Molly's Puppy Tale

Short story collection published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp; illustrator Susan McAliley, Nick Backes, Philip Hood, or Keith Skeen


Molly has been enjoying caring for her new puppy, Bennett. But as the dog gets older, he seems to enjoy Ricky's rough-and-tumble play more and more, and maybe even Ricky himself more. One night Molly evens awakes to find that Bennett is gone, and asleep on Ricky's bed! Determined to make Bennett like her best again, Molly forbids Ricky from playing with Bennett. She alone will take care of him.

But a growing puppy is a lot of work. Molly can't really spend her free time relaxing or hanging out with friends anymore, because Bennett needs attention. The times she lets down her guard, he ends up running away...or tracking mud in the kitchen...or destroying her room...or, worst of all, digging up the Victory Garden, where the housekeeper, Mrs. Gilford, grows vegetables to stretch the rations further.

That last bit is what finally helps Molly see that she should share her dog. Ricky happens upon the scene as Molly is despairing, and offers to help Molly put the garden back together IF he can play with Bennett again. Molly agrees, knowing that Bennett will have enough energy give affection to everyone.

Looking Back

While many dogs like Bennett provided comfort and a needed distraction from the war, others were in the midst of the fighting themselves. Just the same way that women might volunteer for duty (and some men; my grandfather volunteered for the Marines, but there was also a draft), some people offered their dogs as volunteers. Any dog between the ages of one and five and weighing at least fifty pounds could apply. The dogs were trained to support combat roles, deliver messages, and aid the wounded. Some dogs, like some people, were killed in action. The dogs that lived were gone for months or even years, but by 1947 all the surviving dogs were re-trained for civilian life and reunited with their families.


Molly's in Girl Scouts.

I can't help but imagine how insanely jealous Molly's siblings might have been that she got a pet but they didn't.

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