The Shaggy Dog
A Massachusetts Tall Tale
S. E. Schlosser
There once was a woman traveling home from England who lost her pooch somewhere between Salem and Springfield. He was just about the shaggiest dog in the entire world; so shaggy you couldn't tell which end was which until his tail started wagging. The woman was completely distraught. She loved the dog like it was her own son, so she advertised in all the local newspapers, hoping to find him. The advertisement read: "Missing, extremely shaggy dog. Reward. Will pay all travel expenses of finder." Then it listed her home address.
It didn't take long for people to start climbing her front steps with a shaggy dog in tow. The woman would answer the door eagerly and step out onto the porch to survey the dog. Each and every time she would shake her head sadly and say: "Not shaggy enough. He's just not shaggy enough." Folks came from the East, but their dogs weren't shaggy enough. They came from the West, but their dogs weren't shaggy enough. The ones from the South weren't shaggy enough either, and neither were the ones from the North.
The woman was about to give up in despair when she received a letter from a chap in England. Claimed to have found a shaggy dog stowed away on his ship when he was traveling from Salem, Massachusetts to Liverpool, England. The woman was so excited. Could it be her shaggy dog at last? He'd gone missing just after she left Salem! After writing back and forth with the English chap a few times, she paid the ship fare to America for both the man and his shaggy dog.
Well, the woman waited and waited and waited! Oh how she longed for the big day to arrive. Finally, (finally!), she heard a crisp voice outside the house and the sound of footsteps coming up the front walkway. She sprang to the door, opened it, and burst out onto the porch. Then she staggered backward and clapped a hand to her heart, staring at the huge hairy ball on the leash beside the Englishman. In despair, she cried out: "Oh no! Not THAT shaggy!"
You can read more Massachusetts folklore and ghost stories in Spooky Massachusetts by S.E. Schlosser.