Hunter Hayes, Kellie Pickler surprise Mr. Molson's family with rescue dog
When Tim Griffin and his children learned their dog, Mr. Molson, had only a few months left to live, they made it their mission to repay his 12-plus years of love and affection before his last sniff.
In five months between Molson’s March cancer diagnosis and his Aug. 14 death, Griffin and his children — Chloe and Elliot — helped their dog cross off more than 50 items from the bucket list they made for him, including flying in a helicopter, riding in a police cruiser, sailing and eating steak on live TV.
Without Molson, the family's home in Red Lion was a little quieter and a lot more lonely, Griffin said.
That relative silence was soon broken, thanks to country music stars Kellie Pickler and Hunter Hayes.
New dog? After tales of Molson’s bucket-list adventures made their way around the world, Griffin said he got a call from a TV producer asking him to share Molson’s story on "Pickler & Ben," a new daytime talk show taped in Nashville, Tennessee.
Despite initial nerves about being featured on TV, Griffin said he accepted the invitation to continue Molson’s story — one that is simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.
In the lead-up to the show’s Sept. 29 taping, Griffin got another call from the producer, asking if the family would be willing to welcome another dog into their home just weeks after Molson’s death.
“I wasn't 100 percent sure I was ready, but the more I thought about it, I felt like it was Molson's story that was bringing this dog to us,” Griffin said. “If it wasn't for Molson, this dog wouldn't be coming.”
Sitting at home looking at an unused basket full of the toys and treats that people showered on Molson helped Griffin make up his mind about letting a new dog into his home and heart.
“I had this basket full of toys at home with nothing to do,” Griffin said. “It felt like Molson was preparing us for this new puppy. He was telling us it's OK and kind of giving him his family and his bed, setting him up for success.”
Mr. Muddy: Though Griffin quickly came around on the idea of adopting a new dog, his children had no idea they would come back from Nashville with a puppy.
After a video montage of Molson’s life with the Griffins and a few questions from the show’s hosts — Pickler and Ben Aaron — Hayes walked onto the stage holding a puppy rescued from Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
“He’s yours,” Hayes said, handing the puppy over to Chloe and Elliot.
“The kids were in shock, in disbelief,” Griffin said of their reaction to Hayes’ gift. “The whole way home they were grinning ear to ear.”
'Reason to smile': Elliot wanted to name the puppy Sausage, but the family settled on Muddy, a name with sentimental ties to Molson, Griffin wrote in a post on his online chronicles of Molson’s bucket-list excursions.
Since filming for "Pickler & Ben," Griffin said, he and his children have been taking their “gentle little guy” all over to meet new people and make new dog friends.
“He definitely has given us a reason to smile,” he said.
Griffin said he hopes Muddy will help to attract supporters and donations for the Mr. Molson Project, which benefits the National Canine Cancer Foundation.
Griffin has raised more than $1,000 since embarking on Molson’s bucket list. He said he’ll shave off his trademark beard if he can raise $5,000.
Though nothing like Molson’s “crazy, coordinated” bucket list, Griffin has set up a new website to document Muddy’s growth and adventures.
Griffin, who said he has found his own voice through writing about Molson and now Muddy, hopes to create a new story arc for his new friend and those following their journey together.
But first, he’ll have to housetrain him.