They don’t take a day off, even on Christmas.Two-year-old Molly had always loved hunting down plastic bottles and presenting them to Fliss, who came up with a way to use this passion for good. Fliss has trained the pup to dig up bottles, ropes, toys, and buckets when instructed, and makes sure she won’t pick up any objects that could harm her.
Now each day the pair pop by the beach to clear it of rubbish.
Fliss, 35, said: ‘I taught her different commands to keep her safe, because there’ll be things on the beach that could harm her.
‘There are needles and sharp objects or just things you wouldn’t expect, so I wouldn’t let her go and pick anything up on her own.
‘As a puppy she picked up a dead animal once or twice, but I told her off and put on my angriest voice and she’s never done it since.’Fliss moved to Scarborough in 2017, where she opened a bath and skincare shop.
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When she took Molly out on walks along the coastline, she couldn’t believe how much rubbish she found left ‘senselessly’ on the beach.
Thankfully, Molly absolutely loves the responsibility of clearing the beach.
‘I’ve had Molly since she was just nine weeks old and she’s always loved picking up plastic bottles,’ said Fliss.
‘Labradors are quite inquisitive and energetic so I was lucky that she immediately had a knack for it.
‘In the summer it was impossible to avoid the litter – it was just everywhere.
‘We’ll pick up hundreds of items every single day, and I’ve had to upgrade from small bags to massive bin liners.
‘She loves it so much she doesn’t ask for treats when she finds something, all she wants is a “good girl Molly” and she’s a happy dog.’
Molly learned how to look for ropes, spades, buckets, and toys in the space of a few months, and now knows exactly what to look out for.
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The only time she’s dissuaded from her task is when she sees a tennis ball, which has to ‘take precedence over everything’.
She’s also had some mishaps with bottles, as she can’t tell the difference between an empty discarded bottle and one that’s full – meaning she has on occasion stolen someone’s drink and had to return it.
Luckily, she’s so cute that no one gets angry.
Her environmental mission has made Molly a bit of a local celebrity and won her plenty of fans.
Fliss hopes that when people spot Molly hard at work, they’ll think twice before littering.
‘We get stopped all the time by people who think it’s adorable that she’s cleaning,’ she said.
‘She gets so much attention and she loves it, she knows she’s a bit of a star.
‘Unfortunately Molly can’t clean the beach on her own, but she’s trying.
‘We want to get people involved or at least make them think twice before disposing of their litter so carelessly.
‘It’s particularly alarming on the beach because people will drop rubbish in the sand, and then it’s a battle against the tides to beat them to it.
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‘Once the tide comes in the litter is gone and will make its way into the sea and threaten our marine life.
‘If you’re a business here, who relies on people coming to the beach, I think you’ve got a responsibility to protect it.’Do you have a brilliant dog making a difference? Get in touch to share their story by emailing [email protected] .