ooking at an aerial view of the Quad on Oct. 23, you would have been unable to detect any green space with the exception of a small spotlight of grass at the center. A nine-week-old yellow Labrador retriever puppy weighing in at just 12 pounds sported a maroon and gold ribbon tied to her collar. Golden fur glinting in the sun, she clumsily pranced around the free space to the delight of the surrounding students.
It was a day that Tim Carmichael, BC ’78, said he will never forget. It was the first day he brought his dog, Molly, now approaching five months old, to campus. Molly has become a routine friendly face on campus since the day students flooded the Quad.
“Kids were telling me that everyone was texting, and Instagrams were going up in the classes, and teachers were saying, ‘What’s going on here?’,” he said. “There was a crowd of probably three or four hundred people standing around.”
The Carmichaels are not puppy rookies—Molly is their third Lab. But they were not always dog people.
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Clare Carmichael, Tim’s wife, was not allowed to have a dog growing up. And when she first brought up the idea of getting a dog, Tim was not on board, she said. Taking matters into her own hands, Clare packed up their car with their daughters and some friends and drove to a breeder in New Jersey, where the family was living at the time. After paying in full for a tiny female black Lab puppy named Jessie, she told the entire car to stay quiet about their new family member.
That night at dinner, the Carmichaels’ middle daughter, who Clare described as “dog crazy,” announced that Clare had bought a puppy. Tim said he was surprised but ready to step up and take care of their new dog.
From then on, the Carmichaels loved life with a Lab. Their second dog, Maddie, moved with the Carmichaels from New Jersey to Connecticut eight years ago when she was around a year old. Then, after moving to Chestnut Hill last spring, Maddie spent her final year of life strolling through campus, just as Molly now does. Tim would walk Maddie behind CLXF, past Shaw House, and then through Middle Campus to arrive at the Tree of Life fountain. Students passing by would gather to watch Maddie swim laps in the fountain.
Maddie spent her last day alive on campus—Tim said he brought her to the tailgates before BC football took on North Carolina State on Oct. 19 before she died later that night.
“What do you think we should do?” Tim asked his wife when they woke up the next morning.
“I don’t know, maybe another dog, a little dog,” his wife replied.
But deep down, the Carmichaels knew that their next dog would be little only during her puppyhood.
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“We’re Lab people,” Tim said.
Two days without a Lab was two days too long for the Carmichaels. On Oct. 22, Molly went home with them from Dunrovin Farm in Halifax, Mass. Further cementing Molly’s attachment to BC, Carmichael said the owner of Dunrovin Farm grew up with BC men’s hockey coach Jerry York in Watertown, Mass.
Clare said she forgot how much energy puppies have. Molly is constantly moving and chewing on everything from toys to watches, she said.
To channel her energy, Molly enjoys her fair share of bully sticks and is learning some tricks. She now sits, lies down, and shakes on command. Although Molly has not found her way into the fountain where Maddie swam, she has staked out her own places on campus. She can consistently be found wandering around the campus’ green space—but she is not limited to BC’s green space. Tim said that the teachers invite her into their classrooms, and she can even be seen exploring the Rat or Fulton Hall.
Tim typically brings Molly to Gasson Quad twice per day in 90-minute increments, first around 10 a.m. and then again around 2:30 p.m. Tim said that it is the perfect amount of time for Molly to get some fresh air, run around, and exhaust her seemingly endless energy.
“It tires her out,” he said. “So when she leaves here, she’s falling asleep in one of the students’ arms.”
This window of availability also gives students plenty of time to fit Molly into their own schedules, whether it be to take a photo of her, play catch, or give her belly rubs.
“Students come up to me and tell me that it made their day after an orgo exam or something like that,” Tim said.
This holds true nearly three months after Molly started coming to campus. People still make frequent puppy pit stops—whenever Molly is bounding around the quads, there are students nearby, snapping pictures, playing tug-of-war with one of her toys, or just petting her. During a break from petting Molly outside of Fulton, Rachel Duquette, MCAS ’21, said seeing the new campus pet brightens her day.
“It’s encouraging because she’s so happy, and it’s a good break from classes and everything,” Duquette said.
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Emily Kraus, MCAS ’21, agreed that seeing Molly is a massive stress reliever. Kraus said that in her time at BC, Molly is the first dog she can remember with such a strong fan base.
“People have brought their dogs to campus in the past, but I don’t think it’s been this big,” Kraus said. “I think part of that is because she comes every day, and she has her own Instagram page.”
Molly reminds other BC community members of pets that they are missing back home.
“I left my dog back at home, and my dog is also a puppy, so seeing her is really nice,” said Belen Fernandez, a visiting scholar from Uruguay. “Just seeing another puppy, and seeing another dog, and being able to hug her is really nice.”
If students cannot find the time to see Molly in person, there are plenty of opportunities on social media to see what she has been up to. BC-related Instagram accounts, including @bccampusmin and @gassongrams, have featured pictures of Molly themselves.
A student, who wished to remain anonymous, started an Instagram account devoted to Molly on Nov. 8, called @mollyonthequad. On this account, the student posts pictures and shares Instagram stories of Molly that other students send in.
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“I had this random urge to create an account for Molly,” the student said in an Instagram direct message. “Most of my pictures/videos are from friends or DMed submissions from other students. … It’s been insane to watch how quickly Molly’s IG account has blown up. … I’m excited to have a place where everyone can share their love for Molly.”
The first post on Nov. 8 introduced Molly to the internet with a photo of her standing in front of Gasson. As of Jan. 20, the account has a following of 3,480.
“Make way @bcbaldwineagle, the real mascot is in town #gameday #rolleags #🦅,” was the caption of a close-up of Molly walking in the Quad on Nov. 9.
But @bcbaldwineagle on Instagram feels no threat.
“There’s no competition between us because Molly and I support BC in different ways,” said @bcbaldwineagle in an Instagram DM. “But in the end of the day [sic], both of us love making people happy. It’d be great to take a picture with her and maybe even work with Molly at a game someday.”
And while the reality of game day may change with new head coach Jeff Hafley, the excitement surrounding Molly won’t be going away any time soon.
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor