Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2017

Empty Nest: Molly’s Haircut

By Curt Swarm

From the shade of the crabapple tree, Molly eyed Buddy as he walked by with his master, Curt.  Molly despised Buddy, and even more so since Buddy’s spring haircut that completely changed his looks from a fat old dog, to a young, high-energy puppy.  If it wasn’t so hot, Molly would run out there and bark at that disgusting dog, warning him away from her property.  But she also knew that if Buddy made a step toward her, she would turn tail and run like a scared rabbit.  After Buddy and Curt were a good distance away, Molly let out a few token barks for good measure.
Inside the house, Mary Jane Kauffman pulled the curtains back from above the kitchen sink to see what Molly was barking at.  Mary Jane could see Buddy and Curt walking away in the distance.  She cackled, “Sure, Molly, you sound ferocious now, when they’re half a block away.”
Mary Jane studied her dog.  The heat was so hard on Molly.  Molly is a long-haired, black-and-white, Shetland Sheepdog, otherwise known as a Sheltie.  Molly was 9 years old and had never had a haircut.  It wasn’t customary for Shelties.
A couple of years back, before Mary Jane had her knee replacement, she would ride around the block in her motorized cart, and Molly would follow behind.  That is, Molly would follow behind until she got too hot, and lay down in the shade.  Mary Jane would invariably pick Molly up, and let Molly ride on her lap until they got home.  It was sight to see.  That ornery Curt had even run out with his camera and snapped a picture of them.
The handwriting was on the wall.  If Mary Jane was going to continue enjoying her dog, Molly was going to need a haircut.  Mary Jane had been advised that the time to cut a Sheltie’s hair was in May.  That way there would be time for the coat to grow back before winter.
Mary Jane called the groomer, the same groomer who had cut Buddy’s hair.
When Mary Jane picked Molly up, she couldn’t believe her eyes.  What a shock!  Molly didn’t even look like the same dog.  Molly ran out to greet her, running around and yipping like a puppy.
But the biggest surprise was when Mary Jane got home with Molly.  Mary Jane’s two cats, Callie and Tigger, didn’t recognize Molly.  They hissed and spat, arched their backs, and ran off with splayed tails to hide in the garage and under the bed.  What a scream!  Molly and those two cats had been such friends, with Callie and Tigger rubbing up against her and sleeping beside her.  
Mary Jane had to agree, Molly seemed to be a different dog.  And just like Curt and Buddy, she wondered if Molly’s personality had changed with the haircut, or if it was her attitude toward her dog that was different.
Now Molly does a pretty good job of keeping up with Mary Jane on their walks through the neighborhood.  The neighbors come out to see “the new puppy” and marvel at the “miracle change.”
For old-time sake, Mary Jane got the motorized cart out to see if Molly could keep up.  Molly ran behind for a ways.  Then, out of habit more than anything, Molly scratched on Mary Jane’s leg for a ride.  Mary Jane gave in.  Molly fit on Mary Jane’s lap a lot better without all that hair.  They rode by Buddy and Curt’s house.  Buddy was at the window to see what was going on.  Molly held her nose high.  Buddy could just eat his heart out.

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.  Curt also records his Empty Nest columns on www.lostlakeradio.com