, and has to be locked up whenever guests are around. After she bit Titus, I was ready to have her put down, but Sonja couldn’t bear it. Since then, she seems to have calmed down a little bit, and today she and Titus get along fairly well, but I still don’t really trust her. She’s a part of our lives, but the reality of our busy lives, including the advent of parenthood and our two children, have pushed her far off to the side. These nights when I get home and Sonja and I lay in bed are really some of the only hours we spend with Mollie these days. Last night as I climbed in bed, wine bottle and glasses in hand, I gently pushed Mollie a bit so she’d make room for me, and the three of us shared this bottle of wine.
The 2015 Row 503 Pinot Noir is, unlike Mollie, extremely pleasant. A dark ruby hue is accompanied by powerful and far-reaching aromatics that meet you more than halfway to the glass. Luscious and robust as the varietal goes, it lacks those funky, earthy tones that Willamette Valley is known for in favor of a more vibrant, fruit-driven profile of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry, with hints of dark chocolate lingering near the finish. This is a likable wine, and perhaps a good introduction to the region and varietal for someone more accustomed to California. It’s a really enjoyable wine, undeniably a crowd pleaser, that drinks well above its price point. I recommend it.
Mollie, on the other hand, is the opposite of a crowd pleaser. Mollie is an acquired taste. She is a Tibetan Spaniel — at least we’re pretty sure, and as such is nearing the end of her projected life for the breed. Those days when we awake to step in her pee, or worse, those times when she shrieks at our dinner guests, those times when she insists upon being underfoot as I try to move a pot of boiling water from a burner to the sink, I find her awfully difficult to appreciate. That being said, we sure will miss her when she’s gone. Nights like last, it adds something to have a faithful old dog at the foot of the bed while you sip wine and relax before going to sleep, and Mollie has been nothing if not faithful to us.
Cheers to our dogs,