Sign me up for a dog's life

They say every dog gets his day, but one local pup got a whole year. Molly, the winner of last year's Nashville Humane Association Top Dog Contest, has enjoyed a year of celebrity most pooches can only dream of. 

The Top Dog Contest, part of the Nashville Humane Association's annual Dog Days Fest in Centennial Park, is currently taking nominations for this years’ winner at

O&AN recently got the opportunity to sit down with Molly, then we rolled over, and then we played dead. We also got to have an exclusive interview in which she fills us in on some of her most closely guarded beauty secrets, her reign as Nashville’s Top Dog and those rumors about a big screen adaptation of her life.

O&AN: Molly, first I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to talk with our readers. I know the busy life of a celebrity must be exhausting.

Molly: It's been an action-packed year...more than most dogs could wish for in a lifetime!  From the photo shoot, to seeing my face in the Nashville Scene and on a Channel 2 commercial, it has been really exciting.  I’m proud to represent the canine population of Nashville.  Milkbones for everyone!

O&AN: Has your newfound celebrity been difficult? Are there hordes of adoring fans and paparazzi waiting outside your door every time you leave for a walk?

Molly: Luckily, I don’t get recognized that often, but I always get plenty of attention with these blue eyes.  I often get asked if my eyes are real and where did they come from.  Yes, they are real (no contacts or alterations involved).  They aren't anything that is partial to a Cavalier or Cocker breed, so I guess it was just something special that nature intended.

O&AN: It’s true that your beauty is the stuff of legend, with comparisons to Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe – what is your secret?

Molly: Well, to be honest, I tolerate baths.  I’m trying to get more used to the water, which includes doing some swimming in Percy Priest Lake (a stick to go after helps to encourage swimmin').  My humans keep telling me I’m a spaniel so I should like the water. One part of my Top Dog prize was a weekend stay at The Farm at Natchez Trace. They treated me so well that I didn't want to come home after that. But who could blame me, with treats, massages, nature walks, etc.  So yes, I definitely enjoy being pampered and to say I’m spoiled is putting it mildly.  My humans pick up my poop, so I guess we know who is in charge.

O&AN: You must really love your humans – you’re photographed with them so often! Tell us about them.

Molly: Oh, they’re not just my humans, they’re part of my family. Katie and Keven are a 30-something couple.  I am their only furbaby.  Katie works in the music industry while Keven works in health care administration. They love to travel even though it means leaving me behind sometimes. Luckily they have a great network of friends in Nashville who love to temporarily adopt me while they're gone. They’re always there to cuddle with me when we need a break from life, to walk with me when I’m up for an adventure, or to just chill out at home.  I only hope that I can give them as much happiness as they bring to me.

O&AN: What was life like before breaking into international super stardom?

Molly: Well, I’ve been with my humans since I was nine-weeks-old and a mere five pounds.  I am now two-and-a-half years old and 23 pounds. I’m a Cavalier King Charles / Cocker Spaniel mix. I originally found my humans in Chicago but now I love to call Nashville home. I do miss digging my nose in the snow. Oh, my given name is actually Maluaka, pronounced mah-loo-ah-kah (named for the beach in Hawaii where my humans were married) but Molly is much easier to say and explain to people. I enjoyed a normal dog’s life, playing with my Nylabone or my rope, de-stuffing various stuffed animals, barking at our neighbor’s tractor and our neighbors cat statue.

O&AN: What would you say has been the key to your success?

Molly: I always try to have a great personality. When you talk to me, I look at you like I really know what you are telling me.  I know some secrets, and I’m very good at keeping them.  I adore children (as witnessed by the Channel 2 PSA).  If I see one across the street, I'll cry and cry until I can get closer to play.

O&AN: So what advice do you have for this year’s Top Dog contestants?

Molly: Put your best paw forward in life. Take time to chase the squirrels and birds and don't take things too seriously.  And never let 'em see you poop.

The voting for this year’s Top Dog begins on October 1. You can nominate your perfect pooch or view the contestants at

The annual Dog Days Festival will be Oct. 13, in Centennial Park’s Parthenon Lawn. Mutt Strut registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the Mutt Strut to follow at 9:30 a.m. The festival runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 with proceeds to benefit the Nashville Humane Association. Bring your dog out for a fun-filled day in the park for a great cause.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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