Dog fetches help for Richland woman with broken ankle

Posted by Lucy Luginbill on June 15, 2014 

Molly, an English Springer Spaniel, is a hero to her owner, Candace Monasmith.

LUCY LUGINBILL

Remember Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, two "super" dogs known for their courageous adventures in television and film — and who captured America's heart along the way?

Now years later, there's another gutsy dog with a tale to tell.

Meet Molly, an English Springer Spaniel with lineage enough to attend High Tea. Nevertheless, on a recent June day this classy pet chose to save the day instead.

"My husband had left that morning to fish at the Lake of the Woods in Ontario, Minnesota," said Candace Monasmith of Richland, recalling how Molly had missed her traditional early run. "I knew I couldn't ignore walking her."

With a huge park nearby and open land beyond, it was a perfect place to entertain the spirited spaniel. But what made this outing a bit different was that Candace had forgotten an item she never leaves at home.

"I didn't have my cell phone," the busy wife says with disbelief. "I always have my cell phone!"

With a change in the morning routine, Candace had set it aside. So while Molly strained at her leash, the two headed out the door.

"Molly has a relationship with the squirrels," the active woman says with a smile. "She likes to chase and they like to run."

The quick-footed squirrels chatter and tease from the safety of the trees, says Candace, while Molly stretches her legs off-leash on the park perimeter. It's an exercise and training routine that has the dog responding to Candace’s whistle, a reminder to return alongside her.

In the midst of the fun, neither could foresee the trouble that was brewing.

"For some reason my left foot went into the hole," Candace remembers the open space between an asphalt drive and adjoining compact soil, a drop of about four inches. "That’s when I went down and I knew it wasn't good. The pain was tremendous."

Candace had snapped her ankle. It later required nine pins to hold it in place. As she fought waves of nausea and dizziness, the reality of her situation was apparent. The area was deserted during the warm mid-morning hour — and she didn't have her cell phone.

So she whistled for the only friend close by. Molly obediently returned.

"Molly kept running back and forth," Candace said. "And then she'd lay her head down like she wanted me to chase her."

It wasn't long before the young canine understood that her master couldn't get up. In the far distance at the other end of the park, the noise of lawn and shrub care filled the air. "Molly could tell by the tone of my voice that I was hurt and ran back down to that maintenance guy and challenged him," Candace says with pride in her voice. "She'd get closer and closer, barking, and he ignored her."

With the man's back turned and wearing ear protection, Molly became persistent as she braved him several times while frantically barking. Though typically shy of strangers, the black and white pooch knew what she had to do.

"He (the gardener) finally got annoyed with her and probably wondered where we were," Candace said, remembering the frenzied scene. "So then he turned, took his head phones off, and I called to him."

With Molly in the lead, the maintenance man came running.

"While I was lying there, I had been saying a lot of prayers," Candace said of the 30 minutes or more she lay alone and injured. "I said, 'Send me some help, I can't do this on my own."

It appears God's answer was an English Springer Spaniel sent to the rescue — in Rin Tin Tin style. If you have a story idea for Light Notes, email lluginbill@tricityherald.com. Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyLuginbill

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