Allie had always wanted another dog. After all, her grandparents had two dogs. It was always great fun to walk down the lane to their farm and play with Molly and Jack. All the female dogs were named Molly and the male people were named either John or Jack. Her grandpa had a good sense of humor and named the dog Jack after himself!
Sometimes it was confusing having two Jacks in the house, especially for the dog! Often, Grandma would call for her husband and Jack would bound in with muddy paws. Allie always giggled at this and Grandpa smiled at the silliness of it.
Allie’s dog, Gibbs, was a two-year-old golden retriever and he seemed lonely since their older shepherd had died. Following the family tradition, she too had been named Molly. Gibbs wanted to be her friend, but she was more of a mother figure to him as she was already eight when Gibbs joined the family. She viewed him as a son; always cleaning his ears and licking his face. He had loved every minute of it and would lay for an hour as she meticulously preened her young charge.
One day, Molly was just too sick to clean his ears or lick his face. He would sit patiently but the humans would just pat his head and make him go outside while the older dog rested. She had passed away soon after that and Gibbs had been the only dog for about a year. Allie began to have thoughts of about how fun it would be to have a second dog.
Allie didn’t think it would be too far a stretch to convince her parents to add a second dog because for a short while, they had had two. Sure, Molly had been an aging, quiet dog, but her parents adored dogs. She thought for a few days of the perfect pitch to convince them that the family needed a new puppy. Allie spent an entire Sunday afternoon trying to get the words just right. Then, she thought maybe she’d butter them up with some delightful artwork by praising their great parenting. That was the ticket! She drew two pictures. One for her mom and one for her dad. She added, You’re the best parents ever! to both of them. She planned to present them at dinner that evening.
Once dinner had been served, Allie pulled out her pictures. Her parents were thrilled with the pictures and noticed that one picture had an empty dog house in it and the other had a picture of Gibbs with a sign in his paw. It read, Wanted, a playmate. Allie’s mom leaned in a little closer to read the tiny message and said it out loud. “Wanted, a playmate”, she said. “Oh, how cute. He wants a friend”, said Allie’s mom. Allie saw her chance to convince them and jumped right in. “Mom, Dad. You both remember how Gibbs just loved our old Molly?” she began. They both nodded their heads. “I think he needs a new friend, a dog friend,” she replied.
Allie was thrilled when the next day her parents agreed to buy a puppy so Gibbs could have companionship. The only thing they asked of her was to clean up any fur that the new puppy may shed. Allie excitedly agreed. How hard could that be?, she thought.
A few weeks later the family returned with a new dog. Her name was no different than all the other female shepherds but there was something a little different. Allie noticed when she went to Molly’s crate the next morning that there was an awful lot of fur in the tray. She put the little dog out and cleaned up the fur. It almost filled a plastic grocery bag! Wow thought Allie, How could a puppy shed so much in one night? But, she had promised to clean up any shed fur so she dutifully swept out the crate and threw the bag into the trash.
When Allie returned from school that afternoon her mother was standing in the kitchen looking somewhat concerned. Allie wondered what her mother was looking at so she cautiously entered the kitchen. Allie couldn’t believe her eyes. The crate was filled with fur! All she could see were two little paws sticking out from the bottom and at the top of the heap of fur was Molly’s tail wagging furiously. “Allie,” began her mom, “It looks as though this puppy needs some extra brushing.” Her mom put the little dog outside and Allie grabbed a brush. She chased her all around the yard. Molly ran and looked back at Allie while a pink tongue hung out of her mouth. What Allie noticed most was the fur flying off Molly’s back in all directions!
Allie decided all that was needed was a good brushing. She caught up with the tired little dog and brushed her for 20 minutes. Molly looked really good. The clumps of fur were all gone and her back looked sleek and shiny. They laid in the sun for a while and then Molly chased Gibbs. He was enjoying his new friend just as Allie had hoped.
The next morning Allie awoke to what she thought was a screech. It sounded like her mother. Slowly, she rolled over and blinked. She heard it again and this time it seemed like her mother was upset over something. Allie wondered what was wrong. It didn’t sound like things were alright. She sleepily got out of bed and padded to the kitchen. She could already tell something was strange because it felt very soft under her slippers as she headed towards the dim light down the hall. The sight she encountered was nothing she had ever seen. Her father was wading through 3 feet of fur! It was piled up all around him and had spilled into the hall. This was the softness she had felt under her feet. Her parents mouths gaped open and all Allie could do was stare into what had been a very clean kitchen just 8 hours ago.
Allie’s dad had an idea to remedy the situation. He suggested opening the back door and using the kitchen broom to sweep it all outside. Ally ran to the garage and brought the spare broom out to help. Allie’s mom took the puppy out the front door to use the potty as she’d been cooped up since the evening before. Quickly, the house returned to normal and the fur was outside. They shoved the fur in several large garbage bags before plopping down at the kitchen table exhausted and bewildered. They didn’t know how one, small puppy could shed so much. Allie’s dad decided to call the Veterinary who didn’t seem to really understand how much fur there really was. The doctor gave him some vague advice about brushing her daily and adding some vitamins. He didn’t want the Vet to think he was crazy so he said his thanks and hung up the phone. Maybe if they brushed her twice a day and added some vitamins this strange shedding would stop.
But, it didn’t stop. The more they brushed, the more fur seemed to come off of Molly. She was growing by leaps and bounds and so was the fur! Allie jumped off the school bus a few weeks later and the front door seemed to be bulging! She stalled for time by looking in the mail box so that the bus driver would be far away by the time she tried to open the door. She had a bad feeling about this. Slowly, Allie unlocked the front door. All of a sudden she was engulfed in fur! It spilled out on to the front porch and knocked her over. Allie could not believe her eyes. Gibbs ran out of the fur-filled house and came over to lick her face. She scrambled over the fur and tried to push her way to Molly’s crate. It seemed like forever, but she finally reached the kitchen. She groped her way to the back door and let Molly out. Gibbs quickly followed and brought tufts of fur with him.
Allie sat on the deck and thought about what to do. The only thing she could think of was ask her grandparents to help her with this problem. She knew that her only job was to clean up the fur and she didn’t want to let her parents down. The dogs followed her down the lane to her grandparent’s farm and played happily while Allie found her grandmother in the barn.
Allie explained what had been happening and watched as her grandmas’ lips slowly curled upwards into a smile. Allie wondered why she was smiling at her dilemma. Didn’t she understand she wasn’t exaggerating? Fur literally had filled the whole house! Finally, her grandma explained. They had begun to notice the same thing with their dogs who had been named Molly too. She led Allie to the back of the barn where a homemade remedy was stored in a jar. Her grandma unscrewed the lid and Allie peered inside. There were about 50 pink balls about the size of marbles sitting on top of one another. They smelled strangely familiar and seemed to sparkle.
Her grandma explained that this hadn’t happened in a while because she always had remembered to give the remedy to a new puppy as soon as possible. This time she had forgotten. She said to give one pink ball to Molly every day for a week, and then she should shed like a normal dog. She called Molly over and watched as she gobbled up the strange-smelling pink ball.
She thanked her grandma and carefully carried a small container of the pink balls home. Allie saw her dad’s truck in the driveway and ran to show him the remedy. She watched as his eyes widened!
He remembered as a little boy that the same thing had happened to his childhood Molly, but he had forgotten. His dad had created these sparkly little pink balls with direction from his father. It seemed to be a family tradition passed down from father to son. Now, Allie had the formula.
She decided to make up recipe labels and apply them to little jars. Each one said: to keep fur at bay: crush 1 Magnolia flower, mix with a pinch of sugar and a teaspoon of flour. They made up several batches and fed one to Molly every other day. It controlled the fur just like grandma promised. Each day the fur lessened and things went back to normal. Gibbs had a new friend and Molly had a new home.