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Molli the Maltese spreads sunshine at DeVille Manor

By Staff
BEST FRIENDS Mary Alice Belongia and Molli, a 4-pound Maltese, enjoy a game of Bingo at the DeVille Manor Apartments in Meridian. The playful, energetic little dog, owned by resident Dot Shepherd's daughter, creates a stir with every visit to the housing complex for the elderly and disabled. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star.
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 18, 2002
Molli is a little dog weighing only 4 pounds, but she is a heavyweight in the hearts of residents at DeVille Manor Apartments.
The 3-year-old Maltese is owned by Sheri Sison of Jackson, who frequently brings Molli when she visits her mother, Dot Shepherd. Shepherd, 75, has lived at the government subsidized apartment complex for elderly and disabled residents for about two years.
Shepherd has kept Molli at the complex for as long as two weeks because her daughter does a lot of traveling.
One of the male residents, Willard Mann, provoked Molli into a romp Thursday in the community room of the complex, where residents socialize. Molli barked and charged at Mann's feet as he dodged around furniture and giggled like a kid.
Molli brings out the kid in many of the residents, like Mary Alice Belongia, 66, who loaded Molli up in a little wire cart and took her for a ride through the halls of the complex.
Belongia also said Molli likes to sit at the table with residents while they play Bingo. During her five years at DeVille Manor, Belongia said there has never been anything like Molli there before.
Sharon Johnson, manager of DeVille Manor, said Molli's visits perks up residents.
Sison, 54, bought Molli from a dog breeder in Alabama. She will be 4-years-old this New Year's Eve. Sison said she brings Molli to DeVille Manor at least once a month and that the residents brighten Molli's day as much as she brightens theirs.
Molli energized Willard Mann's day again on Thursday as he slowly walked by the door to the community room, an easy target for Molli, who chased after him when someone told her to, "Eat em up."