Oldham County Physician and Family Owe Lives to Molly, their Cherished Lab
Oldham County Physician and Family Owe Lives to Molly, their Cherished Lab- January 16th, 2012
By Ron Cooper: Valeo Magazine
Molly, a 10-year-old Labrador retriever, occupies a soft spot in the hearts of Dr. Janine and Joe Malone. And for good reason.
The cherished pet alerted the Oldham County family to a fire in the early morning hours of November 2, 2010. That saved the lives of the Malones, their daughters Kendall, 16, and Grace, 9, and two houseguests. They quickly fled the house before it became engulfed in flames and suffered no injuries. A cause for the fire has not been determined, but electrical problems are suspected.
“Molly gave us exactly 6 ½ minutes’ notice before the smoke alarms went off,” Joe Malone, 47, said. “I heard a crackling sound and smelled some smoke. The alarms went off as I was checking an upstairs bedroom. My wife and I were able to get everybody out with only the clothes on their backs.”
What’s even more remarkable about Molly is that she is blind and suffers from congestive heart disease. But she still managed to tap her tail on the hardwood floor in the hallway outside the master bedroom to alert the family of the impending disaster.
“Just a month before the fire, the veterinarian gave Molly only three to six months to live,” Joe Malone said. “Something good did come out of this bad situation.”
Dr. Janine Malone, a dermatopathologist at Associates in Dermatology in Louisville and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, said neighbors, friends and perfect strangers turned out to help the family in so many important ways after the fire.
“They gave us gift cards to buy food and a place to stay while we looked for another home,” Dr. Malone, 43, said. “My colleagues in the practice gave me a purse and scarves. A total stranger sent a gift card for Molly to PetSmart, and we used it to buy her some pet food. And St. Francis School in Goshen and St. Francis High School, where our children attend, offered so much welcomed support as well.”
Neighbors and friends brought the family clothes and gave them a place to stay until they could locate another house in their subdivision to rent.
Members of Northeast Christian Church and others showed up to dig through the debris to find keepsakes. Little was located, but one important find stands out: Dr. Malone’s mother’s wedding and engagement rings that she bequeathed to the couple’s daughter, Kendall.
The charred family heirloom has been restored and stands as a symbol of a close-knit family rising from the ashes to reclaim their lives.
Another strong symbol of that rebirth is the construction of a new home on the very spot where the fire occurred. The family expects to move in by Christmastime, and is already planning a housewarming where those who helped them in their time of need will be feted as special guests.
But at the center of attention will be Molly, who earned the “Pet Hero of the Year” award for 2010. In February, it was bestowed upon the Lab by Pets Group United, which recognizes pets who saved their masters from harm.
Joe Malone said Molly is a happy, beloved pet. “In spite of all of her health problems, she’s still wagging her tail,” he said.